Vikings fantasy football outlook: Despite offensive struggles, start Cook

Through two weeks, the Minnesota Vikings have done nothing to help their playoff odds in the NFC North. And, chances are, they haven’t done much to help your fantasy football team, either.

Can they turn it around against Tennessee on Sunday?

Each week, we’ll take a look at the players with fantasy value on the Vikings and their opponent. Player matchups 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” (🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈).

Here’s how Week 3 shakes out:



QB Kirk Cousins: 🏈

Nah. We’re taking a pass on Cousins this week until he, well, figures out how to pass again. Through two games, Cousins has thrown a league-high four interceptions and has logged a 61.9 passer rating. If you don’t have another option at quarterback, hit the waiver wire. ASAP.


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RB Dalvin Cook: 🏈🏈🏈

While Cousins hits your bench, Cook is still in your starting lineup. He’s scored three of the Vikings’ five touchdowns this season and has 13+ touches in both contests. If anything, Minnesota needs to get Cook the ball more. Plus, the Titans have allowed the 10th-most rushing yards, and rookie James Robinson gashed Tennessee’s defense for 102 yards and one score on 16 carries last week.


WR Adam Thielen: 🏈🏈🏈

The three-football rating might seem confusing since Cousins was an obvious bench play, and Thielen is coming off a dud game — three catches for 31 yards. Hear us out. Whenever Cousins has been under pressure this season — which has been a lot — he’s looked the way of Thielen. The Detroit Lakes, Minn., product leads the NFL in share of team air yards (53.4%). He’s been targeted 16 times in two contests. The next Vikings receiver on that list? Olabisi Johnson with seven targets.


RB Alexander Mattison: 🏈

Minnesota has had one drive of 10+ plays this season. One. That doesn’t exactly add up to an opportunity for a backup running back to get many reps in. Bench.


WR Olabisi Johnson or Justin Jefferson: 🏈

As we detailed above, Thielen is getting all of the looks on offense. Bisi sits this week. Jefferson has hauled in five of six targets for 70 yards and three first downs this season. It looks like Jefferson will be a productive NFL receiver, but we’re benching him until the Vikings involve him more in the game plan.


TE Irv Smith Jr. or Kyle Rudolph: 🏈

If Smith and Rudolph merged stat lines this season, it would add up to four catches for 42 yards on eight targets. There are 32 different tight ends with more receiving yards than Smith and Rudolph combined. Neither player has a single red-zone target this year. To the bench!


Vikings D/ST: 🏈

Minnesota has allowed the second-most points and the fourth-most yards to opponents this season. Green Bay and Indianapolis combined to score on 65% of possessions against the Vikings in Week 1 and Week 2. Let’s leave the Vikings D/ST on the bench as the bruising running back Derrick Henry comes to town.



QB Ryan Tannehill: 🏈🏈🏈🏈

All of a sudden, Tannehill is a fantasy-relevant quarterback. He’s thrown for 488 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions over the first two weeks. Dating back to the final two regular-season games of last season, Tannehill has posted a 125.5 passer rating with 11 scores and no picks. With Minnesota’s defense likely focusing on Henry in the game plan, it should open things up for Tannehill. Plus, only four teams have allowed more passing yards than the Vikings.


RB Derrick Henry: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈

In his last eight games, Henry is averaging 137 rushing yards and 1.25 touchdowns per contest. The Vikings, who have allowed the fifth-most rushing yards in 2020, were punished for 101 yards on 26 carries by rookie Jonathan Taylor on Sunday. Henry, who is not a threat in the passing game, should have a heavy workload in the backfield, especially if the Titans jump out in front.


WR Corey Davis: 🏈🏈🏈🏈

Davis racked up 101 receiving yards in Week 1 and found the end zone last week, keeping his name alive as a fantasy-relevant receiver – something you couldn’t say over his first three years in the NFL. Minnesota’s young secondary has yielded a league-worst five touchdowns to receivers this year, and the second-most fantasy points to the position as well. With A.J. Brown’s status unknown for Sunday, Davis could put together another productive fantasy week for your lineup.