NFL Grind Down Week 2: Vikings vs. Packers

Vegas Overview

MIN @ GBP Team Spread Total Implied Moneyline
GBP -3 45 24 -136
MIN 3 45 21 118

Betting Quick Take: The Packers picked up a big win on the road against a division rival last week and have the chance to make it two in a row this week against the Vikings. Minnesota is coming off of an impressive win themselves, as they man-handled the Falcons in Minnesota. Three points is always a key number in Vegas because many games in the NFL are decided by a field goal. I don’t have a strong lean on the spread or the total, but it’s worth noting that the total is down to 43.5 in most places. If forced to choose, I would take the Packers -3 with the under.

No bet for Noto
Confidence Level: 1 out of 10

Injury Situations

Injuries to Monitor: Even this early in the season, it’s surprising to see two teams this healthy. There aren’t any major injuries on either team heading into Week 2.

Other News and Notes: Last season, the Vikings fired their offensive coordinator (who is now in Jacksonville) for passing too much. They clearly want to run the ball, as evidenced by the fact that they attempted 10 passes in Week 1 against the Vikings. For a reference point, that is the third fewest pass attempts for any team in the last 10 years.

Matchup Factors, Team Identity Metrics, and Game Flow Expectations

Expected Game Pace and Tempo: While the Vikings were playing with a big lead against the Falcons, the fact that they only threw the ball 10 times is astounding in this day and age. While they ranked first in run percentage, they also ranked first in seconds per play, which is a bit surprising. The Packers were right around the league average in pass and run percentage in Week 1, but played at the sixth slowest pace. These divisional games tend to be lower scoring and both defenses are stout. The total has already dropped a point and a half, which plays into my thoughts of this being a slow-paced game.

Green Bay Packers Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Aaron Rodgers GBP 18.83 QB9 37.15 282.31 Rank 22 Rank 26 Rank 21 Rank 20
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Aaron Jones GBP 13.63 RB18 60% 10% Rank 13 Rank 11 Rank 10 Rank 8
Jamaal Williams GBP 5.28 RB61 25% 4% Rank 54 Rank 53 Rank 55 Rank 54
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Davante Adams GBP 18.61 WR4 30% 11.11 Rank 9 Rank 31 Rank 50 Rank 23
Marquez Valdes-Scantling GBP 12.04 WR36 21% 7.61 Rank 20 Rank 13 Rank 1 Rank 7
Geronimo Allison GBP 7.24 WR86 12% 4.46 Rank 75 Rank 85 Rank 52 Rank 84
Jimmy Graham GBP 8.73 TE15 15% 5.39 Rank 11 Rank 16 Rank 10 Rank 11

MIN 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 28/RB Rank 23/WR Rank 31/TE Rank 25

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share: Jones 59%, Williams 41%
Rushing Attempts: Jones 13, Williams 5
Targets: Jones 1, Williams 2

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
YAC: Jones 24, Williams 5
Minnesota’s Run DVOA in 2018: 11th

It was a very disappointing opener for Aaron Jones. For the longest time, DFS players have blamed Mike McCarthy for Jones not getting a large workload. This was expected to be his breakout year, but we saw more of the same under new head coach Matt LaFleur. Jones only played 59% of the snaps and only saw 13 rush attempts. While it was a tough matchup against the Bears, he could only rack up a grand total of 39 yards from scrimmage.

While I’m not giving up on Jones just yet, it’s a big concern that Jamaal Williams played 41% of the snaps despite doing next to nothing while on the field. The Vikings were ranked 11th in DVOA against the run last season and have allowed the 10th-fewest fantasy points to running backs since the start of 2018. We can’t afford to miss on our running back selections in a slate this size, which puts Jones in the mix for a deep tournament flier at best.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snaps: Adams 97%, Valdes-Scantling 66%, Allison 50%, Davis 30%, Graham 55%, Lewis 53%
Target Share: Adams 27%, Valdes-Scantling 20%, Allison 0%, Davis 3%, Graham 17%, Lewis 10%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Minnesota’s Pass DVOA in 2018: 5th
Minnesota’s DVOA vs. TE in 2018: 30th

The Packers have the preferred passing offense to target in this game, but that’s not saying much given the low-volume passing attack for the Vikings. Aaron Rodgers has struggled in this matchup in the past, which isn’t a huge surprise given how good the Vikings’ defense is. In 2018, they were ranked fifth in DVOA against the pass and they allowed the fifth fewest schedule-adjusted fantasy points to quarterbacks. While Rodgers is still a very good quarterback, he’s no longer a top five fantasy option each and every week.

Many were high on Geronimo Allison entering the season, but he didn’t see a single target against the Bears. We are only dealing with a one-game sample size, but that’s a big concern for the number three wideout in this offense. Marquez Valdes-Scantling played more snaps and saw a much higher target share (20%). He parlayed his six targets into four catches for 52 yards. Jimmy Graham caught a jump ball thrown his way against the Bears, but only played 55% of the snaps and will likely be a touchdown or bust option moving forward. I will note that the Vikings have struggled to defend tight ends in each of the last two seasons.

