Matchup Analysis: Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions

Vegas Prediction

Vegas says: Vikings 25, Lions 19

FBG Projections

TeamRushYardsTDCompAttPass YdTDINT

Minnesota Vikings Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Vikings Offense23.1 (-0.4) (17)95 (-19) (29)264 (+24) (10)
Lions Defense23.8 (+0.3) (18)115 (+0) (16)231 (-9) (11)

Detroit Lions Offense: overview

Points (vs AVG) (rank)Rush Yards (vs AVG) (rank)Pass Yards (vs AVG) (rank)
Lions Offense20.3 (-3.2) (25)103 (-11) (24)226 (-13) (21)
Vikings Defense22.0 (-1.4) (12)112 (-3) (13)203 (-36) (4)

Vikings Rushing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Lions defense.

It appears Dalvin Cook has shaken off the cobwebs. Cook struggled mightily through injury early on, but since his Week 9 return has averaged 5.4 yards per carry, and breakaway runs are looking like his specialty. Winning with the same speed and elusiveness he showed as a rookie, Cook again looks like one of football’s most dynamic young runners. His 21-yard touchdown last week was a sight to behold as he spun through traffic and easily beat the Dolphins’ linebackers to the outside. Simply put, the Vikings run game is far more diverse and explosive when he’s leading the charge over Latavius Murray. It helps that the blocking unit, beaten up and undermanned for much of the year, is playing much better of late. Left tackle Riley Reiff was one of Week 15’s team MVPs, consistently sealing off creases for Cook to exploit, and the fullbacks and tight ends are doing a great job in space. There’s a renewed focus on the run in Minnesota - they iced Week 15 with a 40/21 run/pass split - and Cook is taking full advantage. He looks poised to be one of football’s most dynamic ground weapons down the stretch.

The Detroit run defense continues to excel; its second-half turnaround has been one of the starkest of any unit in the NFL here in 2018. Since adding run-stuffer Damon Harrison via trade prior to Week 9, the Lions have allowed just 2 backs (Todd Gurley and Dalvin Cook) to top 55 yards. Over that span, apart from a single 80-yard scamper by Cook, runners are averaging just 3.5 yards per rush. Harrison and the team’s deep line rotation are dominating inside, but the bigger story has been the development of second-year linebacker Jarrad Davis. A liability for his first season and a half, Davis has turned the corner in pursuit and tackling, and has slowed the flow of wide-open lanes on the second level. Cook comes into this rematch red-hot, but likely won’t find nearly as much room in this matchup as he has of late. The Lions are fast becoming one of fantasy’s stingiest opponents.

Vikings Passing offense

Good matchup vs. the Lions defense.

As 2018 wears on, Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota pass game is gradually providing less and less impact. After averaging 7.4 yards per attempt and 315 per game over the first 8 weeks, they’ve produced just 6.8 and 232 over the last six. A number of factors have led to the dip, from a slight shift in offensive scheme to an embattled front line that consistently lets pressure in on Cousins. He’s a fine downfield passer, but lately, he’s lacked the time to set up and find receivers, relying more than ever on quick-hitters and check-downs. Cousins’ connection with Adam Thielen has fallen off noticeably: Thielen opened the year with eight 100-yard games but has averaged just 55 since. Stefon Diggs continues to make a big play or two a week on the outside but has also suffered from a lack of downfield chances. He’ll have his hands full Sunday, drawing most of Darius Slay’s attention on the boundary. There’s still plenty of fantasy appeal throughout this unit, from the receivers to running back Dalvin Cook’s dynamic pass game ability. But they haven’t shown off their difference-making ceilings much over the past two months.

