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Fantasy Championship 7/22 8:00pm #1
FFL: Offseason | NFL: Offseason

Vikings-Lions Preview

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Players: Matt Ryan, Matt Prater, Matthew Stafford, Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook

Detroit Lions cornerback Justin Coleman (27) celebrates an interception against the Green Bay Packers with teammates Darius Slay (23) and Will Harris (25) during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay (19) makes a leaping catch while covered by Green Bay Packers cornerback Kevin King, right, during the second half of an NFL football game Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)


Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford throws a pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)


Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, left, throws a pass as he is pressured by Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook scores on a 1-yard touchdown run ahead of Philadelphia Eagles inside linebacker Zach Brown, left, during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs (14) runs from Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Rasul Douglas (32) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)


DETROIT (AP) The Detroit Lions are thankful they have a short week to prepare to play Minnesota in a possibly pivotal NFC North matchup.

A quick turnaround gave the Lions less time to lament critical calls that didn't go their way on Monday night in a loss at Green Bay.

''It's kind of a blessing in disguise because we don't have time to think about anything but Minnesota,'' Lions center Frank Ragnow said. ''And, the Vikings are really good - especially on defense.''

The Vikings (4-2) have won two in a row, leaning on one of the NFL's best defenses and an offense that is starting to perform up to its potential.

Minnesota has averaged 33 points the past two weeks with a grinding running game led by Dalvin Cook that helps Kirk Cousins make big plays through the air. After a slow start, Cousins had six touchdown passes and one interception in wins over Philadelphia and the New York Giants.

''That team is on fire right now,'' Lions coach Matt Patricia said.

Detroit (2-2-1) has dropped two straight after an unbeaten, three-game start because it failed to keep double-digit leads against the Packers and Kansas City Chiefs.

''You can't let it stick around in your head because there's a long season left,'' Flowers said.

If the Lions don't win Sunday at home, though, their chances to contend in the competitive division will take a hit.

Minnesota, meanwhile, wants to avoid starting 0-3 in the NFC North after playing its first three division games as visitors.

''We get them all at home at the end, so it all evens out,'' Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Here are some things to watch when the Lions face the Vikings:

STACKS OF SACKS

Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter leads the league with eight tackles for losses. He set an NFL record with a sack against the Eagles that gave him 46 for his career, the most in history by a player younger than 25. Hunter has two more games before his birthday, and the Lions have provided him plenty of pass-rushing opportunities in the past. Hunter has seven sacks in six games against them, plus three fumble recoveries and one he returned for a 32-yard touchdown.

STALLING OUT

The Lions lost to the Packers at least in part because they scored only one touchdown and had to settle for Matt Prater's five field goals. That followed a trend.

In goal-to-go situations, Detroit ranks 30th in the NFL with four touchdowns in nine chances.

''That's not good enough,'' quarterback Matthew Stafford acknowledged.

Inside the 20, Detroit has gotten into the end zone on half of its 16 opportunities to rank among the bottom third of the league.

The problem may be ominous for the Lions because they were relegated to scoring only on field goals in two losses to Minnesota last year.

MILESTONE MARKER

Stafford is 87 yards passing from setting a record for the fewest games to reach the 40,000-yard mark. Matt Ryan reached that number in 151 games, five more than Stafford has played.

''When you step back and look at stuff like that, I think it's just pretty amazing,'' Patricia said.

Stafford has bounced back from a lackluster year with a solid season so far as the league's ninth-ranked passer. He has thrown nine touchdown passes and two interceptions, both coming in a Week 2 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

''Stafford is playing outstanding, maybe the best I've ever seen him,'' Zimmer said. ''He's throwing the ball into a lot of tight windows. He's pulling the trigger. He's still scrambling.''

FLYING FLAGS

Though Minnesota hasn't been stung by questionable late-game calls quite like Detroit was at Green Bay, penalties have been an uncharacteristic problem for the team.

The Vikings had four penalties for 30 yards against them in their win over the Eagles last week, both season lows for a team that has been charged with the third-most penalty yardage in the league (456) and irritated its discipline-driven coach in the process.

