NFL DFS Picks and Analysis - Week 3: The Grind Down - Vikings vs. Titans

Welcome to the RotoGrinders NFL Grind Down, a fantasy football advice article for DraftKings, FanDuel, and Yahoo. This DFS breakdown is an all-encompassing preview of the week ahead in the NFL from a daily fantasy sports perspective. We’ll provide all the projections, projected ownership, picks, targets, and analysis you need to set your lineups for this week’s contests.

Every game will be broken down with a DFS-first mentality. Betting lines are shown with projected team totals, spreads, and moneyline to give you an idea of the game environment. Each contest is then analyzed team-by-team, with a focus on finding matchups to exploit and trends to follow. At the end of each section, we’ll deliver a DFS cheat sheet of stacks to build, players to target, and low projected ownership plays that can make an impact on your weekly success.

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Sports Betting Lines and Overview

Minnesota Vikings DFS Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Kirk Cousins MIN $5,500 $7,100 $22 16.26 QB24 37.05 239.69
RB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Dalvin Cook MIN $7,600 $8,600 $29 19.01 RB6 72.00% 11.50%
Alexander Mattison MIN $4,000 $4,700 $12 7.77 RB44 20.00% 8.50%
C.J. Ham MIN $4,000 $4,500 $10 1.05 RB81 2.00% 1.50%
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Adam Thielen MIN $6,900 $7,200 $24 18.2 WR3 31.50% 12.45
Justin Jefferson MIN $4,200 $4,900 $10 6.64 WR86 12.50% 4.94
Olabisi Johnson MIN $3,600 $4,700 $10 7.1 WR81 12.00% 4.74
Tajae Sharpe MIN $3,000 $4,500 $10 1.67 WR122 3.00% 1.19
Dan Chisena MIN $3,000 $4,500 $10 0 WR154 0.00
Kyle Rudolph MIN $3,100 $4,500 $14 4.77 TE37 7.50% 2.96
Irv Smith MIN $2,800 $4,600 $11 7.24 TE23 12.00% 4.74
Injuries to Monitor


Running Game Outlook

The Vikings probably want Dalvin Cook to be a bellcow who touches the ball 20-to-25 times a game for 55% of the market share, but they have a “bad defense” problem. Bad defense stays on the field, so the Vikings only had the ball for 18:44 in Week 1 and 21:35 in Week 2. We’re talking regulation NFL games here, not ten-minute-quarter Madden games. Bad defense also produces—LDO—negative gamescripts. The result has been only 96 total plays (bottom of the league), so sure, Cook is projected for over 70% of the market share of the run game, but the overall team volume has been low and it’s hard to run from behind.

That said, Vegas has this game close and higher scoring, suggesting a regression from the extreme toward some sort of mean. Suggesting that the Vikings get back on track with their gameplan of volume for Cook that includes work in the passing game. Cook averaged 4.5 targets per game in 2019, but only has four through the first two games. The past is so extreme that regression is reasonable to expect, but the defense is so repeatably bad, so this history can reasonably repeat itself.

The dilemma is to trust the past two weeks or trust the Cook’s high future projections of Vegas and THE BLITZ.

Passing Game Outlook

Hard to project an offense we haven’t seen. We haven’t seen the Vikings in a close game, but we have seen Adam Thielen see a ridiculous 33.3% target share, which has produced only nine receptions, due to a 56.3% catch rate. Regression is believable on all angles. The target share should come down, somewhat, despite there being no more Stefon Diggs with whom to share targets; the catch rate has to go up to at least the mid-60s; but the 15.7 yards per catch also has to come down a yard or so.

If we’re on the projection side of more volume for this offense, Thielen evens out to project strongly, especially on DK, as a target monster, even with some regression. If we’re on the recency side, we can still project that Kirk Cousins forces Thielen the ball, playing from behind.

No matter which angle of this dilemma we choose, nothing works out for Cousins. In a positive or neutral gamescript, the run game is at the Vikings’ core. In a negative gamescript, the Titans’ run game is killing the clock and keeping the ball out of Cousins’ hands.

In a shootout, we could go to Justin Jefferson or Olabisi Johnson as splash play punts, but this game is capped.

Strong Projections: Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen

High Upside Correlations: None

Strong GPP Differentiators: None

Roster Construction Punts/Values: None

My Expected Team Exposure: Low

Tennessee Titans Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds
Ryan Tannehill TEN $5,900 $7,400 $31 19.08 QB15 31.14 234.55
RB Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar%
Derrick Henry TEN $7,800 $8,200 $34 22.27 RB2 81% 9%
Jeremy McNichols TEN $4,000 $4,500 $10 0.97 RB82 10% 1%
Darrynton Evans TEN $4,000 $4,500 $10 1.23 RB80 1% 2%
WR/TE Team DKSal FDSal YHSal Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar
Corey Davis TEN $5,200 $5,300 $20 10.72 WR47 22% 7.37
Adam Humphries TEN $3,900 $4,600 $16 8.3 WR69 20% 6.53
Cameron Batson TEN $3,000 $4,500 $10 1 WR136 7% 2.34
Kalif Raymond TEN $3,000 $4,600 $10 1.24 WR134 9% 3.01
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine TEN $3,000 $4,500 $10 #N/A #N/A #N/A #N/A
Jonnu Smith TEN $5,200 $5,600 $17 11.01 TE9 22% 7.37
Anthony Firkser TEN $2,500 $4,100 $10 4.37 TE42 8% 2.68
Injuries to Monitor

WR A.J. Brown (Questionable)

Running Game Outlook

Derrick Henry is tied for the league lead in touches (59). He’s getting the ball all game and the projections suggest over 25 points for Titans, so we have to feel strongly about Henry’s chances to get in the end zone. This is important because Henry only has 21 catches over the last 17 games.

Playing two RBs from the same game in the same lineup is pretty hee-haw, but Henry is also firmly in play, albeit TD-dependent, so better on FD. Pay attention to ownership and let that guide your exposure. On one hand, he will get a ton of touches, which will entice people; on the other, he disappointed as chalk just last week, which will repel people.

Passing Game Outlook:

A.J. Brown hasn’t practiced all week, so Corey Davis can repeat his big production from Week 1 where he led the team in target share. The passing volume isn’t high, as Ryan Tannehill is outside of the top-20 in dropbacks, but Tanny is efficient enough and Davis is cheap enough and the Vikings are bad enough for the Davis play to work out.

If Brown plays, everything gets jumbled up when we add Adam Humphpries and his 20.3% target share with the 18.8% of Jonnu Smith. Davis’ 13 targets and 10.5 aDOT, though, makes him the only Titan with double-digit targets and an aDOT over 7.5.

Smith already has three TDs in only 12 targets. Regression is coming and his price has risen.

Strong Projections: Derrick Henry, Corey Davis (if Brown is out), Jonnu Smith (if Brown is out)

High Upside Correlations: None

Strong GPP Differentiators: None

Roster Construction Punts/Values: Adam Humphries

My Expected Team Exposure: Medium

About the Author

  • Alex Sonty (AlexSonty)

  • Alex Sonty is a part-time political science professor at the City Colleges of Chicago and a professional DFS player. He’s been playing fantasy sports since Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith paved the way to a rookie championship in 1996. He started playing DFS in 2014 and currently specializes in MLB and NFL cash games, dipping his toes into GPP play. He’s been writing for the Chicago Tribune, SB Nation, and Rotogrinders blog networks since 2010. He holds a J.D./M.A. and L.L.M. from DePaul University.


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