Vikings fantasy football outlook: Jefferson to be unleashed this time vs. Packers
Fresh off a bye week, the Minnesota Vikings will return to the gridiron for a road game against the Green Bay Packers.
The Vikings got diced up by the Packers 43-34 in a Week 1 home loss and through seven weeks it appears that game was pretty reflective of both teams’ overall quality.
Players from both teams had excellent fantasy performances in that game. Dalvin Cook scored twice, Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen piled up fantasy points in the second half while Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones all had very productive outings.
With four teams on their bye weeks, every decision counts in your lineup. Should you take a flyer on a lesser-known player? Which Vikings players have a chance at a big game? We’re here to help.
Each week during the regular season we’ll give our fantasy advice for the Vikings and their opponent. Players are graded on a 1-5 scale of football emojis, from “don’t even think about starting him” (🏈) to “you’re a fool if you bench this guy” (🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈).
QB Kirk Cousins: 🏈🏈
Unless your starting quarterback is on a bye week, then starting Cousins should not be an option. Cousins has thrown 10 interceptions so far, tossing at least one in five of six games this season. There is a chance Cousins puts up good numbers against Green Bay, after all he passed for 259 yards and two touchdowns (albeit the vast majority of those yards and both TDs came in the second half, but fantasy doesn’t discriminate) against the Packers in Week 1, but there are better options.
RB Dalvin Cook: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Since Cook participated in practice Wednesday, it’s fair to assume the 25-year-old running back will play Sunday. The Packers give up the second-most fantasy points to running backs and have surrendered at least two touchdowns to running backs in four of their six games. Green Bay also has given up the fifth-most receptions to RBs with three scores. Cook has 5+ targets only twice this season after doing it in eight games in 2019. Cook also produced against Green Bay in Week 1, rushing for 50 yards and two scores in that game.
WR Justin Jefferson: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
In the words of the band Boston, start Jefferson and “Don’t Look Back.” The rookie from LSU has been flat out fantastic and already has 28 catches for 537 yards (10th in the NFL) with three touchdowns. Even better, Jefferson has shown the ability to have big production in a given game and already has three outings with 100+ receiving yards, all coming in Minnesota’s last four games. In Week 1 against Green Bay, Jefferson caught two passes for 26 yards, but he played just 69% of the snaps and ran most of his routes from the slot. Now running most routes on the outside, Jefferson’s role in the Vikings offense has increased immensely. Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak probably can’t wait to unleash Minnesota’s newfound weapon against rival Green Bay.
WR Adam Thielen: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Thielen may not be as flashy as Jefferson but he is just as worthy of a start. He is obviously familiar with Green Bay and caught six balls for 110 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 and has some big games against the Packers in the past (in 2018 he topped 100 yards and had a TD in both matchups, for example). The Packers have been fairly good against wide receivers – allowing the 12th-fewest points among the 32 teams — but don’t let that scare you away from starting Thielen or Jefferson. Both are good enough to go off against any defense.
TE Irv Smith Jr.: 🏈
Smith has shown some signs of progress in year two but don’t start him on your fantasy team. First off, the Packers are tied for fifth-fewest average points allowed to tight ends and have surrendered just one touchdown (to Tampa Bay’s Rob Gronkowski two weeks ago). Plus, Smith has just 10 catches for 133 yards this entire season.
Vikings D/ST: 🏈
You should keep the Vikings defense on your bench (or the waiver wire) this week. The group gave up 41 offensive points and 522 total yards to the Packers in Week 1, which translated to a -9.0 fantasy score in standard leagues. Now that Minnesota has traded Yannick Ngakoue and Danielle Hunter has been confirmed to be out for the season, the Vikings’ pass rush does not have any premier names on it (Ngakoue also has five of the team’s 13 sacks). While the secondary has shown signs of growth, it is hard to imagine the defense slowing down the Packers in a meaningful way, especially with Cameron Dantzler on the COVID list and Mike Hughes dinged up. Green Bay has only turned over the ball twice this season and both were Rodgers interceptions in its loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
QB Aaron Rodgers: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
Rodgers has feasted on the Vikings defense in the past and he’ll have a full stomach after Sunday’s game. He has thrown for a ridiculous 1,657 yards through six games with 17 touchdowns and just two interceptions, which is awful news for a Minnesota defense that has given up the fourth-most passing yards (286.7) per game and the third-highest yards per attempt (8.5). He sliced up the Vikings defense for 364 yards and four scores in Week 1, so the Discount Double Checks should be aplenty in round two.
RB Aaron Jones: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
If Jones plays, then he is an easy start. He missed last week’s game against the Houston Texans with a calf injury and his status for this Sunday is uncertain. But if he does, Jones has scored seven touchdowns in the five games he’s played this season and rushed for 66 yards and a score in Week 1.
RB Jamaal Williams: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
No Jones, no problem. The BYU product has heated up in recent weeks, recording four catches for 37 yards and 77 rushing yards and a touchdown against Houston and eight receptions for 95 yards against the Atlanta Falcons. Green Bay clearly trusts him to be the main guy when Jones is not out there.
WR Davante Adams: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
If you don’t start Adams this week, you should expect a personalized gift basket from your fantasy opponent for not playing him. Adams has been a menace to opposing defenses and he will continue to gash the Vikings. He caught 14 receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns against Minnesota in Week 1 and exploded for 13 catches for a career-high 196 yards and two scores last week against the Texans. He is the top target for Rodgers and should put up big numbers once again.
TE Robert Tonyan: 🏈🏈🏈
Starting Tonyan comes down to your bye situation. If your normal top tight end is playing, then keep Tonyan on the bench. If not, start him. Tonyan’s production drops with Adams on the field. The Packers tight end has averaged only 1.8 catches for 20.5 yards with one touchdown in the three games Adams has played, with 11 catches for 148 yards and four TDs in the two Adams missed. Still, Tonyan is a red zone threat. He probably is not your best option but if you’re in a pinch, he is worth a start.
Packers D/ST: 🏈🏈🏈
Minnesota has turned the ball over 12 times, which is sixth worst in the NFL. That means the Packers should have chances to take advantage of the Vikings’ mistakes. However, Green Bay has produced four turnovers in six contests, so Minnesota might be able to play a cleaner game. The Packers have 15 sacks and Cousins has been sacked 14 times, twice in Week 1. The Vikings have shown the ability to put up points, scoring 26+ points four times, and could pad the stats in garbage time like they did in Week 1.