Player Notes
Kyler Murray Feb 17 11:10pm ET

The Arizona Cardinals agreed with left tackle D.J. Humphries on a three-year, $45 million deal on Monday, according to sources. Humphries will make $30 million over the first two years, and the deal includes $29 million guaranteed. The 26-year-old played in a full season in 2019 for the first time since going 24th overall in the first round in 2015. Humphries isn't the most talented left tackle in the league, but he'll bring stability at the position and help protect quarterback Kyler Murray's blind side moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Teddy Bridgewater Feb 17 11:00pm ET

Multiple teams expect New Orleans Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to have a strong free-agent market as a starting or bridge quarterback for a team in transition this offseason. Bridgewater is expected to sign with another team unless Drew Brees retires. The 27-year-old Louisville alumni played in nine games in 2019 and held his own with Brees missing time due to an injury, but he wasn't asked to be much more than a game manager. He hasn't been a starter in the NFL since 2015 with the Vikings, but Bridgewater could certainly become fantasy relevant at least as a high-end QB2 if he's starting elsewhere in 2020. How much upside he'll have will depend on where he lands.

From RotoBaller

Cam Newton Feb 17 10:50pm ET

The Carolina Panthers think that quarterback Cam Newton (foot) is likely to pass a physical and be cleared for some football activities in March, according to a source. However, they will still likely use caution with him in spring workouts if he remains on the team. Newton continues to rehab a surgically repaired Lisfranc injury to his left foot, one that kept him out for most of the 2019 season. But if Newton proves he's not past his injury, the Panthers could decide to move on from the 30-year-old. The former first overall pick in 2011 is a high-end QB1 for his ability to use his legs, but he may not run as much as he ages and is now an injury risk as more of a high-end QB2 leading up to the 2020 season. He might be even more unattractive to fantasy owners if he's playing somewhere other than Carolina next season, too.

From RotoBaller

Darius Slay Feb 17 1:50pm ET

The Detroit Lions have talked with multiple teams about a potential trade for Pro Bowl cornerback Darius Slay, according to sources. However, any team that trades for Slay must compensate the Lions and Slay with a new deal, and Detroit is determined to get fair value for Slay. The 29-year-old former second-round pick in 2013 has been to three straight Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro in 2017 when he had a career-high eight interceptions and 26 passes defensed. He had 46 total tackles in 2019 (36 solo), two interceptions and one fumble recovery in his 14 games played. If the Lions trade Slay, they will certainly need to address the position in free agency or the draft.

From RotoBaller

Justin Herbert Feb 17 1:20pm ET

The Miami Dolphins don't view Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa as a slam-dunk pick with the fifth overall selection in this year's draft. On the flip side, the team has an increasingly positive view of Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert after he impressed at the Senior Bowl, according to sources familiar with the team's thinking. One source said the Dolphins are concerned about Tagovailoa's return from a fractured and dislocated hip he suffered last November, and his durability in the long-term. Ive been down there to see him. Tua is a great player. I just worry about his health, owner Stephen Ross said. The Dolphins like Herbert's size (6-foot-6, 237 pounds), his arm talent and his mobility. Miami could change their mind on Tagovailoa once they meet with him at the Combine, but he certainly shouldn't be considered a lock to be taken by the Dolphins at fifth overall.

From RotoBaller

Demetrius Harris Feb 17 1:10pm ET

The Cleveland Browns released tight end Demetrius Harris, cornerback T.J. Carrie, offensive guard Eric Kush and linebacker Adarius Taylor on Monday. Harris played in 15 games (six starts) in 2019 and caught 15 passes for 149 yards and three touchdowns. Mostly known for his blocking prowess, Harris couldn't even take advantage when David Njoku was lost for most of the year due to an injury. The 28-year-old should land on his feet, but we wouldn't expect him to enter the 2020 season with much fantasy appeal, even as a backup tight end.

From RotoBaller

Dion Lewis Feb 17 1:10pm ET

Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis could be a salary cap casualty this year. Lewis carries a $5.1 million salary for 2020, and the Titans can save $4 million if they cut him, with $1.1 million in dead money. He basically served in a change-of-pace role behind bell-cow Derrick Henry in 2019, carrying the ball only 54 times for 209 yards while adding 25 catches for 164 yards and a touchdown. The 29-year-old was important on third downs and can help pass protect, but the Titans may decide to move to a younger and less expensive option in the draft. Other potential cap casualties include kicker Ryan Succop, veteran tight end Delanie Walker and outside linebacker/defensive end Cameron Wake.

From RotoBaller

Jordan Reed Feb 17 1:00pm ET

Washington Redskins tight end Jordan Reed (concussion) remains in the concussion protocol six months after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit in the preseason. It was the seventh documented concussion of his career, and it caused him to miss all of the 2019 season. His future in the league and with Washington is up in the air. At this point, it seems likely that the Redskins will cut him to save $8.5 million in 2020. The 29-year-old has never played an entire season in the NFL because of injuries and has played in 19 games combined from 2017 to 2018. Even if Reed is playing somewhere this season, he'll be a high-risk, low-reward TE2.

