What We Saw: Week 9

James Conner can still be relied upon as an RB1 when needed

Vikings @ Ravens

Final Score: Ravens 34, Vikings 31 (OT)

Writer: Callen Elslager (@callen_elslager on Twitter and Reddit)


The game of the week took place in Baltimore as the Vikings and Ravens traded blows back and forth and even needed an extra quarter to resolve it. The running game truly got the offenses going, which then allowed both teams to open up their passing attacks for a very fun back and forth offensive battle. In a game that featured highlight-reel worthy receptions, and plenty of open space to run for both team’s backs, Dalvin Cook and Devonta Freeman, and Lamar Jackson, it was the passing attacks highlighted by great afternoons for Justin Jefferson and Marquise Brown which made all the difference, especially for your fantasy lineups.


Minnesota Vikings




Kirk Cousins: 17/28, 187 yards, 2 TD | 1 carry, 1 yard, TD


Kirk Cousins was very efficient on Sunday, spreading the ball around to his recovers while avoiding turnovers and dangerous passes. He also took the ball in from the goal line for a rushing touchdown, Cousins threw two touchdown passes, one on a fade to Adam Thielen, and also a perfectly thrown deep ball to Justin Jefferson, allowing him to walk right into the end zone. With the effectiveness of Dalvin Cook and the ground game, the Vikings did not need to lean as heavily on Kirk Cousins as they may have needed, which led to an effective day for him on Sunday.



Running Back


Dalvin Cook: 17 carries, 110 yards | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 12 yards

Alexander Mattison: 4 carries, 0 yards | 1 target, 1 reception, 3 yards

C.J. Ham: 1 target, 1 reception, 27 yards

Nene Nwangu: 1 carry, 9 yards


Dalvin Cook played just as well as he usually does on Sunday with another very effective game. It seemed as if every time he touched the ball, the offensive line gave him space to work, and allowed him to break out into open space, such as on the carry seen below. While he was spelled with carries by Alexander Mattison, who unfortunately could not break into that same space as Cook did, the case could be made that Dalvin Cook was the most impressive player on the field Sunday afternoon. C.J. Ham was able to get out in open space on his lone touch, a dump off short pass from Kirk Cousins, to keep the drive moving, while Nene Nwangu took a fake punt in Minnesota territory to convert on fourth down, and while not shown in this portion of the box score, took a kickoff return for a touchdown.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Justin Jefferson: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 69 yards, TD | 1 carry, 11 yards

Tyler Conklin: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 45 yards

K.J. Osborn: 2 targets, 1 reception, 20 yards

Adam Thielen: 7 targets, 2 receptions, 6 yards, TD

Luke Stocker: 1 target, 1 reception, 5 yards


Justin Jefferson got free himself on Sunday, after wearing a free Odell Beckham shirt during warmups, highlighted by his burst of speed to break open downfield on the 50-yard touchdown pass from Kirk Cousins. He even showed off his speed in taking a direct handoff from Kirk Cousins and breaking it out for an eleven-yard gain.



While Kirk Cousins was not as effective in getting the ball out to Adam Thielen throughout the game, Thielen did end up converting down in the goal line for the touchdown, where we often see Thielen revert back to the team’s top target. As seen below, Thielen went right up on the fade, keeping his feet in bounds as he adjusted to the off-target throw from Cousins to haul in the touchdown.



Tyler Conklin also looked very good continuing drives for the Vikings as Cousins often looked his way in more crucial situations on drives. He was able to get open over the middle for a very solid day, as Cousins had the most success targeting him among all his receiving options. While K.J. Osborn was quieter in this game, his one reception came on a crucial third-down conversion from Cousins, showing once again the reasons we were excited about him earlier this season.


Baltimore Ravens




Lamar Jackson: 27/41, 266 yards, 3 TD, 2 INT | 21 carries, 120 yards


Sunday was a tale of two halves for Lamar Jackson, where early on his throws were off-line and inaccurate, including an interception thrown over the middle on a great diving play by the Vikings’ defender. At that time it looked like we were in for a rough game for Jackson, aside from his rushing ability which was on display all game. However, Jackson would eventually settle in and start making much more accurate passes, leading his receivers into areas of open space and adding the threat of his arm to the threat of running, which was the best we’ve seen from him all season. All three of his touchdown passes were on goal-to-go downs, including some short passes to the outside to both Devonta Freeman and Patrick Ricard, along with a touchdown over the middle on a beautiful reception by Devin Duvernay. His other interception game at an important time in overtime, as a pass was deflected at the line of scrimmage, with a beautiful diving catch by Anthony Barr.



Running Back


Devonta Freeman: 13 carries, 79 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 4 yards, TD

Le’Veon Bell: 11 carries, 48 yards, 1 TD

Patrick Ricard: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 35 yards, TD


For this week, Devonta Freeman received the bulk of the work in the Baltimore backfield and looked pretty impressive when doing so. While also seeing some targets in the passing game, Freeman looked very good in open space with the Baltimore offensive line giving him room to work. Le’Veon Bell also looked good with the work he was given as he split touches with Freeman, with most of his work coming on shorter opportunities and the goal line, such as on his touchdown run. As seen above, Patrick Ricard found his way into the end zone, as that entire drive Ricard was featured and saw work from Jackson who looked his way as a safety blanket dumping the ball off to him as he rolled out in space.



Wide Receiver/Tight End


Marquise Brown: 12 targets, 9 receptions, 116 yards

Rashod Bateman: 8 targets, 5 receptions, 52 yards

Mark Andrews: 10 targets, 5 receptions, 44 yards

Devin Duvernay: 2 targets, 2 receptions, 8 yards, TD

Eric Tomlinson: 1 target, 1 reception, 7 yards


Marquise Brown had himself quite the day on Sunday, using his speed to break open in space and often being looked at from Lamar Jackson both downfield or over the middle, allowing him to use his speed for some yards after the catch. In a similar sense, Rashod Bateman showed what people were so intrigued about him coming out of college, continuing to earn the trust of Lamar Jackson as one of the top pass catchers in this offense. His afternoon was highlighted by this highlight-reel-worthy reception on third down as Jackson rolled out and threw under pressure with a very impressive catch to keep this drive going.



Lamar Jackson often looked the way of Mark Andrews, especially in key situations and down at the goal line, but these pass attempted were just slightly off-line, including some deflected by the covering defender. The announcing team also made it a point to inform us that Baltimore has by trying to get Devin Duvernay more involved in this offense, and while they did not fully get him going on Sunday, it was nice to see him get targeted in the red zone and come through with a beautiful one-handed catch on an off-target throw by Lamar Jackson for the touchdown.



— Callen Elslager (@callen_elslager on Twitter and Reddit)

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