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NFL Matchups: Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Football Preview

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This a snippet of Adam Pfeifer’s NFL matchups column, previews the Oakland Raiders vs. Dalvin Cook and the Minnesota Vikings for Fantasy Football Lineups. Fantasy rosters needed protective spray because players were bit hard by the injury bug in Week 2. Multiple starting quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers all suffered injuries this past weekend, with a handful of key offensive linemen also going down. As a result, we missed on plenty in this article, but we hit on plenty, as well. Back on the horse. With that in mind, let’s dig into some NFL matchups and NFL game breakdowns for your Week 3 Fantasy Football Lineups.

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Oakland Raiders @ Minnesota Vikings

Total: 43

MIN -8

Raiders passing game

It is safe to say that Derek Carr underwhelmed last week. After a nice track record of fantasy performances against the Chiefs, Carr failed to reach the 200-yard mark, while throwing one touchdown and a pair of interceptions. He was only fantasy relevant as a streaming option or DFS option last week, mainly because Oakland was so cheap on DK. As the Raiders head into Minnesota this weekend, Carr can be avoided, as the Vikings pass rush can get to him. And Oakland doesn’t have enough play-makers to warrant consideration against better defensive units. I know we are missing two or three starters this weekend, but Carr still shouldn’t be trusted.

Tyrell Williams was chalk last week at just $4,400 on DK. He has now been priced up to $5,600, a tag that makes a lot more sense. Williams has been good through the first two weeks, hauling in 11-of-14 targets for 151 yards and two scores. This week’s matchup is a tough one, as he’ll likely draw shadow coverage from Xavier Rhodes, who had some issues with Davante Adams last week. However, Williams isn’t Adams and he also doesn’t move into the slot very often, which is where Rhodes struggled to contain him.

Williams has lined up in the slot just 22 percent of the time this season and because Hunter Renfrow can’t really play outside, you likely won’t see a ton of slot usage from Williams going forward, making this a weak matchup. If anyone is going to make a big play in this offense, it is Williams, who is responsible for 43 percent of Oakland’s air yards. He’s a WR3 this week and someone I’m avoiding in DFS contestes.

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He hasn’t found the end zone yet but I remain pleased with what I’ve seen from Darren Waller. The athletic tight end now has a solid 13 catches for 133 yards through two weeks, while seeing a healthy 24 percent of the Raiders targets. And through two weeks of play, Waller has played a whopping 97.5 percent of the team snaps.They continue to line him up out wide and in the slot and given the lack of receiving options, Waller should continue to see 7-10 targets each and every week, especially this weekend against a Minnesota defense that funnels targets to the tight end position.

Raiders running game

Josh Jacobs was once again running well on Sunday, finishing with 99 yards on 12 carries. He mysteriously went to the locker room during the game and it was later announced that Jacobs is dealing with a groin issue, which is certainly less than ideal. If he’s active, Jacobs will get as many carries as the game script allows, especially in close. No player in the NFL has more red zone touches this season than Jacobs (12). Minnesota was just ripped apart by Aaron Jones last week but the Raiders are road favorites and it is clear that Jalen Richard remains the main passing downs option. Jacobs has certainly looked the part, however, forcing nine missed tackles on the ground and three through the air, the second and third-most in football. Given the volume, Jacobs is a top-20 play going forward.

Vikings passing game

The Minnesota passing game has definitely underwhelmed through two weeks. Kirk Cousins was awful last week, throwing for 230 yards and a touchdown to go along with two interceptions and a lost fumble. He made some seriously questionable decisions in this game, while only averaging 7.2 yards per attempt. This is a great matchup to turn things around, as the Raiders are coming off a game where they allowed four passing touchdowns of 20 yards or more. Oakland is coughing up 13.4 yards per completion through two weeks, the fourth-highest mark in football.

Pro Football Focus also ranks the Raiders as the eighth-worst team in the NFL in terms of pass rush so far this season, recording just 25 total pressures so far. It is definitely a good spot for Cousins but how much passing volume can we expect? The running game is clearly the strength of this offense right now and Minnesota is clearly comfortable with running the ball 35 times as long as they’re ahead. They are eight point home favorites here, which doesn’t bode well for Cousins’ pass attempts. Still, he is only $5,100 on DK and the Raiders have no one to match Minnesota’s top-two receivers.

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Adam Thielen has just 11 targets through two weeks, resulting in the Vikings run heavy approach. Minnesota is calling run 59.6 percent of the time this season, easily the highest rate in the NFL. Thielen had a solid game last week, catching five passes for 85 yards. It is pretty clear that he should no longer be viewed as a top-12 receiver but remains a steady top-15 play, especially against a vulnerable Raiders secondary that lost safety Johnathan Abram for the season. You aren’t benching him but Thielen’s upside is certainly capped going forward.

Stefon Diggs had a touchdown called back before answering with a 45-yard touchdown on Sunday. Other than that? Nothing. He caught just one of his seven targets and, like Thielen, Diggs is struggling to have big fantasy outings in this current offense, seeing just nine total targets thus far. You still have to love the spot in Week 3, facing an Oakland defense that just let Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman to look like absolute superstars a week ago. Diggs is just $6,000 on DraftKings this week and while I don’t love the look of this passing game, that price tag is very tough to ignore. Meanwhile, Kyle Rudolph has played every single offensive snap for Minnesota this season, but has recorded just three catches for nine yards. Yikes. The matchup is good but if he doesn’t find the end zone, Rudolph is likely giving you next to nothing.

Vikings running game

After a ton of offseason hype, Dalvin Cook has looked like one of the best players in football through two weeks. He has 41 carries, 265 yards (6.5 YPC) and three touchdowns, and already has four rushes of 15 yards or more. The Vikings offensive line has been fantastic in terms of run-blocking thus far, generating 2.02 yards before contact per rush, a top-five number in the NFL. Again, with the Vikings running the ball over 59 percent of the time, Cook is a lock for 20 carries almost every game, especially at home as more than a touchdown favorites. Outside of maybe two running backs, I don’t know if there is anyone you’d rather start in fantasy football right now and for some reason, he remains under $8,000 this week.

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