Sunday Night Football: New Orleans Saints (5-1) at Minnesota Vikings (4-2-1)
What to Watch For:
Sunday night has been on a roll with excellent games the past few weeks. Once again, we have the best game of the week and it features two of the game’s best quarterbacks; Minnesota’s new, expensive toy Kirk Cousins and the NFL’s newest 500-touchdown club member and the all-time leading passer, Drew Brees. This game will be a must watch and will most likely come down to who has the ball last.
The Vikings got off to a sluggish start to begin the season, but have managed to get things going of late. Cousins has developed an unstoppable connection with Adam Thielen; a connection that may have propelled Thielen to be the best receiver in the league. Dalvin Cook will not be playing, most likely out until Week 11 at the earliest, but Latavius Murray has filled in excellently in his absence. The defense hasn’t quite lived up to the bar they set in 2017, but Everson Griffen is nearing a return which will provide a serious boost to the pass rush.
New Orleans has been rolling, winners of 5 straight games, and picked up a new toy on defense earlier in the week. Former first round pick Eli Apple has come over from the Giants in exchange for a 2019 4th round pick and a 2020 7th round pick. He should provide help to a secondary that has struggled this year, ranked last in the NFL allowing 35.5 fantasy points to opposing wide receiver groups. Apple will pair up with 2017 Defensive Rookie of the Year Marshon Lattimore in attempt to slow down opposing receivers and make the Saints a very dangerous team down the stretch and in the playoffs.
Prediction: Saints win 34-31.
WR Stefon Diggs
As mentioned before, the Saints are worst in the NFL in fantasy points allowed to wide receiver groups, and it’s uncertain how much newly acquired CB Eli Apple will play, if at all. Based on this, it’s natural to say Adam Thielen will have a big game, and I think he will, but that’s too easy. So I’m going to pick Stefon Diggs who doesn’t get the volume of Thielen but he’s certainly just as, if not more, capable of getting over the top for a big play or two. I expect Kirk Cousins to try to take advantage of this struggling secondary and find Diggs on a deep touchdown tonight.
TE Benjamin Watson
When it comes to fantasy, the Vikings’ defense has been middle-of-the-pack or better against every position, except tight end. They are 26th in the NFL, allowing 9.8 fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Fresh off a week where he posted a season-high 6 catches and his first touchdown, I expect Watson to have another big game. With guys like Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara to account for, it’s easy for a defense to ‘forget’ about Watson and let him find openings in the secondary.
RB Mark Ingram
There’s generally not a lot of holes to run through when playing against this Vikings’ front. That’s apparent when they’re ranked 9th in the league allowing just 14.9 fantasy points to opposing running backs. I believe the majority of those points will be allocated for Alvin Kamara. Ingram, as the early down runner, won’t get as much action against Minnesota due to their ability to stop the run. Kamara will have his opportunities as a receiving threat, but that will leave Ingram on the sideline for much of the night.
TE Kyle Rudolph
Rudolph has been receiving less and less targets each week as the season goes on. This week won’t be any different. The Saints have really struggled against opposing receivers, particularly ones with deep threat abilities and that favors guys like Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. New Orleans also boasts one of the best defenses against opposing tight ends allowing just 4.9 fantasy points per game, ranking them 5th in the NFL.