Vikings to Start in Fantasy Football vs. the Ravens

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) celebrates a touchdown in the third quarter during an NFL Week 1 football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bengals won, 27-24. Minnesota Vikings At Cincinnati Bengals Sept 12

The Minnesota Vikings are coming off a very frustrating loss to the Dallas Cowboys last week on Sunday Night Football. The game was expected to be a shootout, but neither team got much going on the offensive side of the ball, leading to Dallas taking a 20-16 victory.

This week, Minnesota takes on a Baltimore Ravens team that historically has been very tough to play. In 2021 though, they have been a very middle-of-the-pack unit to this point, ranking 16th in PPG allowed. With this matchup approaching, which Vikings should be in fantasy football lineups this weekend?

QB Kirk Cousins- Sit

There are multiple notable QBs out this week (Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers), and others facing some difficult defensive matchups, but it is not going to be enough to warrant giving Kirk Cousins a chance this week in your fantasy lineups. Cousins is coming off an extremely disappointing game against the Dallas Cowboys, and given his already strained relationship with Mike Zimmer, his leash may be even shorter than normal.

Baltimore’s defense has also been about as hit-or-miss as it gets. They have four games of allowing 343+ passing yards and three games of holding opposing QBs to under 200 yards. The Ravens should be well rested coming off their bye week, and I’d expect a strong effort from this defense.

RB Dalvin Cook- Start

Dalvin Cook had one of his most ineffective games in 2021 last week, and as much as Cousins had his moments, this was the glaring problem in Minnesota’s offense. Cook had just 18 carries and was held without a reception for the first time this season.

Now, Baltimore’s defense has been decent against the run this year, but if the Vikings aren’t going to just let Kirk Cousins have the keys to the offense, the plan should be simple: get the talented backfield of Cook and Alexander Mattison as many touches as possible. Start Cook with confidence this week.

WR Adam Thielen- Start

Adam Thielen has been the heart and soul of the Vikings receiving group of the past couple weeks. Over the past two games, he has 22 targets, 17 receptions, 204 yards, and two TDs. With Davante Adams taking a step back in terms of this role, Thielen has emerged as (in my opinion) the undisputed top red zone WR in the NFL. He’s scored in five of seven Vikings games this year, and another TD should be assumed this week.

WR Justin Jefferson

This one is a bit tricky. Since assuming a starting role early last season, Jefferson largely has played a big role in the Vikings offense. Last week though, he arguably had his worst game as a pro. His four targets were the lowest since week 8 of 2020 against Detroit, and his two receptions tied the lowest amount of his career. He caught two passes in his NFL debut against Green Bay and hasn’t been that low since.

This week doesn’t look to be that much better. If Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison are eating up touches, and Adam Thielen is going to inevitably be the guy down near the end zone, there isn’t a ton of production left. It may be best to scour the bench for a different starter this week.