Contrarian Showdown Build: Vikings at Eagles

Week one is in the books and it was a pretty eventful one. We started with a Lions upset of the Super Bowl champs on Thursday, then a devastating injury to Aaron Rodgers on Monday night, and a whole bunch of good football in between. It feels really good to be back and talking NFL, so let’s dive into tonight’s game. “You like that” Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings travel to Philadelphia and take on the reigning NFC Champion Eagles. 

Now, a little about me and this article. I’m a single entry DFS player who enjoys building and rooting for my one team that I spent hours to construct. The difference between myself and other single entry players, is that I prefer to build in a very contrarian way. You’ll never see a Patrick Mahomes captain when you see Tabor5 at the top of a showdown leaderboard and that’s what this article will do for you. I try to focus on the not so popular builds and players that give us the edge we need to take down some big time cash! Let’s take a look at todays game. 

Notes: Following Vegas and these lines can be important to your builds. Game flow, outcomes, and the line changes can all make a difference. In this game we have the Eagles favorited by 6.5 points with a total set at 49. The Eagles opened at -6 and I personally think the current line is still too low. The Eagles look really good here with the points. I don’t see the Vikings scoring more than maybe 21 points on this Eagles defense, so now the question becomes will the Eagles score 28+?  I think they will. This Vikings defense is getting old, still anchored by guys like Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith and Jordan Hicks. This Eagles attack is based on speed and big plays that I just don’t see Minnesota being able to keep in check. 

 

Captain Plays 

TJ Hockenson- Game script and the matchup should be in favor of Hockenson here. I think Darius Slay and the Eagles secondary clamp down on Cousins favorite target, Justin Jefferson. They are one of few groups in the NFL that are capable of doing so. This Eagles defense also led the league by a large margin in sacks in 2022 with 70. At the same time Minnesotas offense allowed the 3rd most pressures in the league last year. You’ve got an elite corner covering Jefferson, who is often utilized down the field, and a team that won’t give Cousins enough time to look downfield with their impressive pressure rates on the quarterback. This should lead to some quick throws that would heavily involve TJ Hockenson. This Eagles safety and linebacker group are certainly the weakest points of their defense, not one linebacker on this Eagles team was here a year ago. I fully expect Hockenson to eat here.

DeVonta Smith-  I’ve been preaching all off season that I think DeVonta Smith surpasses AJ Brown this year. Smith ended the year with a crazy stat of 8 straight games with 8+ targets and 50+yards. 4 of those being 100+ yard games. They both ended with 10 targets in week 1 and I think Smith sees 10+ again today. The best way to attack this Vikings defense is through the air and the explosiveness of DeVonta Smith will be on full display tonight.

 

Flex Plays

Jalen Hurts- I always prefer pass catchers in my captain spot, but that doesn’t mean we don’t roster Jalen Hurts. The leagues best duel threat quarterback should be your first player in today.

Eagles Defense- I like Kirk Cousins, but the dude is a turnover machine. He’s also one of the least mobile quarterbacks in the league and the Eagles defensive line will feast on him tonight. My projection is 4 sacks, 1 fumble and 1 interception, a touchdown or holding them to a reasonable score will give this Eagles D 10+ points with ease and I want them in.

Eagles RB- Let’s touch on this. Kenneth Gainwell has been ruled out which should mean DeAndre Swift will have all the opportunity in the world. He’s obviously going to be extreme chalk as well. I’m not saying he’s a bad play because there’s still a chance I roster him, but boy is it scary. Swift was in Philly all off season and couldn’t surpass Kenneth Gainwell. He only saw 20% of the snaps last week and was hardly used. 1 rushing attempt and 2 targets in the passing game. If he sees the 70% that belonged to Gainwell then he’s probably optimal tonight. But, my favorite choice here is Rashad Penny, he’s $1,600 and I expect a pretty good sized role for him. The Eagles made it pretty clear they don’t want Swift running the ball, and we all know the Eagles rely heavily on the run, more than most teams. I think Penny gets his opportunity tonight and shows out with a touchdown and 70 yards.

Alexander Mattison- The best way to attack this stout Philly D is with the running game. If Minnesotas offense can keep this game close then it’s going to be because of Alexander Mattison. If your game script projection involves a close game then I’d even consider Mattison at captain tonight.

 

Fades

Justin Jefferson- You’re gonna hate me for this but yea, fading the best receiver in the world tonight. He has one of the best corners in the world opposite of him and Cousins isn’t going to have much time to feed Jefferson down field here. This price tag of $12,400 you need 100+ yards and a touchdown out of him. I’m not saying that’s out of the realm of possibility because obviously it’s Justin Jefferson, but it is a lot harder than usual in this matchup and I’ll gladly use my salary on other great plays.

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