Kickoff Monday, Dec 10th 8:15pm Eastern

Vikings (
21.25) at

Hawks (

Over/Under 45.5


Key Matchups
Vikings Run D
12th DVOA/6th Yards allowed per carry
Seahawks Run O
19th DVOA/20th Yards per carry
Vikings Pass D
10th DVOA/4th Yards allowed per pass
Seahawks Pass O
8th DVOA/12th Yards per pass
Seahawks Run D
23rd DVOA/25th Yards allowed per carry
Vikings Run O
27th DVOA/22nd Yards per carry
Seahawks Pass D
25th DVOA/15th Yards allowed per pass
Vikings Pass O
21st DVOA/17th Yards per pass


Abby says the Seahawks will win this game. (Note: Abby knows nothing about the Seahawks or the Vikings.)

Both of these teams are playoff-caliber squads (for that matter: both of these teams could make a case as the third best unit in the NFC — a conversation that also includes the Bears and the Cowboys; and the playoffs are a crazy enough place that either of these teams could make the Super Bowl if things go just right), but the Vikings still have a shot to fall out of the playoff hunt if they lose this game. A loss in this game for the Vikings will remove their ability to control their own destiny — potentially setting them up to be this year’s version of the 2017 Chargers.

This game sets up as an entertaining one from a real-life perspective, with a pair of well-coached, competitive, closely-matched teams. From a DFS perspective, this game pairs a defense-and-run-first Seahawks team vs a defense-and-pass-first Vikings team. This game opened with a modest Over/Under of 45.5. The Seahawks have been installed as early three-point favorites at home.


No team in the NFL has thrown the ball more frequently than the Vikings, at 67.31% — and even with Dalvin Cook returning for this team in Week 9 (and being healthy enough to play most of the snaps since Week 11), this team continues to lean pass-heavy, with a pass play rate across their last three games of 70.53%. With an offensive line that has failed to open holes in the run game (31st in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards), the Vikings have chosen to focus on a quick-out passing attack that features plenty of Adam Thielen in the slot and Stefon Diggs on wide receiver screens and other short-area looks.

The Seahawks’ pass defense has forced the third shallowest aDOT in the NFL, but they are allowing a 2.4% boost on the league-average catch rate, and they have had a few lapses this year that have led to them ranking bottom four in YAC/R allowed. Add it all up, and this team ranks 25th in yards allowed per pass attempt, creating room for the Vikings’ passing attack to matter.

Seattle has been tough over the short middle, with the best DVOA rating in the NFL in this part of the field, but they have struggled on downfield passes over the middle — and with this team playing far less man coverage than the Patriots played against the Vikings last week, it will be more difficult for them to contain Thielen. Thielen ranks second in the NFL in targets per game, and he has been held under nine targets only two times all season. He has scored in all but three games this year. He has topped 100 yards in all but three games as well.

Barely trailing Thielen in targets per game is Diggs, who ranks fourth in the NFL in this category. Diggs’ usage in this offense leads to some “Jarvis Landry with the Dolphins” games — with lines on his ledger this year of 8-33-0 // 4-33-0 // 3-43-1 // 5-49-0. Of the 17 targets that Diggs has seen across the last two weeks, only five have come more than five yards downfield. Most of the usage Diggs sees in this attack comes at or around the line of scrimmage — though these plays are designed to still create upside, with isolation formations that give him one man to beat for a big gain, or with blockers out in front of him. Diggs also sees added upside on the downfield looks that do come his way. Across the last two weeks, his five targets beyond five yards have come 10 // 10 // 25 // 25 // and 30 yards downfield. He’s a lower-floor play than most double-digit target guys, but against a Seattle defense that has struggled at times in the YAC allowed department, there will be opportunities for him to pop off for one or two long plays.

When two guys on the same team rank in the top five in the NFL in targets per game, this doesn’t leave much behind them. Volume has been further compromised on remaining pieces with Cook seeing recent target counts of 4 // 3 // 3 // 10.

The best bet for useful production behind the wide receivers is Kyle Rudolph, who has averaged only 3.8 catches per game and 38.6 yards per game, with only two touchdowns all year — but who does have five games this year with six or more targets. The Seahawks have been awesome against tight ends, allowing the fourth fewest receptions in the league.

Aldrick Robinson appears to have passed Laquon Treadwell for number three duties, with Lord Aldrick playing 43 snaps last week to Treadwell’s 22. This may have been simply opponent-specific, but Aldrick did see genuinely schemed targets last week — something Treadwell has not been able to claim all year. It’s too early to call this a trend, but it’s at least worth thinking about on the Showdown.


Cook has clearly established himself as the backfield leader for the Vikings, playing 88 snaps across the last two weeks to 40 for Latavius Murray — but this has still not turned into consistent carries, as Cook has yet to top 10 totes since Week 1. Working in Cook’s favor from an “upside” perspective are his big-play ability and his opportunity for occasional spikes in the pass game. Neither of these elements do anything to help his floor, but against a Seahawks team that ranks dead last in the NFL in yards allowed per carry, he will have some opportunities to shine. He’s a low-floor, high-ceiling play on the Showdown.


