The Worksheet, a comprehensive fantasy football preview by Rich Hribar, breaks down everything you need to know about the Week 1 matchup between the Vikings and Buccaneers.

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Tampa BayRank@MinnesotaRank
6 Spread -6
19.75 Implied Total 25.75
21.615Points All./Gm25.430
63.418Opp. Plays/Gm65.931
5.125Off. Yards/Play5.511
5.212Def. Yards/Play5.930
43.17%16Opp. Rush %41.57%11
56.83%17Opp. Pass %58.43%22

  • The Vikings were the only undefeated team in games as a favorite (12-0) during the regular season in 2022.
  • Minnesota won a league-high 10 games in which they trailed in 2022, including winning eight games in which they trailed in the fourth quarter.
  • The Buccaneers scored 30 fewer touchdowns last season compared to 2021. That was the largest year-over-year touchdown drop-off for any team in the NFL since 2010.
  • 8-of-10 games in Minnesota went over the game total in 2022, the highest rate for any home team in the league in 2022.
  • Minnesota allowed a league-high 4.7 scoring plays per game in 2022.
  • Tampa Bay allowed a league-low 27.0 yards per drive in 2022.
  • The Vikings allowed 34.4 yards per drive in 2022, ahead of only the Lions (36.5).
  • 39.8% of the drives against the Buccaneers ended without a first down or touchdown, the highest rate in the league.
  • Just 22.2% of the drives against the Vikings ended without a first down or touchdown, the lowest rate in the league. The League average was 32.6%.
  • Opponents punted on just 31.3% of their possessions against Minnesota last season, the lowest rate in the league.

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Kirk Cousins: Minnesota won the most games (13) of any season since they acquired Cousins in 2018.

Ironically, Cousins had one of his worst seasons from an efficiency stance.

Cousins had his lowest completion rate (65.9%) and touchdown rate (4.5%) since joining the Vikings while his 7.1 yards per pass attempt matched his low in Minnesota.

Even if a down season compared to prior years through an efficiency lens, Cousins still ended the season right above the fold for leaguewide standards.

He was 14th in expected points added per dropback (0.03) and 14th in success rate (45.4%).

For fantasy, we know exactly what we have with Cousins.

He has finished QB16, QB19, QB12, QB12, and QB14 in points per game over his five seasons in Minnesota.

Some slight pause on only being the QB14 in points per game last season since he also had a career-high 698 dropbacks to go along with that finish.

We have to place some faith in the Tampa Bay offense and the Viking defense being as lackluster as a year ago, but targeting Cousins in home games was advantageous a year ago since so many games in Minnesota were pinball games.

Cousins was a QB1 scorer in 7-of-9 regular season home games, averaging 19.5 fantasy points per game in those contests with 18 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Tampa Bay was not exactly an avoid for us in fantasy a year ago, either.

The Bucs ranked 25th in passing points allowed per pass attempt (0.441) because they allowed a 5.1% touchdown rate to opposing passers (30th).

They fared much better in other efficiency departments. Tampa Bay allowed just 6.6 yards per pass attempt (sixth) and 10.4 yards per completion (eighth).

While there are multiple elements here that take a step of faith in creating the high-scoring game environments that Minnesota had in 2022, Cousins is a viable QB1 option in 12-team leagues in Week 1.

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