In terms of raw numbers, the Detroit pass defense isn’t terrible. They’ve held each of their last 4 opponents below 240 yards, after all, and 9 of 14 overall. But from an efficiency standpoint, it’s been among the league’s worst, and the stronger passers on the schedule have taken full advantage. Aaron Rodgers (442 yards and 3 touchdowns), Cam Newton (357 and 3), and even Mitchell Trubisky (355 and 3) have all scorched this unit with little resistance. In all, opponents are producing 6.9 net yards per attempt (factoring in sacks and sack yardage) in this matchup, fifth-most in football. Fantasy totals have stayed in check, as the Lions have faced the league’s second-fewest attempts (just 31 a game). But it’s clear that stronger passing games can work over most of this group to big results. Darius Slay remains an upper-tier top cover man, but his fellow cornerbacks have been liabilities throughout the year. Slay will be tasked with Stefon Diggs for much of Week 16, which sets up Adam Thielen nicely inside against Nevin Lawson.

Lions Rushing offense

Tough matchup vs. the Vikings defense.

It’s looking more and more likely the 5-8 Lions will shut down impressive rookie runner Kerryon Johnson for the final 2 weeks. It’s the smart play but leaves this backfield mired in a full-on committee. LeGarrette Blount continues to plod along as the starter, managing just 2.9 yards per rush on the year. For most backs, last week’s 7-carry, 9-yard game would be a low point, but it was actually Blount’s seventh game of the year with fewer than 15 yards. He’s been drastically outplayed by Zach Zenner, who’s taken over as lead runner in each of the last 2 weeks, racking up 99 yards (4.5 per rush) and 2 touchdowns. For chunks of the last three years now, Zenner has served as a savior of sorts for the Lions, frequently plugging in when injury and/or ineffectiveness have sapped their usual run game. A SPARQ superstar who essentially broke the 2015 combine, Zenner is clearly the ideal choice to lead this attack. Blount simply looks done, and Theo Riddick, while explosive, isn’t built to take on more than six to eight carries a game. Zenner is again on the rise, though he and the Lions’ mediocre line will have their Week 16 work cut out against the Vikings’ dominant front.

The Minnesota run defense, which has looked unbeatable for much of 2018, has taken a step back over the last 2 weeks. Over their first 12 games, the Vikings allowed just 3.8 yards per carry to running backs, with only Todd Gurley topping 75 in a game. But Chris Carson (22 for 90 and 1 touchdown) and Kalen Ballage (12 for 123 and 1) have erupted in the last two, despite both matchups drastically favoring the Minnesota front. Armed with dominant run-stoppers Sheldon Richardson and Linval Joseph, as well as tough matchups on the edges, the Vikings typically control games in the trenches. But the play of the linebackers has been spotty all year; it’s a subpar group against the run, often washed away by linemen who get to the second level. Eric Kendricks and company pile up tackles but don’t make enough of a difference when there are open lanes. That was made obvious last week on Ballage’s too-easy 75-yard touchdown. All told, though, this remains one of the league’s more suffocating units. It doesn’t look as dominant as it did three weeks ago, but boasts the same strong personnel up front and looks to carry a big advantage into Week 15.

Lions Passing offense

Bad matchup vs. the Vikings defense.

Matthew Stafford and the Lions are now seven games removed from trading Golden Tate, and the difference has been remarkable. After averaging 273 yards and throwing 14 touchdowns over the season’s first 7 games, Stafford has produced just 211 and 5 since. His per-attempt average has plummeted from 7.6 to an anemic 6.2, and he’s topped 245 yards just once since Week 8. Missing his longtime slot creator in Tate, Stafford is routinely on the ropes behind a poor pass-blocking line that’s allowed 3.4 sacks a game over this stretch. And with Marvin Jones out of the picture as well, there’s very little weaponry for Stafford to find and utilize down the field. Kenny Golladay has shattered his Year 2 expectations, but since Jones’ injury 5 weeks ago, the Lions’ other wideouts have combined to produce just 209 yards. This is a shell-shocked unit right now, one incapable of supporting a fantasy asset beyond Golladay and, to a lesser extent, third-down back Theo Riddick.

