XANDAMERE’S SHOWDOWN SLANT
Week 12 finishes with the Bears visiting the Vikings for a 44 total game in which Minnesota is favored by three. The big news, of course, is around Justin Jefferson and if he will play. I’m guessing that with the Vikings on bye in Week 13, they will wait and make sure he’s fully recovered, so I’m writing this as if he’s out.
On the Vikings side of things, Alexander Mattison returned the week after a concussion and handled 65% of the snaps compared to 31% for Ty Chandler, with 18 carries and two targets to Chandler’s 10 carries and four targets (pretty close to the split we envisioned for this situation last week). The challenge here is a matchup against a Bears D that is allowing the fewest yards per carry to opposing rushing offenses while being 27th in DVOA against the pass, leading to a 7th-highest in the NFL 61.8% opposing passing play percentage. Teams just aren’t running much against Chicago. At just $7,400, Mattison is priced for the matchup, though. While the ceiling might be tougher to come by, it’s hard to find a back who can get to 20 touches in Showdown at this low salary so I think he’s still in play despite the unfavorable matchup. He kind of just fits into the “fine” category, though, as he hasn’t shown a lot of ceiling this year and now he’s contending with a rushing quarterback who can vulture him in the red zone, which obviously Kirk Cousins was not much of a threat to do. Chandler is overpriced for an RB2 role in a tough matchup but can still be considered as an MME play.
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The Vikings passing game is where we can get excited. The Bears are a truly horrible pass defense, and the Vikings pass catchers have been priced down since their last Showdown, likely because of the possibility of Jefferson returning. Jordan Addison has the WR1 role, and unlike last week when he had to face off against Patrick Surtain, this matchup is much more favorable for him. $8,200 for a WR1 who has gotten into double-digit DK points in all but two games in his rookie season? Sign me up. KJ Osborn fills the WR2 role and is not any sort of special talent. He’s on the field almost every play, but it’s concerning that so far Josh Dobbs has only targeted him four times in two games. We want to bet on guys who are on the field a lot, but we also want to bet on guys who can actually earn targets while they’re on the field. Osborn is a tough one for me to evaluate because everything says he should be a strong on-paper play except that Dobbs has not looked his way at all. Consider him a volatile option, and for me, this will become an ownership-based play. If people flock to him, I’m happy to come in underweight, but if people ignore him, I’ll bet on the playing time winning out. WR3 Brandon Powell is on the field less but has nine targets in Dobbs’ two starts. At $2,000, that’s a value spot I’m willing to invest in (earning targets is a skill!).
Where the real excitement for the Vikings comes, though, is at tight end, because we know that Dobbs targets the tight end position at the highest rate in the NFL. TJ Hockenson has 12, 15, and 7 targets in three games with Dobbs at quarterback. Even backup TE Josh Oliver has six, close to Powell and more than Osborn. If you’re willing to lean hard into some risk, it would be reasonable to play at least 1 Vikings tight end on every roster, and just hope the trend of Dobbs hammering the position continues, but either way, Hockenson is my overall favorite skill-position play in this game. At $9,000, he’s really operating more like an alpha receiver right now but isn’t priced like one. He’s an elite play, while Oliver can be considered more of a reasonable value option than just a pure punt play.