Vikings vs Eagles Fantasy Start/Sit: Jordan Addison, D’Andre Swift, Alexander Mattison, More
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordan Addison.
Week 2 of NFL Thursday Night Football brings us plenty of fantasy football action, and with that, the daunting task of deciding who to start a couple of days before we have all the information regarding the Sunday slate.
2023 has brought more early season turmoil than just about any year in recent memory. Season-long fantasy football players are already being tasked with difficult decisions, including some involving players in Vikings vs. Eagles on Thursday.
Looking at the big picture, it was surprising to see Philadelphia rank outside the top 20 in yards per play on offense and yards per play allowed on defense, yet it left New England with a win. Minnesota ranked inside the top three in yards per play on offense and yards allowed per play on defense, but still suffered a home loss against Tampa Bay.
Jalen Hurts had 10 passing yards in total on the 11 attempts in which the Patriots defense was credited with pressure. Most of those involved Hurts escaping pressure and throwing the ball away. The Vikings tried to bring pressure at an extremely aggressive rate (47%) against the Bucs, but failed to get home with the blitz. Hurts is likely to be much more comfortable in the pocket on Thursday, which in turn should deliver a fairly high-scoring affair.
More specifically on the offensive side of the ball, none of the data points should have altered your fantasy outlook on the key players heading into Week 2. Jalen Hurts, A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Justin Jefferson and TJ Hockenson are the obvious must-starts that don’t need to be addressed.
Let’s dive into the rest of the potential start-sit decisions.
Vikings Week 2 Start/Sit
QB Kirk Cousins
No team in the NFL had a greater percentage of their offensive output come from the passing game than did the Vikings. Cousins will continue to be one of the highest-volume passers in the league with the lack of a consistent ground game. Plus, it simply suits the personnel of this team to try and get the ball to their best playmakers, almost all of whom make their living catching passes.
In Week 2 of 2022, these teams faced one another and Cousins had three INTs in what was a poor performance. Do not let that stop you from having confidence in this spot against an Eagles defense that may be slipping a bit compared to a season ago.
If you drafted Cousins as your team’s starter going into the season, you are almost assuredly going to be playing him again this week. If your decision is specifically Cousins or Geno Smith at Detroit, I still lean Cousins with the health of the Seattle offensive line in major disarray.
RB Alexander Mattison
There are a few players in this matchup Thursday that you may be beginning to feel weary about, but they need to remain in your lineup, Mattison is one of them. Like his quarterback, if you were relying on Mattison as your RB2 heading into the season, there is no need to make a change just yet based on volume alone. Mattison is one of only a handful of running backs to get greater than 70% of snaps, carries and total touches.
The concern with Mattison in drafts this summer was a lack of efficiency. His 3.1 yards per touch didn’t do anything to give managers confidence, but his role on a good offense and relatively high odds to hit paydirt each week is bankable.
There are very few instances in which I would sit Mattison. If you play in a smaller league (8-10 teams) and have two top 15 RBs in tow, you could possibly opt for a WR in the flex, especially in full PPR. Odds are you do not have four viable receivers to play over the likes of the Vikings’ bellcow.
WR Jordan Addison
Addison and K.J. Osborn both were targeted six times in the Minnesota season opener. However, Osborn ran 13 more routes as the Vikings coaching staff continues to slowly hand over the WR2 reins to their first-round pick. With that said, there is a reason Addison makes this column and Osborn is not in consideration for a desperation flex start.
Sooner rather than later, Addison will take over the wide receiver role opposite of Justin Jefferson. It was a role that saw Adam Thielen run the second most routes in the NFL in 2022. Addison’s explosiveness and ability to separate are clearly superior to either Thielen or Osborn, so I do not expect it to be much longer before Addison is included in the must-start section of start/sits everywhere.
Addison will push for 70% route participation once again on one of the pass-happiest teams in the league, and he is still live for a big play with that much volume. Start him as your WR3 or flex this week.
Eagles Week 2 Start/Sit
RB D'Andre Swift
Kenneth Gainwell has been ruled out with a rib injury for Thursday night. Managers who started Swift in Week 1 are once again jaded by the running backs lack of usage. Gainwell handled over 80% of the backfield touches and set career highs in playing time and touches. I am still under the belief this was an outlier workload for any of the running backs on the roster in a given game. The Eagles staff will want more than 3.9 yards per carry from their premier running back and have already said as much that they want to make sure Swift is more involved in the game plan.
You may find yourself in a situation where playing Swift again on your fantasy team is the only good option you have at RB2 or flex if you had the likes of JK Dobbins, Cam Akers or Najee Harris locked into your starting lineup. I would play Swift over Harris and Akers now that we know Gainwell is going to miss this game on a short week.
Minnesota held the Tampa running backs to 2.58 yards per carry on 24 attempts. Even with Gainwell ruled out, Swift will likely be sharing touches with an activated Rashaad Penny, with Boston Scott still involved, as well. I make the Swift flex-worthy at best this week unless you are truly desperate at RB2, in which case you’ll just have to click his name and close your eyes.
TE Dallas Goedert
To be honest, Goedert does not deserve to be on this list of players. He was only held to fewer than three receptions once in 2022. He followed that up with 14 receptions for 164 and a touchdown over the next two games after his only poor performance last season.
In this matchup one year ago, Goedert managed five catches for 82 yards. You would gladly take that kind of output from any TE in the current landscape at the position. He remains a must-start as a top 6-8 TE option in fantasy football.