Vikings vs Lions Fantasy Football Worksheet, Week 14

The Worksheet, a fantasy football overview by Rich Hribar, breaking down everything you need to know for the Week 14 Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions Sunday afternoon game.

MinnesotaRank@DetroitRank
1.5Spread-1.5
26Implied Total27.5
24.111Points/Gm26.36
23.321Points All./Gm2732
64.712Plays/Gm63.814
66.130Opp. Plays/Gm65.127
5.221Off. Yards/Play5.87
630Def. Yards/Play6.232
36.86%30Rush%44.52%12
63.14%3Pass%55.48%21
39.60%7Opp. Rush %44.17%24
60.40%26Opp. Pass %55.83%9
  • The Lions have covered five straight games, the longest active streak in the league.
  • Detroit has converted a league-high 73.9% (34-of-46) of their red zone possessions into touchdowns.
  • Detroit has scored on 53.8% of their drives the past four weeks, second in the league behind the Chiefs (55.6%) over that span.
  • Minnesota is allowing a league-high 6.6 yards per play over the past four weeks.
  • The Vikings (14.1%) and the Lions (14.6%) have forced a three-and-out possession at the two lowest rates in the league. 
  • Detroit has produced a first down or touchdown every 3.1 plays on offense, sixth in the league.
  • Detroit is allowing a first down or touchdown every 3.0 plays defensively, the worst rate in the league.
  • Just 24.0% of the Detroit possessions have failed to gain a first down or touchdown, second in the league only behind the Chiefs (21.5%).
  • 21.5% of the drives against Minnesota have failed to gain a first down or touchdown, the lowest rate in the league.
  • 23.6% of the drives against Detroit have failed to gain a first down or touchdown, the second-lowest rate in the league.
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Quarterback

Kirk Cousins: Things went about as expected for Cousins last week against a tough Jets defense. Cousins closed as the QB23 (10.9 points), throwing for just 4.9 yards per pass attempt (actually not a season low) with one touchdown. 

Cousins has fought through a tough stretch here over the past month against the Bills, Cowboys, Patriots, and Jets, but he does find alleviation here this weekend. Detroit is fresh off limiting Trevor Lawrence (5.8 Y/A) and Josh Allen (6.0 Y/A) through the air, so we will not count this as a cakewalk for Cousins, but he also threw for just 6.3 Y/A when these teams played back in Week 3, and still notched 18.4 passing points in that one. 

The Lions play man coverage on 37.2% of passing plays (fifth) and are blitzing on 34.3% of passing plays (fifth). Cousins has been rough against man coverage completing 51.7% of his passes (29th) for 6.2 Y/A (25th), but he does have eight touchdowns to just two interceptions. Against man coverage when these teams played in Week 3, Cousins was 12-of-26 passing (46.2%) for 125 yards (4.8 Y/A) but threw a pair of touchdowns. On 16 dropbacks against the blitz in that game, Cousins was 7-of-16 (43.8%) for 47 yards (2.9 Y/A) with a touchdown.

For all of those issues, Cousins still managed a QB9 scoring week that game while the Lions are still allowing 15.6 passing points per game (26th) on the season with their recent success factored in. This game offers strong shootout appeal and the best matchup that Cousins has had over the past month. I am still bullish on him as a 1QB option this week. 

Jared Goff (TRUST): Goff was hot at home again this past week, taking advantage of a good matchup against a Jags defense that has been getting roasted. Goff was nearly flawless, completing 31-of-41 passes for 340 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

A lot has been made about Goff’s splits at home this season as now 17 of his 19 passing touchdowns this season have come at home. The Lions have scored 31 points in each of their past two road games and have been one the hottest offenses in the NFL regardless of where they have played, so I believe that is still happenstance of late than true splits to worry about. I also believe more of his performances have been matchup driven. At home this year, Goff has now been the QB17, QB7, QB1, QB12, QB19, QB15, and QB4, with the four top-12 scoring weeks in that sample coming against the Commanders, Seahawks, Dolphins, and Jaguars, teams we have picked on this season no matter where they play. The non-QB1 scoring weeks in that sample have come against the Eagles, Packers, and Bills. 

More than being at home, he has another good draw against a Minnesota pass defense that has been giving out buckets of fantasy points. 