From RotoBaller

Le'Veon Bell Feb 17 12:50pm ET

The New York Jets won't cut running back Le'Veon Bell because of the $19 million in dead salary cap money if they do so, and because of his massive salary, a trade is remote as well. If they really wanted to trade Bell, they'd have to be willing to pay a portion of his 2020 salary, which is $13.5 million in total guarantees. And the Jets would probably only be able to get a Day 3 draft pick in return. After taking a year off in 2018, The 27-year-old (28 on Tuesday) looked slow and heavy in his first year in New York. Bell ran 245 times for only 789 yards (a career-low 3.2 yards per carry) and only three touchdowns. His receiving contributions help, but Bell's fantasy stock will obviously be down entering 2020 fall drafts. Consider him more of an RB2 with some upside if he comes into camp motivated to bounce back.

From RotoBaller

Ben Roethlisberger Feb 17 12:50pm ET

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he has "no hesitation" that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (elbow) will be ready for Week 1. "This guy is the ultimate competitor. He dropped the gauntlet down. He made the statement he's coming back," Tomlin said. Roethlisberger played in just two games last year before needing season-ending right elbow surgery. He should be ready to go this summer, barring any setbacks, but he'll be entering his age-38 season and will be an injury risk as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2. But don't sleep on Big Ben, as he threw for a career-high 5,129 yards and 34 touchdowns in 2018.

From RotoBaller

Ryan Succop Feb 17 11:23am ET

Tennessee Titans PK Ryan Succop is likely to be released in the offseason, in the opinion of ESPN's Turron Davenport. The move would save the team $2 million against the salary cap.

From TheHuddle

Dion Lewis Feb 17 10:53am ET

Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis is expected to be released in the offseason, in the opinion of ESPN's Turron Davenport. The move would save the team $4 million against the salary cap.

Fantasy Spin: Lewis can still be worthwhile in PPR, but he's not going to receive the touches in Tennessee to do it. He's someone to watch this offseason to see if he can land a bigger split to be an RB4 or RB5.

From TheHuddle

T Y Hilton Feb 17 12:03am ET

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton needs more depth behind him at the receiver position, according to general manager Chris Ballard. 'Do we need to add more explosive elements to our offense? Yeah, we do,' Ballard said. 'Just want somebody who can catch the ball and go score.'

From TheHuddle

Tavon Austin Feb 16 10:23pm ET

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent WR Tavon Austin is unlikely to be re-signed, according to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com.

From TheHuddle

Adam Shaheen Feb 16 10:23pm ET

Chicago Bears TE Adam Shaheen will be on the roster for the start of training camp, according to general manager Ryan Pace, but expectations for Shaheen are 'low' for 2020, according to Jeff Dickerson of ESPNChicago.com.

From TheHuddle

Austin Hooper Feb 16 9:33pm ET

Atlanta Falcons impending free-agent TE Austin Hooper could be a target for the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to John Reid of The Florida Times-Union.

Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars tight ends combined for just three touchdowns in 2019. Meanwhile, Hooper has emerged as one of the steadier options at the position, topping 70 catches in each of the past two seasons and recording a career-high 787 receiving yards last year. Moving from Atlanta's offense to Jacksonville's offense would be a downgrade, but Hooper will likely be a low-end TE1 regardless of where he plays in 2020.

From TheHuddle

Solomon Thomas Feb 16 7:13pm ET

San Francisco 49ers DT Solomon Thomas may join the starting lineup next season if the team is not able to bring back impending free-agent DE Arik Armstead, in the opinion of NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco.

From TheHuddle

Joe Schobert Feb 16 6:03pm ET

Cleveland Browns impending free-agent LB Joe Schobert said he has talked with general manager Andrew Berry and has been told that the Browns will talk to his agent about his contract situation in the near future. Schobert is more optimistic about his chances to re-sign since he has a better relationship with Berry than he did with former general manager John Dorsey.

From TheHuddle

James Bradberry Feb 16 5:43pm ET

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent CB James Bradberry and Kansas City Chiefs impending free-agent CB Bashaud Breeland are expected to be targets for the Washington Redskins during free agency.

From TheHuddle

Leonard Williams Feb 16 5:23pm ET

New York Giants impending free-agent DT Leonard Williams recently met with former NFL DT Richard Seymour in order to improve his play. They watched game film and also worked out together. Seymour said he believes Williams has all the tools to be a great player.

From TheHuddle