Week 13 Game Hub: MIN-DET


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Week 13 Game Hub: MIN-DET

Minnesota Vikings (5-6, 5-6 ATS) at Detroit Lions (0-10-1, 7-4), 1 p.m.

Brolley’s Vikings Stats and Trends

  • The Vikings won but the Lions covered as 10-point road underdogs in a 19-17 contest in early October in a game totaled at 50 points.

  • The Vikings are the only team in the league to lead by 7+ points in every game this season.

  • Minnesota is 1-8 ATS in its last nine games as a favorite.

  • The Vikings are 7-1 toward overs in their last eight road games.

  • Dalvin Cook will likely miss at least the next two weeks with a torn labrum and dislocated shoulder. Alexander Mattison is the next man up and he gets friendly matchups against the Lions and Steelers in Weeks 13-14. Cook previously missed action in Weeks 3 and 5 because of an ankle injury, and Mattison racked up a combined 51/225 rushing and 13/99/1 receiving for 50.4 FP against the Seahawks and Lions. The Lions are coming off a strong showing against the Bears, limiting David Montgomery to 17/46 rushing and 3/28 receiving.

  • Kirk Cousins has thrown for multiple scores in four straight games and in 8-of-11 games. Kirk completed 25/34 passes for 275 yards (8.1 YPA), one TD, and one INT for 14.4 FP against the Lions in Week 5. The Lions are giving up the 10th-fewest FPG (18.1) and they’re facing the second-fewest pass attempts per game (30.9) this season.

  • Justin Jefferson has seen 9+ targets in three straight games since he saw just nine combined targets in Weeks 8-9. He’s turned in 80+ yards in seven of his last nine games, including in Week 5 when he hung 7/124 receiving on eight targets against the Lions in early October.

  • Adam Thielen jumped into a tie with Mike Evans and Cooper Kupp for the most receiving TDs with 10 scores after posting 5/62/2 receiving on seven targets against the 49ers last week. He’s now scored in eight of his 11 games this season. Thielen had his quietest performance of the season against the Lions earlier this season, managing just 2/40 receiving on three targets.

  • Tyler Conklin has 5/60 receiving on only six targets against the Packers and 49ers over the last two weeks. He managed just 2/25 receiving on three targets in this matchup back in Week 5.

Brolley’s Lions Stats and Trends

  • The Lions have covered in consecutive games against the Vikings after dropping six straight ATS in this series.

  • Detroit is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.

  • The Lions are 8-1 toward unders in their last nine games.

  • D’Andre Swift suffered what HC Dan Campbell called a sprained shoulder in the second quarter Detroit’s Thanksgiving Day game, which knocked him out after just six touches for nine yards against the Bears. Swift will be in a race to play against the Vikings, but he luckily has three extra days to get healthy for Week 13. The problem is the Lions are playing only for pride at this stage of the season so they could elect to take a conservative approach with their franchise RB, who has battled through a groin injury all season. It also doesn’t help that shoulder injuries are more difficult for running backs to come back from since they invite more contact than other positions. There’s a chance Swift could miss a game or two, which would elevate Jamaal Williams into a workhorse role after he played 63% of the snaps against the Bears. He finished with 15/65 rushing (4.3 YPC) and he caught all of his team-best five targets (20% share) for 18 yards. Williams posted 13/57 rushing and 2/8 receiving on a 32% snap share against the Vikings in Week 5.

  • Jared Goff returned to the lineup last week after missing one contest for an oblique injury, and he had his best showing in quite some time with 171/2 passing for 13.8 FP against the Bears on Thanksgiving Day. Goff still has just three TD passes over his last six games after opening the year with seven TDs in four games. The Vikings are giving up the seventh-most FPG (19.6) to QBs this season.

  • T.J. Hockenson scored last week for the first time since he opened the season with TDs in Weeks 1-2, but he saw just three targets against the Bears, which gives him just 12 targets since their Week 9 bye. Hock managed just 2/22 receiving on three targets in this matchup earlier in Week 5, and they’re giving up the third-fewest FPG (8.4) to TEs this season.

  • Josh Reynolds has been on Detroit’s active roster for just two games, and he’s already been elevated into the #1 WR role with his former Rams’ QB. Reynolds posted team-highs in targets (5, 20% share) and routes (22) against the Bears in Week 12, and he turned his chances into 3/70/1 receiving with a 39-yard touchdown. The Vikings are giving up the second-most receiving yards (189.3) and 14.5 YPR to WRs this season.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies


Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.7 (17th)

Plays per game: 64.4 (11th)

Pass: 58.4% (23rd) | Run: 41.6% (10th)


Pace: 30.1 (27th)

Plays per game: 58.3 (31st)

Pass: 60.9% (16th) | Run: 39.1% (17th)

All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.

Pace Points

After hitting a bit of a mid-season lull, this Vikings offense is absolutely rolling with 26 or more points scored in five of their last 6 games. They absolutely deserve to have the fifth-highest individual team total on the slate (26.8) here as Detroit is in for their first truly tough test on defense in a month.

