Dr. Roto: Week 4 Thursday Night Football Preview

Dr. Roto previews Week 4's Thursday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and the Los Angeles Rams from a Fantasy perspective!
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Daily Dr. Roto—September 27, 2018

Week 4 Thursday Night Football Preview

Many of you are going to be hesitant to start your Rams and Vikings on Thursday night, but Las Vegas might be telling you that is a mistake. The over/under on the game is 49.5 which is a very high total which means that Vegas expects lots of points to be scored. I live by the adage that “Vegas is rarely wrong,” so if Vegas is putting a 49.5 total on the game, I am not sitting anyone who should be playing.

Quarterbacks

Jared Goff — Goff has been so precise this season that he looks like a surgeon using his scalpel to cut open defenses. In his last two games, he's had 75% and 80% completion percentages, and I expect around 70% in this matchup. Goff has learned to take what the defense gives him and to throw the ball away when there is trouble. The Rams OL should be able to keep the Vikings DL in check (plus Everson Griffen is out), so look for Goff to get 300+ passing yards and 2 TDs.

Kirk Cousins — Cousins struggled last week against the Bills, but I fully expect him to come out throwing against the Rams. The Rams have been incredibly stingy against opposing WRs, but this week they are down their two starting CBs (Talib and Peters) so Cousins should be able to use that to his advantage to find Diggs and Thielen all over the field. Look for Cousins to have about 280 passing yards and 2 TDs in this battle.

Running Backs

Dalvin Cook/Latavius Murray — As of now, I think it's safe to call Cook a game-time decision for Thursday. If he plays, I will lean towards playing him as his speed is a differentiator against an aggressive Rams front 7. If Cook is out, I don’t see Murray (with his upright running style) having much success against Suh, Donald, and the Rams defense.

Todd Gurley — I would never EVER tell you to bench Gurley, but I will tell you that the Vikings run defense is one of the best in the league (they have not let up a 100-yard running back or a rushing TD this season), so I would not expect Gurley to have a huge game. That said, Gurley should still be a lock for 100+ total yards from scrimmage and a TD.


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Wide Receivers

Adam Thielen — With Talib and Peters out, Thielen should have the opportunity to work all over the field on Thursday night. Last week, Cousins targeted Thielen excessively, showing that he sees Thielen as his favorite target. Thielen is not the fastest receiver, but he is almost impossible to catch from behind when he gets past a defender. Look for him to get 100+ receiving yards easily on Thursday night.

Stefon Diggs — Diggs is a terrific route runner and should match up very well against the 5'11 Sam Shields. Look for Cousins to get Diggs involved earlier in the game, as he knows that he waited too long to involve him in the loss against Buffalo. Diggs should get double-digit targets in this game for sure.

Robert Woods — Trae Waynes is a decent cover corner who will give Woods some trouble, but Woods is such a disciplined route runner that I think it will be hard for Waynes to stay with him all game long. Look for Woods to disappear on occasion, but then come out of nowhere to make a big play that could propel the Rams to a victory.

Brandin Cooks — My guess is that Xavier Rhodes will cover Cooks one on one for much of the game, so I would expect Cooks to have a mediocre game at best. Minnesota ranks as the #2 team overall in covering the opposing team’s WR1 (due mainly to Rhodes). I still would start Cooks, as he is fully capable of making a huge play at any time, but I don’t see this as a breakout matchup for him.

Cooper Kupp — I really think Kupp is in the best spot for success on Thursday night. Firstly, Goff has a tremendous rapport with Kupp, and secondly, the Vikings are 17th overall covering the opposing WR3. Look for that to be a plus matchup for Kupp and one that Goff will exploit.

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Tight Ends

Kyle Rudolph — In Week 1, the Rams were atrocious against the TE, letting the Raiders (led by Jared Cook) put up 200 yards against them. This should bode well for Rudolph, who makes his living by being an uncoverable red zone target. The Rams are 29th overall in covering the TE, so look for Cousins to find Rudolph at least once in the end zone on Thursday night.

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