Game Overview ::
By HILOW >>
- The Packers are in a mid-season hurt locker as far as injuries go to the offense. All of David Bakhtiari, Aaron Jones (duh), Allen Lazard, Aaron Rodgers, and Malik Taylor have yet to practice as of Thursday.
- The Vikings rank tied for first in giveaways per game, while the Packers rank tied for fifth; neither offense gives the ball away!
- Both defenses rank 25th or worse in red zone touchdown rate allowed, with the Vikings checking in at 68.00% and the Packers checking in at 73.08%.
- One of the better expected game environments on the slate.
How Green Bay Will Try To Win ::
The Aaron Rodgers “F U” tour continues in Week 10 as the Packers visit the Vikings. Tied for the best record in the league with the Cardinals and Titans, the Packers come into Week 11 with a clear identity. Their prevent-zone defense has rounded into form as the year has progressed, allowing Matt LaFleur and Aaron Rodgers to control games through a methodical and slow-paced offense, designed to wear teams down as the game goes on. Although the Vikings have generated 29 sacks on the season, they have forced only 12 total turnovers over their first nine games and the Packers rank fifth in the league in giveaways. Expect the Packers to largely find success moving the ball in a neutral-on-paper matchup.
Aaron Jones is out. Kylin Hill is out (somehow, the industry isn’t talking about this). Patrick Taylor is the only other running back on the active roster currently, with Ryquell Armstead and Kerrith Whyte currently the only running backs on the practice squad. This. Is. Dillon’s. Backfield. The matchup against the Vikings yields an absolutely elite 4.725 net-adjusted line yards against the team ranked dead last in the NFL in the metric. The Packers’ high marks have also come with a piecemealed offensive line that has seen its fair share of injuries and change this season. Not much else to say with this one, to be honest.
The passing game sees a slew of injuries to regular contributors, as Allen Lazard and Malik Taylor have yet to practice this week. Lazard split the WR2 role with Marquez Valdes-Scantling in the two games without Robert Tonyan, so his absence would be of particular importance considering the necessary shift to heavier 11-personnel alignments seen over the previous two games. Davante Adams remains the alpha and the omega of this pass-catching corps, and would likely be counted on even more should Lazard miss as their route trees and responsibilities overlap a good bit. There are very few players in the NFL that can realistically approach 15-20 targets in a single game (well, other than Najee Harris lolz), and Davante Adams is one of them. The tight end unit has devolved into a three-headed blocking unit made up of veteran Marcedes Lewis, Josiah Deguara, and Tyler Davis. The Vikings do an excellent job of limiting completions against, ranking fourth in the league in completion rate allowed at just 61.56%, but they don’t play Davante Adams every week, and they allow a well below average 10.9 yards per completion on the season.
How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::
The Vikings have proven time and time again that they aim to be a team built around minimizing mistakes, limiting pass production against via a complex zone scheme, and allowing the game to come to them. A massive eight of their nine games so far this season have been decided by seven points or less (the only game that was decided by more than one score was a 30-17 win over the Seahawks). That is absolutely incredible! Kirk Cousins has turned the ball over only three times all season (two picks and one fumble lost), which allows this team to remain in almost every game. Their moderate situation-neutral rush-pass rates indicate a team looking to control the time of possession battle and capitalize on their opponents’ mistakes. Finally, this is one of the more concentrated offenses in the league, with only four regular offensive play-maker contributors (three if you don’t want to count Ty Conklin, which is valid).
This backfield is Dalvin Cook’s, and a good chunk of the offense is designed around his effectiveness. Dalvin averages the third most running back touches per game at 19.8, and we saw his targets tick back up to the levels we’ve grown accustomed to last week (four to six targets is a viable weekly expectation). The matchup on the ground yields a slightly above average 4.385 net-adjusted line yards metric in one of the more run-funnel spots the Vikings will see all year. All of that to say, Dalvin Cook is in a great spot this week. Behind Dalvin, expect Alexander Mattison to be used sparingly in a change of pace role.
The passing game runs primarily through two bodies in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, both of whom play almost every offensive snap each week. KJ Osborn typically resides in the 50-60% snap rate range, with the pass-catching corps rounded out by near every-down tight end Ty Conklin. That’s it, and that’s the beauty of this offense. Justin Jefferson’s above-average 11.6 aDOT and above-average 69.6% catch rate come together to highlight one of the league’s top up and coming young wide receivers. What is sure to be missed by the field are the 15 red zone targets Jefferson has seen this season, which ranks ninth in the league amongst all pass-catchers (four more than his teammate, Adam Thielen). Thielen’s shorter area role (9.5 aDOT) typically requires additional volume and multiple trips to the end zone to reach a GPP-worthy score, but he remains a regular contributor to this offense. KJ Osborn and Ty Conklin have two combined games of more than seven targets (each with one such game) and should be considered “bet on touchdown variance” pieces.
Likeliest Game flow ::
We’re likely to see a closely contested game in the first half, with each team almost unwilling to make offensive mistakes. It almost doesn’t matter which team asserts themselves first here, as each offense’s play-calling tendencies align almost to a T. Situation-neutral pass rates land at 58% and 57% for the Packers and Vikings, respectively. Pass rates with a lead land at 52% for each team. Pass rates when trailing land are at 59% for Green Bay and 67% for Minnesota. Considering the injuries to the offensive pieces of the Packers, the game environment would reach an optimal scenario should the Packers eventually seize control of the game, forcing the Vikings into elevated pass rates, and raising the fantasy goodness from the game overall. This stands as the likeliest scenario, but we’re likely to see a tightly contested contest in this divisional showdown. When you get two teams that are good at the same things and struggle at similar things together, in a divisional matchup nonetheless, we typically find games where there is a wide range of outcomes as far as actual game flow goes. That said, and bringing this thought full circle, it almost doesn’t matter here as either team is highly unlikely to jump out to a multi-score lead at any point, creating a game environment where each team can continue to run their desired game plan (and making it much more predictable as far as volume and range of outcomes go!).
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