The Vikings defense is built to attack the pass first and foremost, and it’s as effective as they come. Boasting a dominant, versatile pass rush and strong downfield coverage, this has been among fantasy’s stingiest pass units. They’ve allowed the league’s fewest touchdowns and fourth-fewest yards, and dating back to Week 6, only Tom Brady has topped 240 yards. No quarterback over this span - not Brady, Drew Brees, nor Aaron Rodgers - has managed multiple touchdowns, and only 2 wide receivers have reached 70 yards. Danielle Hunter (14.5 sacks) leads a front that consistently collapses pockets, while Harrison Smith (5 pass breakups, 3 interceptions) continues to excel as a playmaker in all facets. This is an exceptionally tough group to hit for splash plays, and not one that gives up small-ball efficiency, either (just 5.9 net yards per attempt, fifth-best in the league). In sum, they’re a group to avoid in many borderline fantasy matchups. The Lions’ discombobulated attack is certainly one of them.

Lions vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)16 (+0.0)16 (+0.0)17 (+0.1)16 (-0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)12 (-2.0)12 (-1.7)11 (-2.0)11 (-2.3)
12Chase Daniel5827372302044020.721.718.919.4
13Jared Goff691733207112-2013.
14Josh Rosen7026412400123011.311.38.98.9
15Josh Allen68132620410916121.821.819.819.8

Kirk Cousins (FanDuel: $7600, DraftKings: $6000)

13@ NE6132442011200012.
14@ SEA5820332081035014.914.910.811.8
15vs MIA6914212152157018.518.516.316.3
16PROJ-Dodds25372731.70.9390. (H=51)21.1 (H=65)
16PROJ-Tremblay24372621.81390.120.820.820.8 (H=50)20.8 (H=63)
16PROJ-Bloom21292251.60.6360.118.318.318.3 (H=40)18.3 (H=51)

Lions vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+0.8)18 (+0.6)20 (+1.0)19 (+1.2)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-2.3)11 (-2.2)10 (-2.0)11 (-2.1)
12Tarik Cohen2231408745111.918.915.418.9
12Taquan Mizzell9170322118.810.89.810.8
13Todd Gurley652313225333028.531.530.034.5
13Malcolm Brown328000000.
14David Johnson62154901081206.
14Chase Edmonds10314000001.
15Keith Ford411446011705.
15Marcus Murphy191135000003.

Dalvin Cook (FanDuel: $7100, DraftKings: $6900)

13@ NE47984010822010.618.614.618.6
14@ SEA49135507528114.319.316.819.3
15vs MIA421913622127028.329.328.832.3
16PROJ-Dodds15680.54320. (H=35)18.2 (H=44)
16PROJ-Tremblay12530.34280.110.514.512.5 (H=22)14.5 (H=29)
16PROJ-Bloom16680.43310.112.915.914.4 (H=28)15.9 (H=34)

Latavius Murray (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $3800)

13@ NE12411022301.
14@ SEA834000000.
15vs MIA2715681000012.812.812.812.8
16PROJ-Dodds7280.31505.16.15.6 (H=7)6.1 (H=12)
16PROJ-Tremblay8310.30205.15.15.1 (H=6)5.1 (H=8)
16PROJ-Bloom9310.40005.55.55.5 (H=6)5.5 (H=10)

Lions vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)21 (+1.2)12 (-0.0)19 (+1.0)12 (+0.3)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)17 (-0.8)17 (+0.3)17 (-0.3)16 (+0.2)
12Taylor Gabriel47874900004.911.98.411.9
12Anthony Miller33434100004.
13Robert Woods6695671211013.818.816.318.8
13Brandin Cooks66646200006.
14Trent Sherfield65757700007.712.710.212.7
14Larry Fitzgerald67955500005.510.58.010.5
15Robert Foster5754108100016.820.818.823.8
15Isaiah McKenzie35765301405.711.78.711.7

Adam Thielen (FanDuel: $7600, DraftKings: $7800)

