Game Overview ::
By hilow >>
- Two run-funnel defenses; one balanced offense (MIN) and one pass-heavy offense (LAC).
- Highly concentrated offenses on both sides.
- Wide range of potential outcomes when it comes to game environment here.
- This leads me to a “correlated pairings, game stack, or bust (fade)” situation, as this game could play to anything from a slugfest to an all-out shootout.
- Both offenses land in the 62-65% red zone touchdown rate range, while both defenses fall in the 62-68% red zone touchdown rate allowed range.
- Both teams rank top 12 in the league in turnover margin, primarily due to the fact that both offenses simply don’t turn the ball over (Kirk Cousins has thrown only two interceptions, Justin Herbert has thrown six but has four games of zero turnovers, while the Chargers defense has forced only 10 turnovers and the Vikings defense has forced only 11).
How minnesota Will Try To Win ::
The Vikings land right in the middle of the league in situation-neutral rush/pass rates and situation-neutral pace of play but carry the second-fastest pace of play when trailing by seven or more points and the sixth fastest overall pace of play. The latter two stats there help to explain why we rarely see the Vikings blow teams out or get blown out themselves, as it highlights the overall identity of this coaching staff and team. Although they would like to remain balanced, they are willing and able to open up the offense if required later in games. They are also largely unwilling to push the envelope if controlling a game. So, what does this all mean to us as DFS players? It means the Vikings harbor game environments that are both useful and bankable! It also means that the Vikings can generate game environments that harbor upside in places we wouldn’t typically think it should come from, as evidenced by their 34-28 win over the Panthers three games ago and their 31-34 loss to the Ravens last week. It also helps to explain why and how the Vikings have been involved in three overtime games over their first eight contests and how games involving the Vikings have an average margin of victory of just 4.375 points (seven of eight games decided by seven points or less and a remarkable five of eight games decided by four points or less), which is pretty crazy to think about.
The balance from this offense comes from their dedication to workhorse running back Dalvin Cook, who has seen at least 71% of the offensive snaps in every healthy game this season. Although not earth-shattering, his typical two to three targets boosts his floor enough for us to regard him as one of the true workhorse running backs remaining in today’s game. Furthermore, Dalvin has seen a minimum of 20 running back opportunities in every healthy game this year, with a max of 31 (which came in one of the three overtime games this Vikings team has played in). That said, the likeliest scenario keeps Dalvin in the 20-22 running back opportunity range when we consider the lack of aggression shown by the Vikings from a “put them away” perspective. The matchup is a good one against an extreme run-funnel Chargers defense, yielding an average 4.315 net-adjusted line yards metric, boosted by the Chargers 29th-ranked standing and held down by the Vikings 28th-ranked standing. Consider Dalvin a rock-solid floor commodity that would need touchdown variance to swing in his favor for ceiling (considering his relative lack of touch ceiling and poor run-blocking grade from the Minnesota offensive line; only two rushing scores on the year). Expect Alexander Mattison to continue his low-to-moderate backup duties behind Cook.
The volume for Kirk Cousins and this passing offense depends heavily on game script, but, as we discussed earlier, the Vikings are more than capable and more than willing to turn things loose should they fall behind substantially. Furthermore, their pass-catching corps is highly concentrated amongst Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, tight end Tyler Conklin, and second-year wide receiver KJ Osborn. In fact, behind Osborn, no skill position player on the Vikings has played over a modest 100 offensive snaps (backup tight end Chris Herndon checks in fifth on the team at 98 snaps). The matchup is difficult on paper against the prevent defense of the Chargers, but we saw what happened last week as the secondary struggled through injuries (Devonta Smith went for 5/116/1 on only 17 Jalen Hurts pass attempts). Currently, all of safety Nasir Adderley, cornerback Michael Davis, and cornerback Ryan Smith have yet to practice, while cornerback Asante Samuel, Jr. returned to a full practice following his concussion. Since the pass offense is so concentrated for the Vikings, but we can’t project them for an overwhelming amount of volume in a standard week, the best way to utilize pieces from this side is through correlated pairings or as part of game stacks.
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How los angeles Will Try To Win ::
We’ve seen a macro shift from this offense from early in the year to the previous four to five games, and we’ve seen sporadic game planning and in-game management from offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi, leaving us with a rather wide range of potential outcomes when it comes to “how the Chargers will try to win.” What we do know is this: elevated pass rates and a fast pace of play are really the name of the game for the Chargers this year. We also know their defense is built from the outside in and back-to-front, meaning they invite production from opposing run games and over the short middle of the field. That last bit, the part about being able to mostly eliminate splash plays against, took a recent hit with the multitude of injuries sustained by members of their secondary, so keep an eye on their level of health heading into the weekend.