Since Dan Campbell stripped OC Anthony Lynn of play-calling duties coming out of their bye in Week 10, the Lions have gone 55% run-heavy on early-downs over the last three weeks – which is the fifth-highest rate. Even as large underdogs once again, I expect Detroit to keep on running it because their early-down passing offense is absolutely abominable. The Lions are averaging just 4.7 yards per pass play on early-downs (dead last) as opposed to a strong 5.3 yards per carry on early-down runs (fifth-best) over their last three games.

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

A compelling argument could be made that the two starts Alexander Mattison made were against two of the weakest run defenses in the league (Seattle and Detroit). And it’s true. The Seahawks are hemorrhaging 31.7 FPG to RBs (second-most), while the Lions are bleeding out 26.9 FPG (fifth-most). If Cook only sits out one week, that argument against Mattison is not going to be settled since he’ll face Detroit, once again. Why are the Lions so bad against the run? For one, they are easily the least fundamentally sound club in their tackling fundamentals. Two out of every 12.5 tackle attempts (16%) miss their mark. That’s the highest rate in the league. Over the last four weeks, they have missed an average of 12 tackles/game.

I am not expecting any miracles from the Detroit backfield without D’Andre Swift. Jamaal Williams hasn’t killed it with 0.72 FPs/opportunity (47th-best), but he has averaged 1.33 YPRR and 4.17 YPC. And the Vikings are promoting the 10th-most FPG to RBs (25.1). If we count on Williams absorbing a decent share of Swift’s receiving volume, he just might do enough to win you a week.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

RB Dalvin Cook is going to miss this game, and likely more, with a shoulder injury. And that means it’s Alexander Mattison time. History suggests that “The Federalist” does not miss his shot when he gets it.

In four career starts, Mattison has averaged 24.8 touches, 124.8 scrimmage yards, and 22.1 FPG. Mattison’s weekly finishes in those starts without Cook: RB47 > RB4 > RB7 > RB6.

Yeah, in a glorious matchup with the Lions, he’s a slam-dunk RB1. Keep in mind, though, that the Vikings are looking to involve electric rookie kick returner Kene Nwangwu as well, and he could get some snaps, something I’ll be watching.

You’re obviously playing stud WRs Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen too. But it’s a great spot for Kirk Cousins as well.

Here’s Graham from Start/Sit:

“Cousins actually flopped for his second-lowest scoring game of the season back in Week 5 with just 13.4 FP, but I’m not concerned at all about his outlook here. By the numbers, the Lions secondary looks better but that’s simply because they haven’t played anyone that scare you as of late. Over their last four games, they’ve played the run-heavy Eagles, Mason Rudolph, an injured Baker Mayfield, and Andy Dalton (who ended up with 317 yards). This is still the same old Lions secondary that leads the league in YPA allowed (8.25). The Vikings have been incredibly up-and-down all year, but Cousins really hasn’t been for fantasy. He’s finished top-12 in weekly scoring in 7-of-11 games and is the QB11 in FPG (19.8), which is just a hair behind Dak Prescott (19.9). Fire up Cousins confidently here.”

Of course, the Vikings are not the only team in this game with an injury at RB. The Lions will not have RB D’Andre Swift for this week and likely beyond with a shoulder injury of his own, as the winless Lions shouldn’t risk a huge part of their future.

Of course, Swift’s absence opens a monster opportunity for Jamaal Williams, whom coach Dan Campbell seems to be entrusting with a massive workload.

More from Start/Sit, this time from Scott Barrett:

“Undoubtedly, the Lions are a hapless disaster. And Jamaal Williams hasn’t been particularly productive this season. But, with D’Andre Swift out (shoulder), he feels like a near-lock for mid-range RB1 volume at worst, which makes him worthy of a start as (at least) a fringe-RB1.

On Thanksgiving, Swift played on 20% of the team’s snaps (suffering an injury early in the second quarter), and Williams walked away with 15 carries and 5 targets. Following the Swift injury, he played on 81% of the snaps, earning 79% of the carries and 83% of the targets out of the backfield.

The Lions rank 3rd in team RB FPG (29.3) and 7th in XFP/G (26.7). Which means if Williams can be just 60% of what the backfield has been as a whole, he’d be a top-10 fantasy RB (17.6 FPG). And if 70%, then he’d rank behind only Derrick Henry, Jonathan Taylor, and Austin Ekeler in FPG (20.5).

The matchup is a little tricky, though I don’t think it matters too much if Williams gets the high-end bell cow workload we’re expecting. Minnesota ranks 8th-worst in YPC allowed (4.50) and 9th-worst in rushing FPG allowed to RBs (14.5). But the Vikings are favored by 7.0-points, and rank middle-of-the-pack in receiving FPG allowed and 14th-best by schedule-adjusted FPG allowed (-1.3).”

Meanwhile, if you’re dying for a WR option, this is a glorious matchup against the Vikings’ secondary, and QB Jared Goff has gravitated towards recent signee Josh Reynolds, as Brolley pointed out above. He’s more of a 14-team or 16-team guy, or maybe a cheap DFS option, but he is an option nonetheless.