Vikings fantasy football outlook: Dalvin should Cook again vs. Texans

Four weeks into the 2020 season, the Minnesota Vikings are still looking for their first win. Luckily, though, a couple of their players probably helped you to a victory in fantasy football last week.

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 4 shakes out:

 

MINNESOTA VIKINGS

QB Kirk Cousins: 🏈

Houston has faced three of the best quarterbacks in the league — Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson and Ben Roethlisberger — and is somehow allowing the third-fewest passing yards per contest (199.3). If Cousins, who ranks 30th in the NFL with a 73.8 passer rating, logs another dud performance this weekend, it might be time to drop him.

 

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RB Dalvin Cook: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈

It should be another week of cookin’ from Mr. Dalvin. Cook has scored at least one touchdown and racked up 50+ yards in all three contests this season, a trend that should continue against Houston. The Texans have allowed the most rushing yards (502) and the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs. Kansas City rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Pittsubrgh’s James Conner both tallied 109+ rushing yards against the Texans. Yep, start Cook.

 

WR Adam Thielen: 🏈🏈

Over the last two weeks, Thielen has caught just six passes for 60 yards and a score. He took a back seat to rookie Justin Jefferson’s explosive day against Tennessee, seeing just five targets from Cousins. Plus, Kansas City’s Sammy Watkins is the only receiver to tally more than 46 receiving yards against Houston. Start Thielen with caution this week.

 

 WR Justin Jefferson: 🏈🏈🏈

We try not to overreact to one week of production, but how could you not after Jefferson torched Tennessee with seven receptions for 175 yards and a score? But it’s not just the stats that have us encouraged. While playing in a career-high 51 snaps, Jefferson ran 20 of his 26 routes from the outside against Tennessee, rather than from the slot like he did most often over the first two weeks. That opened up the opportunities — a career-high nine targets. We assume Jefferson will continue to line up outside, and if he does, those targets should keep coming from Cousins.

 

TE Irv Smith Jr. or Kyle Rudolph: 🏈

Rudolph was finally targeted in the red zone last week, and he made it count with a highlight-reel touchdown grab. But still, these two tight ends have yet to register more than two catches in a single game. Keep them on your bench.

 

Vikings D/ST: 🏈

Minnesota is off to its worst start defensively in the 60-year history of the team. The Vikings have allowed 102 points — the most in franchise history through three games and the second-most in the NFL this year. Minnesota ranks 29th against the pass (292.3 yards per game) and 26th against the run (147.7 yards per game). To the bench!

 

HOUSTON TEXANS

QB Deshaun Watson: 🏈🏈🏈🏈

Watson’s numbers suggest he hasn’t been great, or even good, this year — four touchdowns, three interceptions and a 93.8 passer rating, which ranks 18th in the NFL. However, he’s faced a trio of the league’s top passing defenses in Kansas City, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Watson is still looking for his first effort of 300+ passing yards in 2020, and we think he’ll find it in Week 4 as Minnesota allowed Aaron Rodgers and Ryan Tannehill to do so.

 

RB David Johnson: 🏈🏈

The prized (???) acquisition in the head-scratching DeAndre Hopkins trade from the offseason hasn’t blown anyone away in the box scores. One positive is Johnson has seen 85.3% of the carries among Texans running backs, but back-to-back efforts of less than 35 rushing yards isn’t great. While the Vikings have been horrific against the run this season — they’ve allowed 100-yard performances to Tennessee’s Derrick Henry and Indianapolis rookie Jonathan Taylor — Minnesota has yielded the third-fewest receiving yards to running backs, which is a big part of Johnson’s game.

 

WR Will Fuller: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈

Typically a boom-or-bust fantasy player, Fuller can be relied on for steady production against the struggling Vikings secondary. Fuller has collected 100+ receiving yards or a touchdown in both games he’s played this season. The Texans’ biggest downfield threat should be able to bust a couple of big gains, as Minnesota has allowed the third-most completions of 20+ yards and the second-most completions of 40+ yards.