Running back Austin Ekeler has seen a 58% snap rate or more in every game this season, with half of his games landing at 67% or higher. As such, Ekeler should be considered a touch below a bellcow, with a heavy pass game involvement. This is not news to us or the field, nor should it be a surprise to see his salary all the way up at $7,600. But what we need to understand from Ekeler is that he is rarely going to see enough volume to surpass the rushing bonus (he has hit 100 yards in only one game this season and has not yet surpassed 17 carries in a game), meaning he is highly reliant on both touchdowns and pass game usage for his fantasy utility. The matchup on the ground yields a borderline elite 4.6 net-adjusted line yards metric against the worst-graded run-stopping defense in the league, boosting the overall range of outcomes for Ekeler. The Chargers rarely operate out of 21-personnel, so the pickings are slim behind Ekeler. Expect some combination of Joshua Kelley, Larry Rountree III, and Justin Jackson, if healthy, to work in for change of pace duties.
The passing game has been somewhat of a moving target for the Chargers this season, who started off with Mike Williams in a prototypical “X” wide receiver role but have since shifted him back to primarily a deep threat. Austin Ekeler’s pass game involvement has also been all over the place, with a standard range of outcomes of five to nine looks but one game of zero targets (Week 1), one game of three targets (last week), and one game of 10 targets (Week 8). There is nothing in the game environments or underlying metrics that hints at a rationale behind the wide range of usage. Finally, Keenan Allen has scored double-digit fantasy points in every game played this season but has gone for more than 20 fantasy points just twice (Week 1 and last week – both 13 target games), with a season-high of 25.4 fantasy points. The matchup sets up best for Ekeler and Mike Williams (in his shifted role), but volume speaks, and there is the very real possibility it is Keenan that soaks up the volume in certain game environments. Finally, the tight end position gets ever murkier on this team with the seemingly out of nowhere Week 9 snap rate from Stephen Anderson, who joined Jared Cook and Donald Par-Ham (per his Twitter) in a near-even, three-way split in snaps.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Considering all the pieces here, we’re likeliest to see a closely contested battle between two teams that have largely underperformed from a wins-losses perspective. The fact that each defense falls in the middle of the pack in red zone touchdown rate allowed, each offense falls in the middle of the pack in red zone touchdown rate, each defense has struggled to generate turnovers, and each offense doesn’t give the ball away at a high rate, we’re likely to see a game where points are able to pile up (Vegas agrees, with a current game total of 53.0). The Chargers also like to push the pace on offense, checking in with the league’s fourth-highest situation-neutral pace of play and third-highest overall pace of play.
We know the Chargers will be passing, and we know the Vikings will turn to the pass if needed, creating a situation where game stacks and correlated pairings of pieces from each passing offense create a high upside, high leverage situation.
If the Vikings are able to run their balanced offense deeper into the game (which would come in the form of a slugfest, where the Chargers are limited to field goals or aren’t able to sustain drives through variant acts, like turnovers, special team errors, or untimely drops), this game could also turn into a slugfest, as the Vikings aren’t likely to push the envelope unless forced to do so. This would create a game environment best suited to Dalvin Cook and Keenan Allen, as we saw with the Chargers last week.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Alex88 >>
- Second highest total on the week at 53
- LAC’s implied total of 28 ranks fifth
- MIN and LAC are tied for fourth in numberFire’s adjusted seconds per play (28.5)
- LAC ranks sixth in numberFire’s adjusted pass rate (64.5%)
- MIN ranks fifteenth in adjusted pass rate (59.2%)
- MIN has scored 30+ pts in half of their games, with a record of 2-2
- The UNDER is 5-3 in LAC’s games
- LAC is 4-0 in games they’ve scored 25+ pts
