Last updated: October 8th at 2:55pm ET
Team Totals: Vikings 23.5, Eagles 20.5
The Eagles begin their gauntlet of Weeks 6-11 pass defenses (@ MIN > @ DAL > @ BUF > vs. CHI > vs. NE) at Minnesota’s U.S. Bank Stadium, where Mike Zimmer’s team has held each of its last six home opponents to 24 points or fewer and a measly 15.5-point average, including Week 1’s shutdown of high-powered Atlanta (12 points) and Week 3’s muzzling of the suddenly-lively Raiders (14). The Vikings have limited Aaron Rodgers (QB19), Matt Ryan (QB14), Derek Carr (QB20), Chase Daniel/Mitchell Trubisky (QB20), and Daniel Jones (QB21) to substandard outcomes while ranking top ten in sacks (15) and QB hits (33). In season-long leagues, I’d be willing to explore streamers over Carson Wentz this week. … Also eliminating ground games, Zimmer’s unit has held enemy backs to 104/388/1 (3.73 YPC) rushing and the NFL’s second-fewest receiving yards per game (23.2), boding poorly for an Eagles backfield where playing time is already being split. Jordan Howard led the position group in Week 5 carries (13) but was not targeted and hasn’t run more than nine pass routes in a game this year. Miles Sanders is the superior Week 6 PPR play with Darren Sproles (quad) sidelined; Sanders caught 4-of-5 targets for 49 yards in last week’s win over the Jets, running 15 routes on 42% of the snaps. Howard is a low-floor, touchdown-dependent flex option at Minnesota. Sanders is an underrated PPR-oriented flex play.
Wentz’s Weeks 2-5 target distribution: Zach Ertz 38; Nelson Agholor 27; Mack Hollins 18; Alshon Jeffery 17; Sanders 13; J.J. Arcega-Whiteside and Dallas Goedert 7; Howard 6; Sproles 5. … Ertz is Philadelphia’s lone confident Week 6 pass-catcher play with stat lines of 10/110/1 and 8/93/0 in his last two meetings with Zimmer’s defense. Darren Waller (13/134/0) and Austin Hooper (9/77/0) have exposed some leaks in Minnesota’s tight end coverage. … Agholor has ghosted with four targets in two games since Jeffery returned from his calf injury, earning droppable status in 10- and 12-team leagues. The Vikings haven’t been generous to fellow slot WRs Mohamed Sanu (5/57/0), Hunter Renfrow (3/28/0), Geronimo Allison (4/25/1), Golden Tate (3/13/0), and Anthony Miller (2/11/0). … Jeffery has looked stiff and athletically deficient on tape since returning from injury and now faces a Minnesota secondary that allowed just one enemy wideout to clear 80 yards (Davante Adams) in its first five games. As usual, Jeffery is a touchdown-or-bust WR3 option. … Hollins will make another start for DeSean Jackson (abdomen), but his route totals have dipped in four straight weeks (52 > 47 > 20 > 17), culminating in a near-nonexistent passing-game role over the last two games. … Goedert has yet to exceed three targets in a 2019 game.
As the stone-age Vikings finally showed willingness to open up their offense in last Sunday’s trouncing of the Giants, Kirk Cousins responded with an extreme-efficiency 11.3 yards per attempt on 22-of-27 passing, two touchdowns, and no turnovers, good for Week 5’s QB9 fantasy score. This week’s matchup dictates OC Kevin Stefanski should continue riding Cousins’ arm; enemy backs have managed a putrid 85/239/2 (2.81 YPC) rushing line against run-tough Philly, yet only four NFL defenses are surrendering more passing yards per game (288.6), and 3-of-5 quarterbacks to face DC Jim Schwartz’s pass-funnel unit have registered top-eight fantasy weeks. I would play Cousins over Wentz straight up and strongly consider him in DFS tournaments. … While immensely profitable in the fantasy short term, Dalvin Cook’s 22.6 touches per game are the most he’s averaged since his final season at Florida State and a reminder that Alexander Mattison should be stashed in all leagues with some bye-week flex utility and RB1/2 upside if Cook went down. … While Cook’s Week 6 rushing efficiency is likely to take a matchup-driven hit, he can compensate in the passing game, where Schwartz’s defense has served up the NFL’s fifth-most catches (34) and seventh-most receiving yards (257) to enemy backs. Even on the typically run-first Vikings, Cook ranks 11thamong running backs in targets (24) and has six catches in back-to-back weeks.
Cousins’ Weeks 1-5 target distribution: Adam Thielen 30; Cook 24; Stefon Diggs 23; C.J. Ham 9; Kyle Rudolph and Bisi Johnson 8; Irv Smith 6; Ameer Abdullah 4. … Despite early-season unhappiness with his role, Thielen has 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 4-of-5 games and should run circles around Philly’s inept secondary. As Johnson has emerged as Minnesota’s main slot receiver, Thielen is running 68% of his routes outside, and Diggs 83%. In Davante Adams (10/180/0), Terry McLaurin (5/125/1), Julio Jones (5/106/2), Calvin Ridley (8/105/1), and Marvin Jones (6/101/1), the Eagles have already given up 100-yard games to five perimeter wideouts. … The Eagles have allowed the NFL’s 12th-most catches to tight ends (23), including TE1 games to old-fogies Jimmy Graham (6/61/1) and Vernon Davis (4/59/1), giving Rudolph hope of finally busting his five-game slump. Rudolph hasn’t seen many targets, but that’s mainly because the Vikings are running the ball so much. Rudolph has still run 50 routes over the last two weeks, tenth most among NFL tight ends. If the Vikings do as they should and attack the Eagles via the pass, Rudolph’s chances of finally turning in a productive week would grow exponentially.
Score Prediction: Vikings 21, Eagles 20