The bulk of the targets will continue to flow through Davante Adams. Even though he was getting triple-teamed at times by Chicago, Rodgers still threw his way eight times last week. We know he’s one of the best at making contested catches and Rodgers trusts him enough to throw his way even when he’s not open. The main concern in my eyes is a matchup against Xavier Rhodes. After a down 2018 season, Rhodes said he needed to step up his play and that’s exactly what he did against Julio Jones in Week 1. He covered Julio on 70% of his routes and didn’t allow him to get a single reception in his coverage.

Team Quick Summary: In short, I’m not looking to force any Packers’ players into my lineups this week. They don’t appear to be in any hurry on the offensive side of the ball and should have a nice mix of run and pass plays this season. Rodgers feels a bit overpriced against the Vikings, Jones is a stay-away until he sees a larger workload, Adams draws a tough cornerback matchup against Rhodes, and the rest of the wideouts will be inconsistent on a week-to-week basis.

Minnesota Vikings Projections Breakdown

Team Projections

QB Team Proj Rank ProjAtt ProjYds Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Kirk Cousins MIN 17.45 QB19 34.72 258.98 Rank 17 Rank 4 Rank 15 Rank 4
RB Team Proj Rank ProjRu% ProjTar% Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FDFT
Dalvin Cook MIN 17.9 RB5 64% 13% Rank 6 Rank 14 Rank 35 Rank 7
Alexander Mattison MIN 7.18 RB52 27% 5% Rank 45 Rank 45 Rank 34 Rank 30
WR/TE Team Proj Rank ProjTar% ProjTar Pts/$ FD Pts/$ DK Pts/$ Y Pts/$ FD
Adam Thielen MIN 16.38 WR11 27% 9.20 Rank 12 Rank 43 Rank 72 Rank 30
Stefon Diggs MIN 15.31 WR13 24% 8.47 Rank 14 Rank 30 Rank 43 Rank 38
Chad Beebe MIN 6.09 WR94 12% 4.10 Rank 81 Rank 75 Rank 69 Rank 68
Kyle Rudolph MIN 7.96 TE20 13% 4.51 Rank 9 Rank 11 Rank 24 Rank 6
Irv Smith MIN 2.57 TE48 5% 1.56 Rank 40 Rank 40 Rank 41 Rank 41

GBP 18-19 Fpts Allowed: QB Rank 16/RB Rank 18/WR Rank 4/TE Rank 20

Rushing Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snap Share: Cook 68%, Mattison 23%
Rushing Attempts: Cook 21, Mattison 9
Targets: Cook 2, Mattison 0

Rushing Efficiency Metrics of Note:
YAC: Cook 68, Mattison 21
Green Bay’s Run DVOA in 2018: 23rd

The hype train on Dalvin Cook gained so much momentum in the preseason that it nearly came off the rails. He was essentially an auto-play in cash games last week and he didn’t disappoint. He looked explosive against the Falcons and parlayed 23 touches into 120 yards and two touchdowns. He finished the game with 68 yards after contact, which was second only to Marlon Mack for the week. Cook played 68% of the snaps, but sat for a large portion of the fourth quarter with the game out of hand. He should be treated as a three-down, workhorse back moving forward.

The Packers made big improvements in their secondary and should be better against the run this season. With that said, they were ranked 23rd in DVOA against the run in 2018. Cook should be involved in the passing game (assuming they throw the ball more than 10 times) and he’s going to get nearly all of the goal line work. As I always say, volume trumps matchup in NFL DFS, especially at the running back position. He doesn’t quite grade out as well as some of the other running backs priced around him, but that should lead to lower ownership, which is always a plus in tournaments.

Passing Game Opportunity Metrics of Note:
Snaps: Thielen 89%, Diggs 60%, Beebe 26%, Rudolph 100%, Smith 49%
Target Share: Thielen 30%, Diggs 20%, Beebe 10%, Rudolph 10%, Smith 0%

Passing Game Efficiency Metrics of Note:
Green Bay’s Pass DVOA in 2018: 28th
Green Bay’s DVOA vs. TE in 2018: 27th

As I mentioned in the introduction, the Vikings threw the ball 10 times against the Falcons. Not in the first quarter, not in the first half, but over the course of the entire game. Yes, they were playing with a lead and they were having success on the ground, but that number is seriously concerning for this passing offense moving forward. The Vikings were first in rush percentage in Week 1 and will likely end up in the top five all season, especially if their defense is as good as it looked a week ago. I mention all of this as a roundabout way to say avoid Kirk Cousins.

The fact that the Vikings want to run the ball is bad for the pass catchers in this offense, as is the fact that the Packers are much improved on the defensive end of the ball. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are both receivers capable of big games, but I’m not sure the passing volume will be there. Even with target share projections of 27% and 24%, respectively, that’s not a lot of targets when Cousins isn’t expect to throw more than 25-30 passes and that’s being fairly generous. Kyle Rudolph played 100% of the snaps in Week 1, but only saw a single target. If you are looking to punt the tight end position, I would rather lean on Darren Waller or T.J. Hockenson.

Team Quick Summary: The Vikings are underdogs on the road against the Packers, they have one of the lowest implied totals of the slate, and they didn’t show much in Week 1 outside of a big performance from Cook. These NFC North divisional games are typically close and low scoring, which doesn’t bode well for the fantasy appeal of the individual players. Cook is my favorite play from this game and he’s a secondary option compared to the other running backs available for this slate.

DFS Recommendations

Optimal DFS Plays: None

Leverage Plays: Dalvin Cook, Davante Adams

Secondary Plays: Adam Thielen

About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

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