Vikings fantasy football outlook: Take a flier on Kirk Cousins
For the third straight week, the Minnesota Vikings are favorited at home against an inferior opponent. This time, it’s the 1-10 Jacksonville Jaguars rolling into town.
Will Kirk Cousins keep things rolling? Will Dalvin Cook get back on track? And is it worth starting any Jacksonville players?
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 13 shakes out:
QB Kirk Cousins: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
If it’s not obvious with the 1-10 record, Jacksonville’s passing defense is … not great. The Jaguars surrender the fourth-most yards through the air (279.5) and the third-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and Houston’s Deshaun Watson all tallied 300+ passing yards and multiple touchdowns against Jacksonville. The Jags have also yielded multiple passing scores in five straight weeks.
RB Dalvin Cook: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
For just the second time all season, Cook was held out of the end zone last week. But guess what? With all of their problems through the air, the Jaguars aren’t good against the run, either. Jacksonville allows the fourth-most rushing yards per game (136.2) and has coughed up a rushing touchdown in seven of 11 games. If you’re on the fringe of your fantasy playoffs, Cook should get you there with a big performance Sunday.
WR Adam Thielen: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
Thielen will be back in action after missing last week on the reserve/COVID-19 list. He’ll return to a juicy matchup against Jacksonville’s secondary, which is surrendering the fifth-most fantasy points to receivers. Thielen has hauled in the second-most receptions in the red zone, and he’s seen eight more targets inside the 20-yard line than any other Vikings receiver. The Jaguars have allowed at least one touchdown to receivers in five straight weeks. Even better, Jacksonville has yielded a 100+ yard receiver in seven straight games.
WR Justin Jefferson: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
The rookie leads the NFL in receptions of 20+ yards (17) and ranks fourth in yards per catch (17.7). More good news – the Jaguars have allowed the sixth-most receptions of 20+ yards. We foresee a long TD in Jefferson’s box score on Sunday.
TE Irv Smith Jr. or Kyle Rudolph: 🏈🏈
Jacksonville isn’t great against tight ends, either. In fact, the Jaguars have coughed up the most touchdowns to the position (9) and the second-most fantasy points. However, with all of the great matchups in the Vikings offense, we’re holding Smith Jr. and Rudolph to two-football ratings because Cook, Jefferson and Thielen should get involved before the tight ends. There’s only one football to go around after all.
Vikings D/ST: 🏈🏈🏈
Want evidence that Jacksonville is tanking? The Jaguars are starting Mike Glennon at quarterback instead of Gardner Minshew, who is reportedly fully healthy. Last time we checked, it’s not 2013 anymore. The Vikings D/ST should roll against Jacksonville, which averages the eighth-fewest yards per game (331.4) and the fifth-fewest points per contest (20.6).
QB Mike Glennon: 🏈
Oddly getting the start over Minshew against the Vikings, Glennon’s stat line of 235 yards and two touchdowns from his season debut last week wasn’t too shabby. But your fantasy team is likely battling for a playoff spot. And we’re not going to recommend starting a veteran journeyman quarterback on a bottom-five offense in a fantasy week with big postseason implications.
RB James Robinson: 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈
We have found the Jaguars’ lone source of positivity. Robinson, an undrafted rookie out of Illinois State. Robinson has racked up 99+ rushing yards in four of the last five weeks. He’s also averaging 17.6 carries per game this season. There have been four running backs to see 17+ carries against Minnesota’s defense in 2020. Three of them went for 100+ rushing yards, the only exception being the touchdown-reliant Todd Gurley. We can expect some production from the rookie.
WR DJ Chark: 🏈🏈🏈
Chark miss last week with a rib injury, but he returned to practice as a limited participant Wednesday. If he returns to play against the Vikings, Glennon will be the third different signal-caller he’s worked with this season. As the Jaguars’ top receiver, he’d be a good player to start against Minnesota’s young secondary. Although the Vikings have surrendered just three touchdowns to receivers in the last four games, we think it’s more of a fluke than a trend. If healthy, Chark should be one of two safe Jaguars starts (along with Robinson).
TE Tyler Eifert: 🏈
Eifert found the end zone last week for the second time all season. With no more than four catches in any game this season, Eifert is a very touchdown-dependent start, and not reliable in Week 13.
Jaguars D/ST: 🏈
As if you needed any more stats to keep Jacksonville’s defense far away from your starting lineup, the Jaguars have surrendered 29.5 points per game, third-most in the NFL. Yuck.