Game Overview ::
By Hilow >>
- Dalvin Cook’s game day status has a massive influence on how we should expect the field to view this slate (one lacking any clear “value”)
- Two offenses that excel in the splash play arena; opportunity for fireworks here
- Both teams reside in the bottom half of the league in situation-neutral pace of play; don’t expect additional offensive plays run from scrimmage
- Each team relies on efficiency from the offense
How Seattle Will Try To Win ::
We know the drill by now with this Pete Carroll-led Seahawks team. Elevated rush rates (eighth highest situation-neutral rush rate), deep passing (Russell Wilson leads the league in intended air yards per pass attempt, of qualified quarterbacks), above average secondary, and slow pace of play (22nd-ranked situation-neutral pace of play) are the name of the game here. One of the most telling statistical splits from this offense is the delta between points per drive and drive success rate, with the Seahawks ranking eighth in the league in points per drive at 2.64 but all the way down at 23rd in the league in drive success rate at 71.4%, further indication of just how much the Seahawks rely on splash plays on offense.
The run game filters primarily through Chris Carson, who can typically be relied upon for 65-75% of the offensive snaps. Travis Homer has emerged as the change of pace back with the injury to Rashaad Penny, but that role translated to a measly two running back opportunities in Week 2. The matchup on the ground yields an above average 4.74 net-adjusted line yards metric which should serve to boost the expected drive success rate of this Seahawks offense.
DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett combine for a massive 61.6% of the total targets through two games. The difference in their early season successes comes down to catch rate and average depth of target. Tyler Lockett has caught 75% of the passes thrown his way and holds an unsustainable 16.7 average depth of target, while DK Metcalf holds a below average 62.5% catch rate and moderate 10.5 aDOT. There is nothing in the data or film that indicates a clear causal factor that explains why Lockett has enjoyed such success and Metcalf has not. Chalk it up to small sample variance. When that is the case, it presents a very clear opportunity for leveraging recency bias, which we will get into below. The big picture is that both Metcalf and Lockett are extremely large parts of this pass offense (both have seen 30.8% target market shares).
How Minnesota Will Try To Win ::
The Vikings are doing a much better job of remaining balanced through play calling so far this year, with a 55% situation-neutral pass rate on first and second down and a 63% rate overall. They are also mixing their personnel alignments a good deal more than a year ago when they rarely played from 11-personnel. The issue to start the season is with Mike Zimmer’s defense. The Vikings have allowed the fifth highest yards per pass attempt, worst completion rate (hard to be bad at both), mediocre yards per rush attempt, and over 30 points per game to start the year. That said, they’ve scored a combined 57 points on offense, have lost both games by a combined four points, and rank top ten in drive success rate allowed on defense. We should continue viewing the Vikings as a team that harbors plus game environments until they can limit the splash plays against.
Workhorse running back Dalvin Cook has yet to practice this week with an ankle injury (as of Thursday evening), placing him in jeopardy of missing Week 3’s game against the Seahawks. Keep an eye on his level of participation on Friday as we head into the weekend. Dalvin is such a large part of this offense, with running back opportunity totals of 27 and 25 to start the year. Behind Dalvin, Alexander Mattison operates as one of the true handcuff running backs in the league, capable of stepping into a semi-workhorse role in games Dalvin misses. The big picture here is that Dalvin’s game day status has a large influence to not only this game, but the makeup of the slate overall. The matchup on the ground yields a slightly above average 4.24 net-adjusted line yards metric and the Seahawks are fresh off a game where they allowed Derrick Henry to break the slate. Again, Dalvin’s involvement, or lack thereof, has a massive influence on the state of this slate overall.
The loss of tight end Irv Smith has fundamentally altered the state of the Vikings offense to start the season, particularly in the pass game. The Vikings have doubled their three wide receiver set rates from 2020 over the first two games, playing from 11-personnel at a 53% clip and 20-personnel (two running back, no tight ends) at an additional 12% clip. This is big news for a team that was highly concentrated in 2020, supporting all of Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen. The emergence of KJ Osborn (12 catches for 167 yards and one score thus far) has altered the offensive alignments of fellow wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen as Osborn has played a whopping 77% of his offensive snaps from the slot. His snap rate did take a hit in Week 2, down to 59% from a Week 1 rate of 81%. It is likely that rate jumps once more should Dalvin Cook miss in Week 3. The tight end stable of Tyler Conklin and Chris Herndon has seen a combined eight targets through two games, so while the offense is supporting an additional wide receiver, it is doing so at the expense of the tight end position as opposed to the top two wide receivers (this is extremely important when analyzing this offense).
Likeliest Game Flow ::
This game has all the makings of a back-and-forth, shootout type of game. Whether or not that transpires largely relies on the level of success each team achieves with splash plays, but the chances of each respective defense suppressing that area over the course of a full game remain fairly low. Since both teams operate slow offenses, it is highly likely the game itself starts comparatively slow, with each team dialing up increased aggression as the game moves on.
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By LexMiraglia10 >>
- Wilson & Carroll are 5-0 vs Zimmer’s Vikings, with this being the 4th straight year the teams will face
- Scores since 2018: 21-7 // 37-30 // 27-26
- For the second straight week, solid MIN defense overall (2 INT, 3 Sacks, 4 Punts) was hurt by big breakdowns on a few TD drives
- 3 of ARI’s 4 TDs came due to Kyler’s unique ability with his legs, extending plays that wouldn’t be there for 99% of QBs
- While Kyler Murray is one of the only guys who could make certain plays that MIN allowed in W2, Wilson is probably one of the others
- Wilson has rushed for 50+ yds in 3 of the 5 matchups vs Zimmer
- Wilson’s pass yd totals vs Zimmer: 274 // 142 // 72 // 240 // 217 // (9:4 TD:INT ratio)
- The good: Russ is averaging 298.5 yds, 3 TD in his first two games with Waldron
- The not as good: Russ has thrown just 23 & 31 times in the first two games
- In just two games, Russ is already 6/11 for 304 yds, 4 TD on 20+ yd passes
- MIN has allowed the 5th fewest completed air yds through two weeks after facing Burrow & Cousins, but has been beat for deep TDs to Chase & Rondale Moore
- Before ranking 14th in QB DK pts allowed with 20/g in 2020, Zimmer’s MIN defenses have ranked: 9th (16.3) // 3rd (15.2) // 3rd (13.1) // 5th (16.2) // 10th (17.4) // 9th (16.8)
- Lockett & Metcalf finished with 132 & 129 targets in 2020
- Lockett & Metcalf each have 5 & 11 targets in the first two weeks
- Lockett has turned 16 targets into 278 yds, 3 TD
- Metcalf has turned 16 targets into 113 yds, 1 TD
- Avg Intended Air Yds: Lockett (17.6) // Metcalf (10.8)
- Eight of Metcalf’s 10 rec have come on targets short of 10 yds
- Lockett has 6 rec each short of 10 yds & beyond 10 yds
- WRs vs MIN: Chase (5:101:1), Higgins (4:58:1) // Hopkins (4:54:1), Moore (7:114:1), Green (3:44:1)
- 50 of Chase’s 101 came on deep TD // 77 of Moore’s 114 came on broken play TD created by Kyler
- Metcalf has 2:45:1 on passes over 10 yds in 2021 // 37:923:10 in 2020
- Lockett has 6:227:3 on pases over 10 yds in 2021 // 30:563:6 in 2020
- Swain’s routes jumped from 13 of 28 dropbacks in W1, to 30 of 37 dropbacks in W2 (due to Eskridge being out)
- Carson received 19 of 22 RB touches in W1, and 13 of 17 RB touches in W2
- Carson didn’t top 17 rush att in 2020 after 8 games of 20+ att in 2019
- So far in two games in which SEA has held big leads, Carson has still just rushed 16 & 13 times
- MIN ranks 3rd worst in defensive rush DVOA through two games (though Kyler’s 5:31:1 is likely impacting this)
- Only five teams have allowed more RB rush yds than MIN so far
- Carson has scored 20+ DK pts in 4/9 games as a road favorite, scoring in those games 29.8, 21.5, 29.7, 25 DK pts
- Carson’s four games as road favorite in 2020, in which he received less rush att/g than in 2019, produced DK scores of: 25 // 5.1 // 13.9 // 8.9
- Final game totals of Cousins 25+ pt DK scores with MIN: 2021 (51, 67) // 2020 (51, 59, 63, 55, 72) // 2019 (50, 58, 72) // 2018 (50, 41, 69, 58)
- 13/14 games came in 50+ pt finishes, with 8/14 over 58 pts
- SEA allowed the 6th most QB DK pts in 2020
- SEA has allowed 299 pass yds on 39 att/g to Wentz & Tannehill through two weeks
- MIN Cousins vs SEA: 208:1 // 276:2:1 // 249:2:1
- 2020: SEA allowed the most WR rec, 2nd most WR rec yds, 4th most WR DK pts
- 2021 WRs vs SEA: Pascal (4:43:2), Pittman (3:29) // Julio (6:128), Brown (3:43)
- MIN WRs in three Cousins games vs SEA: Thielen (5:70 // – // 9:80:2) /// Diggs (4:76 // 4:25) /// Jefferson (3:23)
- Jefferson out-targeted Thielen in 7 of the last 8 games in 2020
- Thielen led 10 to 9 in W1 // Jefferson led 10 to 7 in W2
- Jefferson has 70+ yds in 8 of his last 10 games
- Thielen has caught at least one TD in 12/18 games since last year
- The only games in which BOTH guys have failed to produce since last year: 11-28 L vs IND // 28-22 W vs GB (Dalvin w/ 51.6 DK pts) // 34-20 W vs DET (Dalvin w/ 42.2 DK pts) // 14-26 L vs TB
- Osborn has run a route on 47 of 52 dropbacks W1 and 24 of 35 dropbacks in W2
- He’s finished with 7 & 5 targets in those games
- SEA has allowed the 2nd most rush yds in the NFL behind 182 from Henry
- Dalvin has the 4th most rush yds in NFL behind Henry, Mixon, & Lamar
- SEA has allowed the most RB rec yds by a wide margin, with Taylor, Hines, & Henry combining for 18 rec (6 each) 163 yds just between the three of them
- Dalvin has 8 rec for 60 yds to start 2021, and had 5 rec in the first half vs SEA before leaving with injury in 2020
- Dalvin has scored at least one TD in 24 of his 32 games since 2019; seven 2+ TD games in that span
- As an underdog since 2019 (13 g), Dalvin has five games of 30+ DK pts & six games under 20 DK pts
- Dalvin scored 29.9 DK pts in his only career game as a home dog (TEN in 2020) // MIN lost that game 30-31 with Dalvin & Jefferson each surpassing 175 yds
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