- Ranks fourth in PFF passing grade
- 7.1 YPA is tied for 22nd and 7.1 ADoT is tied for 33rd
- Averages 26 completions on 38 attempts for 268 yds, 2 TDs, and 0.3 INTs
- DK log: 25.04 // 25.26 // 28.12 // 11.12 // 14.4 // 31.52 // 13.16 // 21.58
- His 21.3 DK ppg ranks 10th
- LAC ranks third in DK ppg allowed to QBs (16.4)
- Only two opposing QBs have scored 17+ DK pts against LAC: Patrick Mahomes 24.9 // Baker Mayfield 26
MIN Passing Attack
- Snap share: Adam Thielen 95.9% // Justin Jefferson 86.1% // Tyler Conklin 79.4% // KJ Osborn 60.7%
- Target share: Jefferson 22.4% // Thielen 21.7% // Conklin 14.5% // Osborn 13.2%
- Among all WRs, Jefferson ranks 16th in air yards, 18th in target share, 11th in air yard market share, and 13th in WOPR (per Koalaty Stats)
- DK log: 12.54 // 18.5 // 29.8 // 20.4 // 22.4 // 15 // 4.1 // 17
- His 17.5 DK ppg ranks 14th
- Thielen ranks 22nd in target share overall, but sixth in red zone target share overall
- His 6 red zone TDs rank third
- DK log: 30.2 // 15.9 // 17 // 7.6 // 6 // 32.8 // 19.8 // 8.6
- His 17.2 DK ppg ranks tied for 16th
- Osborn has three double digit performances: 14.6 // 20.1 // 19.8
- And five single digit performances: 4.6 // 6.6 // 4.4 // 3 // 3
- LAC ranks fourth in DK ppg allowed to WRs (31)
- Devonta Smith’s 25.6 DK pts last week against LAC are the only GPP winning score they’ve allowed
- Among all TEs, Conklin ranks ninth in rec yds, 16th in air yards, 13th in target share, 16th in air yard market share, and 16th in WOPR
- DK log: 8.1 // 3.5 // 20 // 5.8 // 4.5 // 10.1 // 10.7 // 9.5
- LAC ranks 24th in DK ppg allowed to TEs (16.3)
- Among all RBs, Cook ranks third in rush share, seventh in goal line share, 15th in target share, and fifth in RBOPR
- DK log: 21.4 // 19.8 // 6.4 // 25.3 // 7.8 // 18.2
- LAC ranks 25th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (28)
- Noteworthy opposing RB scores: CEH 20.9 // Kareem Hunt 25.9 // Tony Pollard 26 // Nick Chubb 27
- Ranks tied for sixth in PFF passing grade
- 7.4 YPA ranks tied for 14th and 7.7 ADoT ranks tied for 27th
- In 2020 as a rookie, Herbert averaged 26 completions on 40 attempts for 289 yds, 2.1 TDs, and 0.7 INTs
- In 2021, he’s averaging 26 completions on 40 attempts for 294 yds, 2.3 TDs, and 0.8 INTs
- DK log: 18.38 // 19.72 // 30.84 // 21.28 // 45.82 // 12 // 15.82 // 34.64
- His 24.8 DK ppg ranks fourth
- MIN ranks 20th in DK ppg allowed to QBs (20.7)
LAC Passing Attack
- Snap share: Keenan Allen 89.2% // Mike Williams 75.2% // Jalen Guyton 59.5% // Jared Cook 58.2% // Donald Parham 47.7%
- Target share: Allen 25.6% // Williams 20.6% // Cook 13.1% // Guyton 6.9% // Parham 3.8%
- Among all WRs, Allen ranks fifth in total targets, 12th in rec yds, 24th in air yards, ninth in target share, and 18th in WOPR
- DK log: 22 // 17.8 // 19 // 10.6 // 13.5 // 10 // 19.7 // 25.4
- His 17.2 DK ppg ranks tied for 16th
- He’s tied for fourth in red zone target share among WRs
- Williams ranks 15th in air yards, 21st in air yard market share, and 25th in WOPR
- Williams started the year with three straight GPP winning scores: 22.2 // 22.1 // 36.2
- In Week 5, he put up 39.5 DK pts
- In all other weeks, he has yet to hit 8 pts: 2.1 // 4.7 // 3.9 // 7.8
- His 18.5 DK ppg ranks tied for 9th
- No other LAC WR has hit double digit DK pts
- MIN ranks 30th in DK ppg allowed to WRs (44.7)
- Six opposing WRs have put up 20+ DK pts: CeeDee Lamb 20.2 // Marquise Brown 23.6 // Ja’Marr Chase 23.9 // DK Metcalf 25.7 // Rondale Moore 27.4 // Amari Cooper 29.2
- Cook and Parham have combined for six double digit efforts, 4-2 in Cook’s favor
- Cook’s log: 10.6 // 5.8 // 4.7 // 19 // 3.9 // 12.5 // 4.5 // 10.8
- Parham’s log: 0 // 0 // 2.9 // 9.7 // 12.9 // 3 // 0 // 12.9
- MIN ranks sixth in DK ppg allowed to TEs (9.2)
- Notable opposing TE scores: Mark Andrews 9.4 // Gerald Everett 10.4 // Maxx Williams 16.4
- Among all RBs, ranks ninth in total goal line rushes, sixth in target share, sixth in WOPR, and ninth in RBOPR
- Ekeler’s 3.2 red zone rushes per game ranks sixth and his 3.9 red zone touches per game ranks seventh
- DK log: 11.7 // 22.5 // 22.7 // 32.5 // 33.9 // 9.5 // 24.4 // 11.2
- His 21.1 DK ppg ranks third
- MIN ranks 18th in DK ppg allowed to RBs (25.6)
- There have only been two GPP winning RB scores against MIN: D’Andre Swift 22.4 // Joe Mixon 28