The Vikings have allowed a QB1 scorer in seven of their past eight games, which includes Teddy Bridgewater, Mac Jones, and Mike White. The Vikings are allowing a league-high 8.0 yards per pass attempt, 11.9 yards per completed pass (29th), and a 67.4% completion rate (25th).

Despite Goff not popping when these teams played back in Week 3 (13.9 points), I believe he will be better in the rematch. The Vikings play zone coverage on 81.0% of passing plays, the second-highest rate in the league. Against zone coverage the past four weeks, Goff has completed a league-high 79.2% (61-of-77) of his passes for a league-high 9.6 yards per pass attempt. The only rub there is that he did not throw a single touchdown pass on any of those dropbacks. 

I still have more faith in Cousins heads up versus Goff, but this is a week where Goff is a viable streamer. 

Running Back

Dalvin Cook: Coming off of two down scoring weeks, Cook was able to get back on track a bit this past week, rushing 20 times for 86 yards and a touchdown against a tough Jets defense while catching 2-of-3 targets for a loss of three yards.

Although Alexander Mattison scored a touchdown, Cook still handled 81.5% of the backfield touches, giving him 80.5% of the touches over the past seven games. 

Over his past five games, Cook has faced four run defenses that are 14th or higher in yards allowed per carry to backs while the only run defense he has faced outside of the top-12 in rushing points allowed per game to backfields has been Dallas, when he averaged 6.5 yards per carry, but Minnesota got flooded out of the game.

Detroit is 15.9 rushing points per game (25th). Cook rushed 17 times for 96 yards and a touchdown when these teams met in Week 3, with Cook leaving the game early due to a shoulder injury.

To give the Lions some credit here, they have been better at playing the run since their Week 6 bye. Since then, they are allowing 4.08 yards per carry (14th) with a first down or a touchdown allowed on 22.8% of backfield carries (16th). They have allowed just one rushing touchdown since Week 8, which was to Matt Breida.

While this may not be as strong of a matchup as it looked back in Week 3, Cook is still in a strong spot as a high-workload RB1 in a potential shootout

D’Andre Swift: For the first time since the season opener, Swift was not on the injury report at all and it resulted in the strongest opportunity he has had since the season began.

Swift played 39 snaps (51.3%), turning 18 touches into 111 yards and a touchdown. Swift did not even have more than 10 touches in a game since Week 1. Swift also now has 14 targets over the past two weeks after seeing 15 targets over his four games prior to returning to the lineup in Week 8. 

The Lions still have Jamaal Williams soaking up high-value touches in this split, but this past week was the most encouraging usage we have seen for Swift while providing context clues here that he is the healthiest he has been since the season started. 

There is still some volatility here since Swift was still 25th among backs in snap rate, but his utilization rate of 51.3% was 11th at the position in Week 13.

Based on last week’s usage, Swift is an upside-based RB2/FLEX. If we see him get another similar workload this week, then we could be looking all the way up for a strong finish to the season. 

We are also catching Swift in an appealing game environment to make a play for the upside angle. Minnesota is allowing 3.87 YPC to backs (sixth) but is allowing 11.9 receiving points per game (27th) to backs.

Jamaal Williams: Williams had fewer rushes than Swift for the first time since Week 1, rushing 11 times for 35 yards. Despite the pedestrian rushing line, Williams still managed to plunge his way into the end zone for his league-leading 14th rushing touchdown on the year. It was his fourth game in a row that Williams has found the end zone. 

Williams has not even seen a target in the passing game since Week 8. Eventually, we see his floor exposed when we fail to get into the end zone, but he is attached to a red hot offense that has run 42 offensive plays inside of the 5-yard line, second in the league. If you are going to be a touchdown-dependent fantasy play, at least be one in those settings. 

Minnesota is sixth in the league in yards allowed per carry to backs (Williams has been held below 4.0 YPC in each of the past five weeks), but they have allowed nine rushing touchdowns to backs (tied for 19th).

Wide Receiver

Justin Jefferson (TRUST):  Jefferson worked hard on Sunday in a tougher matchup, catching 7-of-11 targets for 45 yards, managing to find the end zone for the fourth time over his past five games as extra icing to make up for the low yardage output. 

