The NFL Grind Down: Thursday Night Football - Eagles vs. Vikings
In this article, we will take a look at the top DraftKings and FanDuel picks for the Eagles vs. Vikings, go over potential sleepers, and even take a look at some player props that we can target on fantasy pick’em sites like Sleeper Fantasy ahead of this Thursday Night Football matchup.
NFL DFS Showdown DraftKings Picks and Sleepers — PHI vs. MIN
Everyone loves to complain about the scheduling for Thursday Night Football, but this is the second great game that we’ve had on Thursday in as many weeks. We kicked the year off with the Chiefs-Lions and now get to watch two playoff teams from the NFC in the Eagles-Vikings. If Week 1 was any indication, it’s going to be a long season in terms of injuries and unpredictability when it comes to usage.
Philadelphia Eagles Preview
The Eagles got off to a fast start against the Patriots, but ultimately let New England back in the game. They were able to walk away with the win and now have their home opener against the Vikings. This is about as good of a matchup as you are going to find in the NFL. The Vikings finished as a bottom five defense last season and had trouble stopping Baker Mayfield and company at home in Week 1. If the Eagles are able to take care of the ball, they should have no issue putting a big number on the scoreboard.
The Vikings blitzed more than any team in Week 1, which is not a strategy that you typically want to use against the Eagles. Jalen Hurts is very good at eluding pressure and making splash plays with his legs. Additionally, the more a team blitzes, the more they are leaving their secondary in one-on-one situations. Good luck defending A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith if they decide to call a blitz-heavy game plan in this game. Regardless, Hurts is the top overall play on the slate. He is the easy option when it comes to the Captain spot on DraftKings and the MVP spot on FanDuel.
Brown and Smith both saw 10 targets in Week 1 and both had decent fantasy outings. Brown had a very long pass play overturned, which could have put him over 100 yards for the game. There’s not much separating these two in terms of projections or in terms of the matchup. Given how bad Minnesota’s defense has been the last couple of years, Hurts double stacks are firmly in play for this Showdown slate. Dallas Goedert is an intriguing bounce-back candidate after putting up a goose egg in Week 1. We know he’s a big part of the offense and this is a much better matchup for tight ends. In large-field tournaments on DraftKings, you can sprinkle in the likes of Quez Watkins and Olamide Zaccheaus, who should both see snaps against a shaky secondary.
Kenneth Gainwell dominated snaps and touches in this backfield in Week 1, but is set to miss Thursday’s game with a rib injury. DFS salaries were released before this piece of injury news came out, which is why the Eagles’ backfield projects as some of the value plays on the board. D’Andre Swift should lead the way in terms of touches, but the Eagles will have Rashad Penny active in this game. He’ll steal some of the early-down work. We can also expect Boston Scott to see a handful of snaps. Ultimately, this is a tremendous matchup at home and you can play all three of these running backs for a combined salary of $7,800 on DraftKings. A lot of my builds will feature two Eagles running backs.
Minnesota Vikings Preview
Everyone had the Vikings as their pick to take a step backward this season. They won almost all of their close games last season and were one of the biggest candidates for regression. Based on their Week 1 performance, the masses might be right about this team. They weren’t particularly effective on either side of the ball and ended up losing to the Buccaneers at home. Add in the fact that they will be without at least one and maybe two of their offensive linemen and the fact that Cousins has historically struggled in primetime games and it’s hard seeing them picking up an upset against the Eagles.
The Eagles defense is firmly in play for Showdown, but I will note that they will be short-handed as well. Philadelphia will be without three of their usual starters in James Bradberry, Nakobe Dean, and Reed Blankenship. Cousins will likely be under pressure once again, but still offers one of the highest floors of any player on the slate. There are only a handful of times all season where I am actively looking to fade a starting quarterback in Showdown contests and this isn’t one of them.
If the Vikings want to have any chance of winning this game, they will need a big performance from their superstar receiver, Justin Jefferson. He picked up right where he left off last season, catching 9-of-12 targets for 150 yards in Week 1. Bradberry’s absence certainly doesn’t hurt the appeal for Jefferson and they will move him around the formation in order to avoid a matchup against Darius Slay.
Jordan Addison and K.J. Osborn will serve as the other two players in three-receiver sets and they both saw six targets in Week 1. They are both strong tournament plays, but not necessarily cash game targets given the value in Philly’s backfield. T.J. Hockenson is now the highest paid tight end in the NFL and his target share has been through the roof since joining the Vikings. We saw Hunter Henry get loose against the Eagles last week, so this could be an interesting spot for Hockenson, especially if he’s going to be contrarian.
Alexander Mattison was one of my favorite plays in Week 1 and while he was able to salvage his day with a touchdown, he was one of the least efficient running backs in Week 1. The good news is that he doesn’t have much competition for touches and that the best way to move the ball against the Eagles has been on the ground. Even if the Vikings fall behind in this game, that could be a positive for Mattison, as Philadelphia gave up 13 receptions to the Patriots running backs in Week 1. Until we see a bigger role, I’m fine fading Ty Chandler in all formats.
Vikings-Eagles DFS Salaries & Projections
|Player||Team||Proj||DK Sal||CPT Sal||DK/$||FD Sal||FD/$|
Philadelphia Eagles D/ST – $4,400 DK / $6,600
Let’s see, we’ve had three primetime Showdown slates so far and a defense has been featured on the optimal lineup in all of them. The Lions had a pick six, the Cowboys scored twice on defense and special teams, and the Jets forced three turnovers and ran back a punt for a touchdown. Can we go 4-for-4 with the Eagles on Thursday? We know Cousins has struggled in primetime games throughout his career and he was consistently under pressure in Week 1 against a less talented Buccaneers defense.
Eagles vs. Vikings Player Props
Jalen Hurts more than 0.5 rushing touchdowns (1.94x) – Sleeper
This is my favorite prop so far in these Showdown slate breakdowns. Last year, Hurts scored 13 rushing touchdowns during the regular season and then added another five on the ground in the playoffs. He had nine rushing attempts in Week 1 against the Patriots and now gets to face one of the worst defenses in the NFL without his starting running back. If and when the Eagles get down near the goal line, I fully expect them to put the ball in his hands.
Final DFS Showdown Thoughts
This is setting up to be a great Showdown slate. We have star power on both sides of the ball and thanks to injuries in Philadelphia’s backfield, we have plenty of value to work with. Given those values and the fact that most will want to play Hurts, Brown, Smith, Jefferson, Cousins, etc., we could see low ownership on the kickers and the defenses. I’m not looking to play Minnesota’s defense, but I do like that side of the ball for Philadelphia. We generally don’t want to play two running backs from the same team given their negative correlation, but don’t be afraid to play two of the Eagles running backs in this spot with Gainwell out.