by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Thursday games are often tricky as it is, because there isn’t necessarily a reason to take any undue risks with questionable options (which could set you back and spoil your week). Who are the borderline players that should be in lineups? Who should be sat down? Let’s take a look at the skill players taking the field tonight and try to answer those questions:
Kirk Cousins – Quarterback
Over the past two games Cousins has thrown a lot of passes (103), but has also been highly accurate and produced big numbers:
- Week 2 (at Green Bay) – 72.9% completion rate, 425 yards, 4 TD, 1 INT
- Week 3 (vs. Buffalo) – 72.7% completion rate, 296 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
Normally a matchup with the Rams would be intimidating, but they will be without Aqub Talib and also likely be missing Marcus Peters. That’s not to say that it’ll be an easy game, but things appear more favorable. While we wouldn’t consider him a “good” play as a QB1, he’s a solid QB2.
Verdict – Viable QB2
Dalvin Cook – Running Back
Cook is listed as questionable and it appears that it can go either way regarding if he suits up or not. At least we’ll have clarity with plenty of time to spare, but would it be surprising if he suits up he sees his snaps/touches limited? You also have a difficult match-up, with the Rams allowing the 11th fewest points per game to opposing running backs and appearing to be more susceptible to the passing attack (especially heading into this one).
If he plays consider him a viable RB2 (with risk), but consider your alternatives before locking him in without much thought.
Verdict – Viable RB2/FLEX
Latavius Murray – Running Back
There were high hopes for Murray heading into Week 3, especially with Cook ruled out, but the Vikings fell behind big early and game flow helped to eliminate his potential. While we wouldn’t be concerned that the same thing will happen this week, it’s a tougher matchup and Cook could play a role. Regardless of Cook’s status, considering the match-up Murray would be a FLEX, at best, who could put you into a hole early in the week.
Verdict – FLEX option (only if Cook is sidelined)
- Stefon Diggs – Wide Receiver
- Adam Thielen – Wide Receiver
- Kyle Rudolph – Minnesota Vikings
Los Angeles Rams
Jared Goff – Quarterback
Minnesota’s defense was supposed to be among the better units in the game, but over the first three weeks it’s easy to call them mediocre. They rank 15th in terms of points against opposing quarterbacks, though they’ve limited the yards (738 passing) and a lot of the issues have come due to rushing touchdowns (2 TD). That is right in line with their struggles against opposing running backs, allowing a total of 416 yards (263 rushing, 153 receiving).
Maybe Goff isn’t a factor in that regard, but he’s thrown for 354 yards in back-to-back games and has 6 TD vs. 2 INT on the season. He has the potential to post a strong day, but he’s hardly a guarantee with there being the likelihood that the offense runs through Todd Gurley.
Verdict – Solid QB2, potential QB1 in a pinch
Brandin Cooks – Wide Receiver
Robert Woods – Wide Receiver
Cooper Kupp – Wide Receiver
The Rams deploy a triple threat of wide receivers, so it makes sense to lump them all together here. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to say who is going to enjoy the most success in any given week as the targets are spread nearly equally:
Cooks has been the most explosive, with at least 87 yards and 8 targets each week. Of course he also isn’t a factor in the red zone right now (he’s listed at 5’10” and 183 lbs) and has always had a lot of boom or bust to his game. There’s a good chance that he posts viable numbers, but he needs to break one into the end zone to truly be a must start. With Gurley potentially being the focus of the offense, is that something we can bank on?
Woods is coming off a monster game, where he scored both of his TD, and he’s developing into the workhorse with at least 9 targets per week (11 in Week 3). Dating back to last season it’s the third time in his past eight games that he’s had a 2 TD day, which is promising, but that’s going to be a tough sell as something to assume will happen.
Kupp is clearly third on the depth chart, with “just” 6 targets in each of the past two games. That’s not to say that he’s incapable of a big day, but he’s tough to trust as the fourth option.
Brandin Cooks – Borderline WR2, must start WR3
Robert Woods – Must start WR3
Cooper Kupp – Desperation WR3, but a lot of risk
- Todd Gurley – Running Back
Sources – ESPN, NFL.com
Make sure to check out all of our Week 4 rankings: