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FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

Titans-Vikings Preview

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Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs past Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback C.J. Henderson (23) in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)


Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins, right, is pressured by dIndianapolis Colts' Denico Autry (96) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)


Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) hands off to running back Derrick Henry in the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)


Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook scores on a 1-yard touchdown run ahead of Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Christian Kirksey (58) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The thriving veteran quarterback. The game-controlling rushing attack. The premier pass rusher. Those are some of the strengths the Tennessee Titans will take with them to Minnesota.

The Vikings could be forgiven for harboring envy, after all, for these are attributes they thought they had.

Instead, the Vikings will try to reverse course from their troubling start and pick up their first victory of this abnormal season against the unbeaten Titans, the type of team they want to be.

''We've made too many mistakes. We've had turnovers, penalties. If you go back and look at the times that we've been here, the identity of our team has always been tough and physical and smart and not beating ourselves,'' said coach Mike Zimmer, who has his only 0-2 start in seven years with the Vikings. ''So we're going to have to fix that.''

The Vikings, who've been outscored 37-13 in the first half in runaways by Green Bay and Indianapolis, are last in the NFL in time of possession and second-to-last in turnover margin. Kirk Cousins posted the worst passer rating of his career against the Colts, Dalvin Cook has had scant opportunities to get in a ball-carrying groove, and defensive end Danielle Hunter has been sidelined since a reported neck injury at the beginning of training camp.

The Titans, on the flip side, have won their first two games for the first time since 2008, when they began 10-0. After defeating Denver by two points and beating Jacksonville by a field goal, the Titans have plenty of room for improvement. This is largely the same team that reached the AFC championship game last season, though, with Ryan Tannehill leading the league in passer rating and Derrick Henry winning the NFL rushing title. They've since added three-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney, on a one-year, $13 million contract to give the defense a boost.

After investing long term in Tannehill, bringing back all but one starter on an offense featuring budding stars in wide receiver A.J. Brown and tight end Jonnu Smith and bolstering the pass rush with Clowney and Vic Beasley, the Titans have high expectations. That would explain their discomfort with their overall performance over the first two games.

''You would think in this locker room that we're 0-2,'' left tackle Taylor Lewan said. ''We're focused, which I think is different than I've seen in past years.''

HERE COMES HENRY

Though the Titans have been seeking more efficiency in their rushing attack while ranking just 26th in the NFL in yards per attempt, Henry is a powerful runner behind an imposing offensive line with the potential to perpetuate problems the Vikings have had along their front four. Shamar Stephen is the only starter currently in place from last season, and he had to move tackle spots after free agent addition Michael Pierce opted out due to health concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

''Zimmer coaches a sound defense. They always put a tough team out on the field and guys in the right spots. I have a ton of respect,'' Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. ''Obviously, the scores probably don't indicate the level of execution that they actually played with.''

GIVING GROUND

The Titans have been vulnerable against the run, too. After ranking 12th in the league last season, surrendering an average of 104.5 rushing yards per game, Tennessee is just 23rd in the NFL after letting undrafted Jaguars rookie James Robinson run for 102 yards last week on an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Missing Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jurrell Casey, who's now with Denver, the Titans allowed Jacksonville to convert 10 of 14 third downs.

TEN FOR TANNEHILL?

Tannehill, the NFL comeback player of the year for 2019, tied his career high with four touchdown passes against the Jaguars has thrown for six scores without an interceptions this season. He has at least two touchdown passes with one or fewer interceptions in nine straight games. If he does that again Sunday against the Vikings, the ninth-year player would become the fourth quarterback in NFL history with such a streak of 10 consecutive games, joining Aaron Rodgers (13 in 2011), Tom Brady (11 in 2010-11) and Philip Rivers (10 in 2017-18).

In the 12 regular-season games they've played since Tannehill took over as the starter, the Titans have 130 fourth-quarter points, the most in the league. The Vikings are second with 119.

