The Minnesota Vikings were expected to defeat the Buffalo Bills with ease on Sunday. Likewise, it was safe to assume that most Vikings’ players would be sure bets to have big fantasy football outings against a porous Buffalo defense that had allowed 78 points through the season’s first 2 games.
That, as the saying goes, is why the games aren’t played on paper.
The Bills dominated from the start, winning 27-6 in one of the largest upsets in NFL history when taking the point spread (16.5) into account. As a result, many of those “safe” bets let fantasy football players down, as only three Vikings managed to make it into double-figures in fantasy scoring for the week.
Here were the best Vikings players in fantasy football this week.
QB Kirk Cousins
Cousins came in to the game averaging 27 fantasy points per week, scoring 20 in a victory over the San Francisco 49ers before adding 34 in a tie against the Green Bay Packers. On Sunday, Buffalo forced him into 3 turnovers—2 lost fumbles in the game’s first two possessions to go with an interception—and held him to 90 yards passing entering the fourth quarter. While Cousins was able to rack up some solid garbage-time stats to make his fantasy line respectable, his overall day (296 yards, 1 touchdown, the aforementioned turnovers) led to an 11-point outing against the Bills.
TE Kyle Rudolph
The Bills have really struggled this year to defend the middle of the field, especially in the intermediate areas, so the possibility existed that Rudolph would have a big day. He didn’t, but he salvaged his line by catching a 4-yard touchdown pass from Cousins with 2:59 seconds to go in the game. Overall, Rudolph hauled in 5-of-6 targets, totaling 48 yards and that score. He scored 13.3 fantasy points on the day, which was good for the fourth-highest total at his position for the week.
WR Adam Thielen
As we predicted, Tre’Davious White shadowed Stefon Diggs, leaving Thielen to work against the Bills’ second corner and slot corner throughout the game. As we predicted, White was able to take Diggs out of the game, limiting him to 4 catches and 17 yards on the afternoon. And as we predicted, this would leave Thielen able to have a big day. While Ryan Lewis performed well throughout the portion of the game that mattered, as did rookie slot corner Taron Johnson, Thielen benefited from a lopsided score and an absurdly high target share to have a big day. Cousins threw 19 passes Thielen’s way, and he hauled in 14 of them for a total of 105 yards. While he didn’t score a touchdown on the afternoon, he did manage to score 17.5 fantasy points, and that’s in leagues that only award .5 points per reception. In leagues that give out bonuses for 100-yard performances or give a whole point reception, Thielen obviously scored even more.