Washington Redskins @ Minnesota Vikings Preview

Mark Chance (@mark_chance01) believes the Vikings can continue their strong form and beat a struggling Redskins team

As a Scottish NFL Fan every time I hear the Gjallarhorn and the #SKOL clap it always fills me with pride knowing that we as a nation have made our mark on the National Football League. If you believe everything you read on the internet, sources say the mighty Icelandic clap was brought into the Sporting World by a Scottish Premiership football team from North Lanarkshire, Motherwell FC. There will no doubt be some who disagree with the origins of that fable but as my mother in law always tells me why let the truth get in the way of a good story!

This Thursday night I will once again be treated to this experience as I turn on my TV at 1:20am (BST) to see both Case Keenum and Kirk Cousins face off against their old teammates, who they both left in 2018 respectively, at U.S Bank Stadium. This is Cousins’ second season now with the Vikings and there is no arguing that he has really fitted into their system well. In Cousins’ first season with the Vikings he had 4,298 passing yards, 70.1% completion percentage and 30TDs. These are all career high stats for Cousins apart from passing yards. 

There is no doubt in my mind that this offensive scheme has massively helped Cousins in achieving these stats with both WR Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen at his disposal. Earlier this season there was a lot of media attention surrounding discord in Minnesota as WR Diggs was openly criticising his QB over the lack of receptions he was getting. Cousins in reply has gone on in the last two games to post 670 yards and 8 TDs combined! Diggs has definitely been feeling the love with 64.5 fantasy points in PPR leagues and 3 receiving TDs. This has well and truly quashed any question over Digg’s moving on before the trade deadline closes this coming Tuesday (29th Oct.) 

Leading into Thursday Night I am certainly expecting a massive performance from Diggs as for the first time in his career we will see Adam Thielen on the sidelines. So far this season Thielen has had 27 receptions for 391 yards and a league-leading six touchdowns. In his place we will see the Viking’s seventh round draft pick Bisi Johnson stepping in to those rather large yellow shoes we have come to know and love. In terms of fantasy line-ups this week if you’re particularly weak at the WR position or you’re using a streaming approach to the flex position on your roster. I would definitely be going after him on the waiver wire given that he is currently 0.4% owned in most leagues. 

I’m not necessarily predicting a Chase Edmonds-esque performance from Bisi but I am predicting at least another TD (maybe 2…) for the rookie reciever.  Diggs has definitely been feeling the love with 64.5 fantasy points in PPR leagues and 3 receiving TDs.

So far this season Diggs has had a 78.7 % success rate against man coverage which arguably is what has resulted in him having so many big plays. When it comes to Redzone opportunities though I would expect the ball to be placed firmly in the hands of Dalvin Cook. The powerhouse running back so far this has racked up 8 rushing TDs, 7 of which have come within 20 yards of the goal line. 

For that reason I still believe Alexander Mattison is a must have handcuff RB in any fantasy league where he is still available. In week 7 we saw Mattison play in 29% of the offensive snaps and although he hasn’t been overly productive I think his future looks pretty secure with the Vikings. I have no doubts we will continue to see his role develop as time goes on. In a season where we have seen so many big RB injuries I would argue he is worth having solely on the basis of the workhorse role he would receive in Cook’s absence. 

The Vikings defence, currently ranked 15th against passing, will have the task of corralling the Redskins rookie WR out of Ohio State,Terry McLaurin who has been a shining star in an otherwise fairly bleak looking offence. McLaurin who has made an impressive start to his first season, so far having totalled 24 receptions, 419 yards ,17.5 yards per carry and is ranked 5th WR in the league in terms of TDs. Putting him only 1 TD reception behind Adam Thielen! 

If you already have McLaurin in your fantasy line up you’re sitting pretty, but for the rest of us, unfortunately, he is currently 92.4% owned in most leagues.  PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 08: Wide receiver Terry McLaurin #17 of the Washington Redskins scores a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second quarter at Lincoln Financial Field on September 8, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Unfortunately for Case Keenum he seems to have floundered around the league since leaving Minnesota. In 2018 when he started for the Denver Broncos Keenum went from a record of 22 TDs to 7 INTs the previous year to 18 TDs to 15 INTs. Things to be set to continue on the same course as he has managed 1,213 passing yards, 9 TDs and 4 INTs through 7 weeks. 

Keemun won’t be the only Redskin looking for revenge Thursday night as RB Adrian Peterson is set to suit up for the showdown. Peterson who played his first 10 seasons with the Vikings was particularly keen to return for this weeks match-up at the stadium as he believes he was instrumental in building the venue for the franchise. Having sustained a high and low ankle sprain last week it remains to be seen how productive Peterson will actually be. 

Peterson has failed to find the end zone since week 2’s match up against the Cowboys. For that reason i’m not expecting massive fantasy points from him this week.. maybe around the 10.5 mark based on workload alone. Further to that RB2 Chris Thompson has been ruled out of this weeks match-up up with a toe injury. Former Philadelphia Eagles RB Wendell Smallwood therefore will be stepping to the RB2 slot. I would expect him to be carrying a decent number of snaps given that he played 35% last week against the 49ers and ran for a season high 41 yards. If you have better RB’s on your roster I’m not suggesting you substitute them out for Smallwood but I think he has a lot of potential. He logged 117 fantasy points last season with the eagles and had a few 15+ scoring games.. he’s 0.2% owned across most fantasy leagues. If you’re playing in a particularly deep league with 12+ teams maybe worth considering for as an RB3 in the flex position. 

There’s no doubt the Redskins did an impressive job of holding the 49ers to 9 points in their home match up last week, however, its a completely different story playing away from home. Given that they came up with 0 points and Keenum only completed 9/12 passes for 77 yards. Despite Cousins record of 1-5 on Thursday Night Football i’m counting on the Vikings to have a blow-out this week. I’m being somewhat over generous on my score prediction solely because I believe McLaurin has the potential to make big plays and we have seen that from him this season. I have a very close friend from the City of Lakes and for that reason there’s always a part of me routing for them. Skol Vikings, let’s go! 

SCORE PREDICTION

17-31 Vikings 

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