SIDELINED, BOTH SIDES

The Titans could be without Brown for a second straight game because of a bone bruise in his knee, and they've got some injury issues at cornerback. Malcolm Butler (quadriceps) was limited in practice Thursday, and the other original starter, Adoree' Jackson (knee), was placed on injured reserve last week. Backups Johnathan Joseph (calf) and Chris Jackson (hamstring) were also on the injury report this week.

The Vikings, who lost four-time Pro Bowl outside linebacker Anthony Barr for the season with a torn pectoral muscle suffered against the Colts, are in rough shape at cornerback with Mike Hughes (neck) and Cameron Dantzler (rib) iffy for Sunday.

Player Notes
Tom Brady Oct 24 1:00am ET

The Las Vegas Raiders defense has been statistically one of the worst defenses in the league this season. They are averaging under two fantasy points per game and face an ascending Buccaneers offense this week. Tom Brady is currently fourth in the league in passing touchdowns, and this Tampa Bay offense is ascending after hanging 31 offensive points on Green Bay in Week 6. The Raiders rank 27th in scoring defense and 24th in yards allowed. There is nothing to suggest they will have a good performance this week and should be kept on the bench or dropped entirely.

From RotoBaller

Darren Waller Oct 24 12:40am ET

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has a tough test against the Buccaneers this week, but he should be able to produce a solid fantasy performance. Waller has been great at home this season, with 21 catches, 193 yards, and a touchdown in two games. The Buccaneers have one of the league's best defenses, but the Patriots are the only team to hold Waller under five catches so far this season. He currently ranks third in fantasy points per game among tight ends, and he leads the Raiders in targets. The Buccaneers rank sixth in the league against tight ends, but fantasy owners should feel comfortable starting him based on his performances so far this season.

From RotoBaller

Henry Ruggs III Oct 24 12:20am ET

Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will have a tough matchup against a good Buccaneers secondary in Week 7. Ruggs had a breakout performance in his last game against the Chiefs, but his value rests with the deep ball at this time. That is not great news considering the Buccaneers are one of the best defenses against the deep ball, ranking third in the league in allowing receptions of over 20 yards. He was able to get loose in the Chiefs secondary with a 72-yard reception in the first half but caught just one other pass the rest of the game. Ruggs' big-play potential makes him a fringe flex option in deeper leagues, but don't expect a lot of targets for the rookie this week.

From RotoBaller

Josh Jacobs Oct 24 12:10am ET

Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs will face one of the league's best run defenses this week in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers are allowing just three yards per carry and rank second in the league in total rushing yards allowed. Jacobs is having a productive year and is certainly a must-start option, but he is averaging just 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Jacobs has just one game this season where he has rushed for over four yards per carry. With that being said, he is still seventh in points per game among running backs. It will not be an easy day for Jacobs, but fantasy owners should feel encouraged that he can put up a solid fantasy performance despite a difficult matchup.

From RotoBaller

Derek Carr Oct 24 12:00am ET

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have one of his most difficult tests of the year against a great Buccaneers Defense. The Buccaneers defense has allowed just seven passing touchdowns and have grabbed eight interceptions in their six games this season. Opposing quarterbacks have a passer rating of 82 against this Todd Bowles defense. They confused Aaron Rodgers and made him uncomfortable, so this will not be an easy day for Carr. With that being said, Carr has thrown for almost 600 passing yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions in two home games this season. The Raiders are coming off a bye, and Carr is having a career year. However, he is likely a bench option this week due to the matchup.

From RotoBaller

New Orleans Saints Oct 23 9:10pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a middle-of-the-pack matchup against the Carolina Panthers in Week 7. It's a date with former Saint Teddy Bridgewater, who started five games for the team in 2019. New Orleans' defense is finally starting to get healthy after a rash of injuries, as they will get Janoris Jenkins (shoulder) back and essentially be at full strength. This unit may start to put together some good performances, starting with this week. They can be used as a starting option.

From RotoBaller

Wil Lutz Oct 23 9:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz faces a favorable matchup in Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers. Lutz is perfect on the season, having made all nine field-goals and all 18 extra-points. Carolina ranks 22nd in fantasy points allowed to kickers, making this a juicy matchup for Lutz. Expect strong fantasy numbers from the 26-year-old.

