Last updated: October 23rd at 6:01pm ET.
Team Totals: Vikings 29, Redskins 13
Minnesota’s D/ST is an obviously-elite Week 8 play against the Redskins, who’ve scored 17 points or fewer in five straight games and seven or fewer in three of the last four. Constantly at risk of in-game benchings, Case Keenum hasn’t reached 170 passing yards since Week 3, while few defensive minds are more aware of his deficiencies than Mike Zimmer, whose 2017 Vikings were quarterbacked by Keenum. This is a buzzsaw matchup for Washington’s journeyman. … Thursday night is littered with “revenge” narratives, Adrian Peterson among them facing his former team for just the second time since exiting Minnesota following the 2016 season. For A.P., the good news is stone-aged Bill Callahan is obsessed with the run, forcing touch counts of 25 and 20 onto Peterson’s plate since replacing Jay Gruden as coach. The bad news is Zimmer’s defense has held enemy backs to a fantasy-unfriendly 144/554/1 (3.85 YPC) rushing line, and Washington’s offensive line has yielded tackles for loss at the NFL’s ninth-highest rate (24.5%). Peterson also missed early-week practice time with an ankle injury, which he’ll try to play through on a short week. Still a total non-factor in the Redskins’ passing game – he’s run single-digit routes in 5-of-6 appearances – Peterson is a low-floor RB2/flex option as a road-dog feature back in a dangerous draw. … Wendell Smallwood indeed replaced Chris Thompson (turf toe) as Washington’s No. 2/passing-down back in last week’s shutout loss to San Francisco, handling six touches on a season-high 36% of the snaps. With Thompson ruled out again, Smallwood warrants low-owned dart-throw consideration on one-game DFS-tournament slates, especially in light of Peterson’s injury.
Keenum’s 2019 target distribution: Terry McLaurin 34; Trey Quinn 30; Thompson 28; Paul Richardson 27; Vernon Davis 17; Jeremy Sprinkle 11; Peterson 7; Steven Sims 6; Smallwood 4; Kelvin Harmon 3. … In addition to sloppy conditions at FedEx Field, McLaurin finished below 62 yards in his first full game with Keenum in large part because Washington ran a season-low 41 offensive plays in last week’s shutout defeat. The Vikings’ secondary has quietly permitted a league-high 105 catches and the NFL’s ninth-most fantasy points per game to enemy receivers. His 4.35 speed likely to be accentuated inside Minnesota’s dome, McLaurin is a no-fear WR2 play in a spot where his Thursday-through-Monday DFS ownership figures to be negligible. … Quinn is a one-game DFS option only with fewer than 50 yards in 10-of-10 NFL appearances. … Richardson now has 50 yards or fewer in 12-of-14 games as a Redskin. Richardson hasn’t so much as caught a pass since Week 5. … The Vikings have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this year, containing Zach Ertz (4/54/0) and T.J. Hockenson (3/32/0) in the last two weeks.
Dalvin Cook-plus-Vikings D/ST correlation plays are recommended on one-game and Thursday-through-Monday DFS slates; Cook’s usage ceiling is immense as a bellcow favored by sixteen points at home, while the Redskins’ generous concession of 6.4 running back receptions per game raises Cook’s floor. With Christian McCaffrey facing run-tough San Francisco on the road, Cook is Week 8’s overall RB1 play. … Alexander Mattison is worth one-game DFS-slate consideration with seven-plus touches in 5-of-7 weeks and Minnesota in Week 8 position to raise Mattison’s usage in the interest of keeping Cook’s short-week legs fresh and/or playing Mattison more should the Vikings build a big lead. Mattison has only one target in seven appearances but is averaging a robust 5.3 yards per carry as an ideal fit for Gary Kubiak’s one-cut zone-run scheme. … Revenge-game believers should be all over Kirk Cousins this week; longtime-unsuccessful Redskins GM Bruce Allen went out of his way to disrespect Cousins by calling him “Kurt” throughout his time on the Skins’ roster, even as Cousins earned two franchise tags and improved every year he played in D.C. Now one of the hottest quarterbacks in pro football, Cousins enters Week 8 with three straight top-ten fantasy outcomes on 68-of-90 passing (76%) for 976 yards (10.8 YPA) and a 10:1 TD-to-INT ratio in Weeks 5-7. Through seven weeks, Cousins leads the NFL in yards per attempt (9.1) and passer rating (114.3). The Redskins have allowed the NFL’s sixth-most touchdown passes (14) and second-highest completion rate (71%) while ranking 20th in sack rate (6.3%) and 23rd in QB Hit Rate (13.8%). Since joining the Vikings, Cousins has a superb 19:6 TD-to-INT ratio and 8-3 record at home.
Cousins’ 2019 target distribution: Stefon Diggs 42; Adam Thielen 40; Cook 28; Kyle Rudolph and Bisi Johnson 17; Irv Smith 14; C.J. Ham 10; Mattison 1. … A D.C. native who played at Maryland, Diggs’ two career stat lines against the Skins are 4/78/1 and 13/164/0. Diggs enters Week 8 on a heater with 100-plus yards in three of his last four games and Thielen (hamstring) unavailable. Cousins-to-Diggs stacks including Cook and the Vikings’ D/ST are every bit viable on non-main DFS slates. … Thielen owners were fortunate to bank a 25-yard TD before he left nine snaps into last week’s win. Monday reports indicated Thielen won’t play against the Skins, and he was ruled out on Wednesday. … Rookie slot man Johnson set season highs in snaps (71%), targets (8), and receiving (4/40/1) in Thielen’s Week 7 absence and warrants a long Week 8 look in deep season-long leagues and on one-game DFS slates. Johnson runs 51% of his routes inside, where Washington has yielded 47 completions on 55 slot targets (85%) for 493 yards (8.96 YPA) and four TDs. … Aside from Johnson’s playing-time spike, the Vikings’ big post-Thielen Week 7 change was incorporating more two-tight end sets with Rudolph and Smith on the field together. Smith set year highs in snaps (56%), targets (6), and routes run (20). Choosing between Smith and Rudolph directly remains a Week 8 crapshoot.
Score Prediction: Vikings 30, Redskins 10