Whenever a big-name offense begins to go run-heavy, we tend to get a few weeks of push-back — with people bringing up all the reasons why circumstances led to this approach (see: the 2018 Chargers, Texans, Saints, and Seahawks) — but by this point in the season, there are no arguments left, and everyone has to acknowledge that pass-heavy games from these offenses are the outliers, and not the other way around. The Seahawks have led the charge in this department as the only team in the NFL that has run the ball at a higher rate than they have thrown the ball. Russell Wilson has topped 31 pas attempts only once in his last 10 games.

In an effort to create differentiation on the Showdown, you could bet on a game flow scenario in which the Vikings take a big lead and force the Seahawks to take to the air — but from a “likeliest scenario” standpoint, we should expect the Seahawks to lean on the run once more, with efficiency the name of the game through the air.

The matchup is not great for the Seahawks backs, against a Vikings defense that has allowed the fifth fewest yards per carry in the league. Only seven teams have allowed fewer rushing yards to running backs this year.

Betting on this backfield for floor and ceiling have both become difficult in the last few weeks, with Chris Carson seeing recent carry counts of only 17 // 16 // 13, with only six total targets in this stretch. Behind him, Rashaad Penny has gone 8 // 4 // 7 on the ground (with zero targets), and Mike Davis has gone 4 // 4 // 4 (with three targets). The best volume bet is Carson, but he’s a yardage-and-touchdown back in a tough matchup, with an unclear path to 20 touches. In all, the Seahawks have been one of the more difficult teams to bet on in DFS, with most of their yardage coming on the ground, but with most of their touchdowns coming through the air.


Speaking of “the Seahawks’ touchdowns coming through the air” :: Russ has, incredibly, thrown multiple touchdown passes in all but one game this year, and he has thrown three or more touchdowns in six of 12 games. No team in football has thrown fewer passes than Seattle. Only six teams have fewer passing yards. And yet, the Seahawks have the fourth most passing touchdowns in the league. This has made floor a thin bet in this passing attack, with all of these guys relegated to “bet on touchdown” options. Making this spot more challenging for the Seahawks is a Vikings defense that has allowed the fewest passing touchdowns in the league.

Target counts on the Seahawks across the last four weeks have looked like this:

:: Doug Baldwin — 5 // 10 // 7 // 4
:: Tyler Lockett — 6 // 5 // 5 // 2
:: David Moore — 3 // 8 // 5 // 1

With such limited volume in this passing attack, efficiency is a bonus — making Lockett stand out weekly for his 80% catch rate and his nine touchdowns on only 55 targets. Lockett is being given scoring looks from all areas of the field — so while his floor in non-touchdown games is low, his ceiling remains somewhat attractive on the Showdown.

Last week, we noted that Baldwin — while falling almost a yard a half shy of Lockett in xYAC/R, with a route tree that is giving him fewer opportunities for big plays — had failed to connect with Russ on several recent touchdown opportunities, giving him some upside that had not yet shown up in the box score. Baldwin proceeded to score his second touchdown on the year…but he did so while hauling in only two catches for 22 yards.

Moore continues to see a few downfield looks and end zone opportunities, with a 57.9% catch rate on his limited targets, and with three games in his last five of 16 or fewer receiving yards. Moore has contributed a 97-yard game, a 103-yard game, and five touchdowns on the year, giving him solid upside to go with his true-zero floor.

The tight ends continue to operate as afterthoughts in this attack, functioning as mere “bet on outlier” plays.


The best way to bet on the Vikings is to lean on their narrow distribution of offensive touches, where this team has fed top-five target counts to both Thielen and Diggs, and has leaned on Cook as their primary back. Thielen is the safest play of the bunch, while Diggs has shown multiple times this year that he has the ability on his usage to post the highest score on the weekend (while also showing multiple times that he can break your roster at his price). Kirk Cousins has far less per-play upside than Russ on the other side of this game, but he’ll pass enough times to have opportunities to matter. Cook is a low-floor, solid-ceiling play — though he still stands out as one of the better plays on this one-game slate. Rudolph and Lord Aldrick are darts.

On the Seahawks, Russ is the best bet for production, where he will need his awesome touchdown efficiency to win out over the Vikings’ ability to limit passing touchdowns. If betting on other pieces on the Seahawks, your best bet is to try to isolate the players who could score, as usage on this attack has been spread too thin for anyone to be considered a high-floor play. Lockett, Baldwin, Moore, Carson, and even “hope for a big play from Penny” are all viable bets, but all carry obvious risk.

Neither offense is particularly mistake-prone, but the defenses will still have a shot at some splash plays.

The kickers, as always, are in play on the Showdown as well.