Last updated: October 31st at 6:30pm ET
Team Totals: N/A
Although Kirk Cousins failed to throw a touchdown pass last Thursday night – thereby turning in a fantasy dud (QB24) – his high level of play continued in Minnesota’s field goal-heavy 19-9 domination of Washington. Over his last four starts, Cousins is 91-of-116 (78.4%) passing for 1,261 yards (10.9 YPA), and a 10:1 TD-to-INT ratio, while Week 9’s matchup looks unimposing against a Chiefs defense that’s permitted top-12 fantasy results to 5-of-8 quarterbacks faced, including three top-five scores. Cousins is a respectable, if low-end QB1 play at Arrowhead Stadium, one of the NFL’s toughest places to play. … His legs likelier fresher than usual coming off Minnesota’s post-Thursday night mini-bye, Dalvin Cook remains the Vikings’ offensive engine with 18-plus touches in 8-of-8 games and 120-plus total yards in 6-of-8 starts. Cook also draws a friendlier matchup than Minnesota’s passing game; enemy backs have carved DC Steve Spagnuolo’s Chiefs for 198/978/6 (4.94 YPC) rushing and the second-most receiving yards in the league (470). Cook is nipping at Christian McCaffrey’s heels to be Week 9’s overall RB1 play. … Impressive rookie Alexander Mattison maintains long-shot flex viability with seven-plus touches in 6-of-8 weeks and remains one of fantasy’s most must-have bench stashes in the event of a Cook injury.
Cousins’ 2019 target distribution: Stefon Diggs 49; Adam Thielen 40; Cook 34; Kyle Rudolph 20; Bisi Johnson 19; Irv Smith 17; C.J. Ham 9; Mattison 3. … Diggs visits Kansas City with 100-plus yards in four of his last five games, a franchise-record 452 receiving yards over his last three, and a 16-game pace of 74/1,410/8, averaging a career-high 14.4 yards per target. (Diggs’ previous career-best YPT was 8.9). Finally turning in the peak year we always knew he was capable of, Diggs’ big-play opportunities are way up with a monster aDOT spike from 8.6 last year to 15.8 this season. Even with Thielen (hamstring) back to siphon targets, Diggs should be teed up as a fringe WR1 at Arrowhead. … Thielen should have few or no limitations at Kansas City after reportedly being close to playing last Thursday night. The Vikings simply didn’t need him to take care of the lowly Skins. With 75-plus yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-7 games, Thielen is a high-floor WR2 against a Chiefs defense that’s been exposed by D.J. Chark (4/146/1), Chris Conley (6/97/1), Courtland Sutton (6/87/0), Marvin Jones (3/77/0), Kenny Golladay (5/67/2), Emmanuel Sanders (5/60/0), DeAndre Hopkins (9/55/0), Tyrell Williams (5/46/1), and Dede Westbrook (5/30/1). … Thielen’s return removes Johnson, Rudolph, and Smith from the fantasy dart-throw scene.
Most late-week signs pointed to the Chiefs giving Matt Moore one more start over Patrick Mahomes (knee) after Moore handled himself adequately for last week’s QB12 finish against the Packers. Mike Zimmer’s Vikings present a tougher challenge, having yielded top-12 results to just 2-of-8 quarterbacks faced while ranking No. 8 in sacks (23) and No. 7 in QB hits (49) and thwarting deep passing games with the league’s ninth-fewest 20-plus-yard completions allowed (23). Matchup-proof Mahomes should be immediately restored as a season-long QB1 if he gets the nod, but this is only a two-quarterback-league spot for Moore. … Although LeSean McCoy paced Kansas City’s backfield in touches (13) versus Green Bay, McCoy lost his second fumble in four games and played his fewest snaps (39%) since Week 5, while Damien Williams led the way in playing time (42%) and routes run (16) and hit fourth-quarter pay dirt from three yards out to tie the contest at 24, before Aaron Jones’ game-winning 67-yard touchdown catch. Albeit sparingly, Darrel Williams and Darwin Thompson’s 11 combined snaps played were just enough to damage McCoy and Damien’s bottom lines. McCoy remains this position group’s top flex option with double-digit touches in 7-of-8 games, but there isn’t a desirable Week 9 play here. The Vikings have held enemy backs to 160/639/1 (3.99 YPC) rushing and just 37.3 receiving yards per game.
Moore’s target distribution: Tyreek Hill 14; Travis Kelce 13; Sammy Watkins 8; McCoy and Demarcus Robinson 5; Mecole Hardman 3; Damien and Blake Bell 2. … Hill and Kelce showed they should be safe enough with Moore under center after drawing 9 and 8 targets, respectively, versus the Pack. Schematic maven Andy Reid would be savvy to align Hill in man coverage against past-his-prime Vikings CB Xavier Rhodes, who has permitted 34 completions on 40 targets (85%) for 317 yards (7.9 YPA) and three TDs. Rhodes just doesn’t move the same anymore. … Kelce is a fade-matchup Week 9 play; the Vikings have yet to allow a touchdown to a tight end this year, notably containing Zach Ertz (4/54/0), Dallas Goedert (5/48/0), and T.J. Hockenson (3/32/0) over the last three weeks. … This was Kansas City’s wide receiver route distribution in Watkins’ Week 8 return: Hill 37; Watkins 36; Robinson 23; Hardman 4. Hill led the unit in slot-route rate (51%) with Watkins and Robinson outside. Hardman made the absolute most of his two targets (2/55/1) but will be extremely hard pressed to maintain fantasy-viable production on such minimal usage. Robinson has cleared 45 yards in 1-of-8 games. … Watkins is a mildly-justifiable Week 9 play after tying Hill in Week 8 targets (8), although Watkins finished a distant third on the team in Air Yards (42) behind Tyreek (121) and Kelce (62). A low-floor WR3/flex candidate, Watkins’ matchup is better than it may seem against a Vikings secondary that has allowed a league-high 114 receptions to wide receivers. Watkins is also popping in Josh Hermsmeyer’s Week 9 Air Yards Buy Low Model.
Score Prediction: N/A