13@ NE611052810008.813.811.313.8
14@ SEA56757001807.812.810.312.8
15vs MIA63221900001.
16PROJ-Dodds6800.5000111714.0 (H=25)17.0 (H=34)
16PROJ-Tremblay6710.501010.216.213.2 (H=22)16.2 (H=31)
16PROJ-Bloom6710.600010.716.713.7 (H=24)16.7 (H=33)

Stefon Diggs (FanDuel: $7300, DraftKings: $7400)

13@ NE47554900004.
14@ SEA50647601508.
15vs MIA557449119011.815.813.815.8
16PROJ-Dodds6710.4150101613.0 (H=23)16.0 (H=32)
16PROJ-Tremblay6650.51409.915.912.9 (H=22)15.9 (H=32)
16PROJ-Bloom7690.50009.916.913.4 (H=24)16.9 (H=36)

Aldrick Robinson (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3200)

13@ NE43953700003.
14@ SEA131000000000.00.0
15vs MIA152244100010.412.411.412.4
16PROJ-Dodds2220.20003.45.44.4 (H=5)5.4 (H=11)
16PROJ-Tremblay3350.30005.38.36.8 (H=11)8.3 (H=24)
16PROJ-Bloom1130.10001.92.92.4 (H=1)2.9 (H=3)

Laquon Treadwell (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $3000)

13@ NE22221300001.
14@ SEA30331600001.
15vs MIA221000000000.00.0
16PROJ-Dodds2190.10002.54.53.5 (H=3)4.5 (H=9)
16PROJ-Tremblay2190.10002.54.53.5 (H=3)4.5 (H=9)
16PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Lions vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)13 (-1.1)11 (-2.1)12 (-1.6)2T (-2.2)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-4.1)3 (-5.9)2 (-5.4)2 (-6.2)
12Trey Burton55742802.
13Tyler Higbee47321901.
14Ricky Seals-Jones44533103.
15Jason Croom32112502.

Kyle Rudolph (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $3400)

13@ NE60333803.
14@ SEA5752700.
15vs MIA51332302.
16PROJ-Dodds3340. (H=8)7.6 (H=19)
16PROJ-Tremblay3310. (H=7)7.3 (H=18)
16PROJ-Bloom2150. (H=3)4.7 (H=8)

Tyler Conklin (FanDuel: $4300, DraftKings: $2500)

13@ NE40000000.00.0
14@ SEA7211101.
15vs MIA23325305.
16PROJ-Dodds1600.61.61.1 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
16PROJ-Tremblay1600.61.61.1 (H=0)1.6 (H=1)
16PROJ-Bloom2260. (H=5)5.2 (H=13)

Lions vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7T (-1.1)7T (-1.1)11T (-1.4) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)7T (-1.2)7T (-1.2)11 (-1.2) (+0.0)
12Cody Parkey1122556.06.0
13Greg Zuerlein3333121214.014.0
14Phil Dawson0000000.00.0
15Steve Hauschka0022222.02.0

Dan Bailey (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

13@ NE1211444.04.0
14@ SEA0111111.01.0
15vs MIA2255111111.011.0

Lions vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)22T (+0.7)22T (+0.7)24 (+1.5)24 (+1.5)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)18 (-0.3)18 (-0.3)22 (+1.2)22 (+1.2)
12Chicago Bears1633322001121213.013.0
13Los Angeles Rams1631041100889.09.0
14Arizona Cardinals1721810100337.07.0
15Buffalo Bills1331300000004.04.0

Minnesota Vikings (FanDuel: $4600, DraftKings: $2900)

13@ NE24.0047101000222.02.0
14@ SEA21.0027421000445.05.0
15vs MIA17.00193900009913.013.0
16PROJ-Dodds19.103332.610.700.510.510.510.5 (H=25)10.5 (H=40)
16PROJ-Tremblay19.003442.310.800.510.410.410.4 (H=25)10.4 (H=39)

Vikings vs QB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-3.2)2 (-3.2)3 (-2.7)4 (-2.8)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-6.9)2 (-6.9)3 (-5.6)3 (-5.6)
12Aaron Rodgers5317281981000013.913.911.911.9
13Tom Brady7424323111125019.119.115.918.9
14Russell Wilson661020720176108.78.710.010.0
15Ryan Tannehill531124108001105.