When these teams met back in Week 3, Jefferson had the worst game of his career, catching 3-of-6 targets for just 14 yards. That is a low bar to clear here in the rematch and I do believe we will see that this weekend. 

Since the Vikings acquired T.J. Hockenson, Jefferson has had his role in the offense expand. Over that timeframe, he has a depth of target of 12.5 yards downfield with 30.4% of his targets in the intermediate area of the field and another 19.6% as deep targets.

Prior to that, he had a depth of target of 8.1 yards downfield with an 18.3% intermediate target rate and a 9.9% deep target rate. When these teams played in Week 3, Jefferson’s depth of target was just 4.4 yards downfield, his lowest in a game this season.

Despite their success against Jefferson in that matchup, Detroit is allowing 17.5 points per game to opposing WR1 targets (27th).

Amon-Ra St. Brown (TRUST): St. Brown kept on stacking targets again on Sunday, catching 11-of-12 looks for 114 yards and two touchdowns. After going seven games without a trip to the end zone, St. Brown has three touchdowns over the past two weeks, getting a good look at how high his ceiling is when he does hit paydirt, especially in full-PPR formats.

St. Brown is averaging 10.0 targets per game since the team’s Week 7 bye. Over that span, his 32.4% team target share trails only Davante Adams while he has been targeted on 31.6% of his routes in those games, behind only Adams and Tyreek Hill. 

St. Brown is averaging 3.24 yards per route run in those weeks against zone coverage (only behind Hill and Adams again), which Minnesota plays at the second-highest rate in the league. 

St. Brown caught 6-of-9 targets for 73 yards when these teams played in Week 3. That week was the game in which he originally picked up his ankle injury limited to a 73% snap rate that game.

D.J. Chark: Chark is coming off his best game with the Lions, catching 5-of-6 targets for 98 yards against his former team.

Since returning in Week 11, Chark has seen his route rate rise from 18.5% to 79.5% to 95.4% last week. 

Chark has only been targeted on 15.2% of his routes against zone coverage, but he does play 82% of his snaps out wide, where Minnesota has been cooked this season. The Vikings are allowing a league-high 11.0 yards per target and 9.9 receptions per game to opposing boundary wide receivers. Chark only had 3-46-0 on six targets when these teams met in Week 3, but he did have 116 air yards in that game, which was second on the team.

With the Lions hot, Chark is a boom-or-bust WR3/FLEX with so many teams on bye.

Adam Thielen: Thielen was unable to survive the tough matchup last week for this passing game, catching 2-of-6 targets for 27 yards. 

Thielen received 18.2% of the team targets, giving him a 17.6% target share since the team acquired Hockenson. Thielen has seven fewer targets than Hockenson since he joined the team after having a 20.3% target share and 17 more targets than the next closest Viking prior. 

The Vikings have also played a tougher schedule over that span, but Thielen has not had more than 72 yards in a game this season with three touchdowns. He is a matchup-based WR3/FLEX getting attachment to this potential shootout. Theilen caught 6-of-8 targets for 61 yards and a touchdown when these teams played in Week 3, but that was also without Hockenson and Jefferson having the worst game of his career.

Jameson Williams: Williams played eight snaps in his career debut, he ran just two pass routes, failing to secure his lone target. We are still in a ramp-up period with Williams as a stash only. 

Tight End

T.J. Hockenson (TRUST): Hockenson caught 4-of-6 targets for 33 yards on Sunday, failing to log his first TE1 scoring week since joining Minnesota. 

Hockenson needs more than six targets or he has to find the end zone based on his usage with his new team. With an average depth of target of 5.7 yards downfield, Hockenson is averaging 7.5 yards per catch and 5.6 yards per target with Minnesota after averaging 15.2 yards per catch and 9.2 yards per target with the Lions. 

The good news is that his former team has been giving to opposing tight ends, allowing 8.0 yards per target (27th), 74.1% catch rate (28th), and 9.9% touchdown rate (31st) to the position.

More Week 14 Fantasy breakdowns from The Worksheet:

LVR at LAR | NYJ at BUF | CLE at CIN | HOU at DAL | MIN at DET | JAX at TEN | PHI at NYG | BAL at PIT | KC at DEN | TB at SF | CAR at SEA | MIA at LAC | NE at ARI

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