2021 Dynasty/Fantasy Game Analysis Week 13: Lions 29, Vikings 27
It was bound to happen. The Lions are too good a bad team to not win a game. They should’ve won 3-4-5 games by now…they’ve been so close. They earned this win. They took a 20-6 lead into halftime, almost blew it (again), falling behind 27-23 with 1:50 remaining -- but a gritty/lucky last drive and 4th & goal with no time left…a TD and a win. Good for them.
Minnesota took this game for granted, had some bad turnovers to dig a hole early, but then roared back…only to lose on the very last play of the game. The Vikings were OK this game, just missing three key defenders then losing Adam Thielen right away – but still this came down to Detroit wanting it more, and the Lions being way better than their record showed.
Detroit can beat Atlanta Week 16 and get to two wins and a tie, which would potentially/likely throw Houston or Jacksonville back into the mix for the #1 pick in the draft. Detroit should tank the rest of the season for the #1 pick, but Dan Campbell believes strongly in moral victories (that players will forget about within 24 hours of any).
Minnesota butchers a chance to get to .500, instead falling to (5-7) and creeping closer to out of the playoffs and firing Mike Zimmer by season’s end. The playoffs are the only thing that can save Zimmer now…and I’m not sure that will either unless they make a run. The Vikings SHOULD get to 9 wins and have a wild card shot. Week 16 v. LAR is a must-win for the playoff run/tiebreaker holds or help. Minnesota has no real wild card tie breaking help wins this season to date.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- No Dalvin Cook here, which leads to these three Vikings’ RB notes…
1) When Alexander Mattison (22-90-1, 3-34-0/3) gets these no-Cook starts, I really cannot tell the difference in the offense with either starting. Minny doesn’t miss a beat, really. Cook is better, but for the NFL price…
As long as Mattison is starting without Cook, he’s an easy RB1 projection.
2) Dalvin Cook will not be back Week 14, more likely Week 15…but that’s not a sure thing either. He has some serious issues…and what if the Vikings lose this week and the season is about over?
Week 15 at CHI is not a desperate need for Cook to be back anyway. My guess is Cook will be active for emergency Week 15 – but return in full Week 16 v. LAR, since that game is basically the season.
3) Kene Nwangwu (2-0-0, 2-4-0/3) was much more involved, and better involved than I realized during the live watch. He was in taking touches on the 1st-series. He was taking touches and/or on the field most every series, at least for a snap during each series.
He didn’t do much with his touches, but note that he had a decent 5+ yard run called back on penalty, and he got a straight up handoff for a 2-point conversion…that got stuffed. Had this game opened up a bit more, I think Nwangwu would have seen 10+ touches. Had Nwangwu popped a little on one of the touches he got, he might have seen more touches.
Still is a sleeper hope Week 14, but it's a deep sleeper.
-- MVP of this game for Minnesota, not named Justin Jefferson..? Tyler Conklin (7-56-0/9). That was the best game I’ve seen him play, as a receiver.
2nd most targets of any Vikings receiver in this game, with 9. Adam Thielen out early, and Conklin has his best targeting of his career. Well, if that’s a causal situation…Thielen will be out again Week 14. Could be another sweet week for Conklin.
Conklin did catch a TD in this game, but his second foot came down an inch out of bounds…or he would have really lit it up for FF.
-- I’m all about K.J. Osborn (4-47-1/7) as a WR3 with upside Week 14 with Thielen out as well. KJO’s best targeting since Week 6.
Osborn played 92% of the snaps in this game. He normally plays 40-60%. He’s played two games in 2021 with 80%+ snap share…Weeks 14 and Week 1. His average outputs in those games:
5.5 rec. (8.0 targets), 61.5 yards, 0.50 TDs per game.
The Steelers are not a top defense in the NFL anymore, especially with Joe Haden out…which he is trending to be again this week – which is more good news for a KJO play.
Osborn is not just ‘meh’ who now has to play more…he’s a very solid WR, and decent for FF purposes. His first two weeks of the season to get a flavor of him with elevated targets: https://youtu.be/uawUINmvu_c
-- I like what I see of Josh Reynolds (4-69-0/7) as well, speaking of WR3 upside plays for Week 14. He’s definitely Jared Goff’s preferred look among the WRs. Reynolds has nice movement skills and has good hands…he can be the de facto #1 WR for the Lions, and thus produces for FF.
Amon-Ra St. Brown (10-86-1/12) had a big game, but a good chunk of that in the hurry up with less than a minute to play. In the first 59 minutes of this game, Amon-Ra had 6 catches for 47 yards on 7 targets…his typical dull self. But then Goff started chopping down the field on underneath passes to prevent uncovered St. Brown and his numbers doubled in the final minute. On purpose, St. Brown is not a thing.
-- Godwin Igwebuike (2-8-0, 1-13-0/2) was the better Lions backup RB over Jermar Jefferson (5-18-0, 0-0-0/1)…and Iggy was taking touches later in this game as part of the comeback effort. He just makes things happen. Had a big catch and run 1st-down to keep a drive going later in this game. He deserves more touches, but you can see by his stat line they aren’t really happening yet.
Kene Nwangwu got way better treatment as a #2 back in this game than Jefferson or Igwebuike.
-- Blake Lynch (9 tackles, 2 sacks) had a decent game filling in for missing Barr-Kendricks…a key reason why the Vikings lost, no Barr, Kendricks, or Peterson…three of their best defenders. Lynch had a moment, but the moment is gone with all those guys back for Week 14. I didn’t detect anything special from the tape on Lynch, didn’t stand out to me…maybe I just missed it.
Snap Counts of Interest:
69 = St. Brown
60 = JReyn
35 = Kalif R.
34 = Jamaal W
28 = Igwebuike
08 = J Jefferson
70 = Osborn
69 = J Jefferson
06 = Thielen
65 = Mattison
09 = Nwangwu…2 carries, 3 targets, one 2-point touch…on his 9 snaps. That’s a good sign.