Matthew Stafford (FanDuel: $6600, DraftKings: $4900)

13vs LAR7220332451112015.515.511.012.0
14@ ARI601523101001705.
15@ BUF5722292081000014.414.412.312.3
16PROJ-Dodds22352401.3126016.816.816.8 (H=40)16.8 (H=54)
16PROJ-Tremblay23362511.2125016.916.916.9 (H=40)16.9 (H=54)
16PROJ-Bloom182915811.2130.111.611.611.6 (H=21)11.6 (H=28)

Vikings vs RB

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)10 (-1.2)11 (-1.6)11 (-1.6)27T (-2.1)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)31 (+5.1)27T (+4.4)29 (+5.0)27 (+4.6)
12Aaron Jones40177215321015.318.316.818.3
12Jamaal Williams1315000000.
13James Develin35452119013.414.413.914.4
13James White3362609792011.818.815.318.8
14Chris Carson3522901000015.
14Rashaad Penny14844000004.
15Kalen Ballage2612123111-2018.119.118.622.1
15Kenyan Drake28160332803.

Zach Zenner (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $3600)

13vs LAR317000000.
14@ ARI1612541000011.411.411.411.4
15@ BUF2610451430010.513.512.013.5
16PROJ-Dodds10370.32140. (H=14)9.5 (H=27)
16PROJ-Tremblay9350.221606.38.37.3 (H=11)8.3 (H=21)
16PROJ-Bloom10310.31505.46.45.9 (H=7)6.4 (H=13)

Theo Riddick (FanDuel: $5500, DraftKings: $4100)

13vs LAR388320432605.
14@ ARI256280443005.
15@ BUF25847032905.
16PROJ-Dodds4170.15400.27.512.510.0 (H=19)12.5 (H=38)
16PROJ-Tremblay6230.13240. (H=11)8.9 (H=21)
16PROJ-Bloom6210.13230. (H=10)8.6 (H=20)

LeGarrette Blount (FanDuel: $5300, DraftKings: $3400)

13vs LAR301661010006.
14@ ARI1912330321805.
15@ BUF1179010000.
16PROJ-Dodds9330.31405.56.56.0 (H=8)6.5 (H=15)
16PROJ-Tremblay8270.221405.37.36.3 (H=9)7.3 (H=18)
16PROJ-Bloom7100.20002.22.22.2 (H=1)2.2 (H=2)

Vikings vs WR

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)2 (-5.7)2 (-7.7)2 (-6.4)2 (-7.9)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)6 (-7.0)4 (-10.9)5 (-8.4)4 (-11.2)
12Davante Adams538569100012.917.915.417.9
12Equanimeous St. Brown36535301505.
13Josh Gordon483358100011.814.813.314.8
13Julian Edelman668325023506.
14Tyler Lockett56654202-303.98.98.410.9
14Malik Turner700000000.
15Danny Amendola39833000003.
15Kenny Stills51311700001.

Kenny Golladay (FanDuel: $7100, DraftKings: $6000)

13vs LAR7083500000586.58.0
14@ ARI5042500000.
15@ BUF5287146000014.621.618.124.6
16PROJ-Dodds5730.40009.714.712.2 (H=21)14.7 (H=35)
16PROJ-Tremblay6830.400010.716.713.7 (H=26)16.7 (H=43)
16PROJ-Bloom4630.40008.712.710.7 (H=17)12.7 (H=27)

Bruce Ellington (FanDuel: $5200, DraftKings: $3700)

13vs LAR381073500003.510.57.010.5
14@ ARI27441700001.
16PROJ-Dodds3260.10003.26.24.7 (H=5)6.2 (H=12)
16PROJ-Tremblay4420.30006108.0 (H=14)10.0 (H=29)
16PROJ-Bloom000000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Andy Jones (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

13vs LAR170000000000.00.0
14@ ARI3721500000.
15@ BUF4522910006.
16PROJ-Dodds2220.10002.84.83.8 (H=4)4.8 (H=10)
16PROJ-Tremblay1140.1000232.5 (H=2)3.0 (H=4)
16PROJ-Bloom2100.10001.63.62.6 (H=2)3.6 (H=6)

T.J. Jones (FanDuel: $4900, DraftKings: $3100)

13vs LAR50112500002.
14@ ARI321000000000.00.0
15@ BUF3631500000.
16PROJ-Dodds2200.10002.64.63.6 (H=3)4.6 (H=9)
16PROJ-Tremblay1170.10002.33.32.8 (H=2)3.3 (H=5)
16PROJ-Bloom2110.10001.73.72.7 (H=2)3.7 (H=6)

Brandon Powell (FanDuel: $4500, DraftKings: $3000)

15@ BUF12331101401.
16PROJ-Dodds1110.10001.72.72.2 (H=1)2.7 (H=3)
16PROJ-Tremblay1100.10201.82.82.3 (H=1)2.8 (H=3)
16PROJ-Bloom3140.20002.65.64.1 (H=5)5.6 (H=13)

Vikings vs TE

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11 (-1.5)10 (-2.1)11 (-1.8)12 (-2.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)3 (-3.9)4 (-5.4)4 (-4.6)4 (-5.5)
12Jimmy Graham22423403.
13Rob Gronkowski73432602.
14Nick Vannett29111201.
15Mike Gesicki25322302.

Levine Toilolo (FanDuel: $4000, DraftKings: $2500)

13vs LAR546490091311.013.0
14@ ARI48222602.
15@ BUF40442802.
16PROJ-Dodds2240.1354.0 (H=5)5.0 (H=12)
16PROJ-Tremblay2200. (H=4)4.6 (H=11)
16PROJ-Bloom3320. (H=8)6.8 (H=22)

Luke Willson (FanDuel: $4200, DraftKings: $2500)

13vs LAR5021800.
14@ ARI210000000.00.0
15@ BUF240000000.00.0
16PROJ-Dodds1100. (H=1)2.6 (H=4)
16PROJ-Tremblay1100. (H=1)2.6 (H=4)
16PROJ-Bloom000000.0 (H=0)0.0 (H=0)

Vikings vs PK

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+1.1)27 (+1.1)5T (+1.2) (+0.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)11T (-0.9)11T (-0.9)5T (-1.7) (+0.0)
12Mason Crosby1122555.05.0
13Stephen Gostkowski1233666.06.0
14Sebastian Janikowski2211777.07.0
15Jason Sanders1122555.05.0

Matt Prater (FanDuel: $--, DraftKings: $--)

13vs LAR3311101010.010.0
14@ ARI1122556.06.0
15@ BUF0111111.01.0

Vikings vs TD

Season FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27T (+2.3)27T (+2.3)26 (+2.0)26 (+2.0)
Last 4 weeks FPPG allowed rank (vs AVG)27 (+2.5)27 (+2.5)23 (+1.4)23 (+1.4)
12Green Bay Packers2441620000222.02.0
13New England Patriots10278220006610.010.0
14Seattle Seahawks727620101161616.016.0
15Miami Dolphins414182100110106.06.0

Detroit Lions (FanDuel: $3800, DraftKings: $2100)

13vs LAR30.0034421100665.05.0
14@ ARI3.0027931001111118.018.0
15@ BUF14.0031210000112.02.0
16PROJ-Dodds24.803742.30.90.600. (H=18)7.8 (H=33)
16PROJ-Tremblay24.503612.410.600. (H=20)8.3 (H=37)