From RotoBaller

Jared Cook Oct 23 8:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook could see more opportunities in Week 7 against the Panthers. Cook had one of his better games against the Chargers, catching two passes for 52 yards and a score. New Orleans is down two of it's best pass-catchers- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- heading into the contest against the Panthers. The veteran tight end should see more targets, making him a good start as a TE1 in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Carlos Hyde Oct 23 8:43pm ET

Seattle Seahawks RB Carlos Hyde (shoulder, toe) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Hyde will serve as the backup for Chris Carson but should see a handful of touches during the game. Fantasy players should be able to find better options and can keep Hyde on the bench.

From TheHuddle

Raheem Mostert Oct 23 8:43pm ET

San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Mostert is expected to miss multiple weeks because of the injury, so fantasy players should look for other options to use. Jerick McKinnon and JaMycal Hasty likely will share playing time while Mostert is sidelined. McKinnon probably has more fantasy value and can be a flex option in leagues. Hasty should be rostered in leagues and has a chance to be a flex option depending on the opponent.

From TheHuddle

Keenan Allen Oct 23 8:33pm ET

Los Angeles Chargers WR Keenan Allen (back) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Allen has been targeted at least eight times in four of the five games this season and seems to have a good connection with Justin Herbert. Allen can be considered a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

DeAndre Hopkins Oct 23 8:33pm ET

Arizona Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) was limited during practice Friday, Oct. 23, and is listed as questionable for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Hopkins likely will be able to play despite the injury, but fantasy players will need to check the inactive list for his status. He is a must-start option in all leagues if he is active for the game.

From TheHuddle

Tre'Quan Smith Oct 23 8:30pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith faces a tricky matchup in Week 7 against the Panthers. However, matchup concerns are alleviated by the fact that New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Smith will be busy against a Panthers Defense that has surrendered the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to wideouts. With a good chance of finding the end zone, Smith is looking like a high-end WR3 in Week 7, despite the matchup.

From RotoBaller

Sammy Watkins Oct 23 8:23pm ET

Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (hamstring) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23, and has been ruled out for Week 7.

Fantasy Spin: Demarcus Robinson served as the No. 2 receiver for the Chiefs last week and probably will have a similar role this week. He can be a flex option or bye week replacement in fantasy leagues.

From TheHuddle

Alvin Kamara Oct 23 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara gets an excellent matchup against the Panthers Defense. Kamara has offered fantasy managers the safest floor of any running back, particularly in PPR formats, as he's had at least 19 fantasy points in every game this season. He'll go up against a Panthers defense allowing the fourth-most fantasy points per game to opposing halfbacks. The Saints will probably go with a more run-heavy approach, seeing as their top-two wideouts- Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19)- are out for the contest. Kamara is a must-start in redraft leagues and is well worth the price in DFS formats.

From RotoBaller

Latavius Murray Oct 23 8:20pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray has a favorable matchup in front of him against the Panthers in Week 7. Murray has had at least 13 touches in three of five contests this season, with two of those games coming against teams that struggle to stop the run. New Orleans will be without Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19) against the Panthers' 24th-ranked run defense. Murray is a good bet for 12-15 touches in Week 7, putting him squarely in the flex discussion.

From RotoBaller

Robert Woods Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams WR Robert Woods (groin) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy players will need to keep an eye on the situation to see if Woods will be able to play in Week 7. He can be a No. 2 or No. 3 receiver in fantasy leagues if he is cleared to play.

From TheHuddle

Tyler Higbee Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee (hand) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

Fantasy Spin: Higbee probably will need to practice Saturday, Oct. 24, if he wants a chance to play in the Week 7 game. He is coming off his best game of the season and would see a few targets if he plays this week. He could be a low-end No. 1 tight end in some leagues.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Donald Oct 23 8:13pm ET

Los Angeles Rams OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) and DT Aaron Donald (non-injury) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 23.

From TheHuddle

Drew Brees Oct 23 8:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees faces the Panthers in Week 7. Brees will face a sneakily-good Carolina defense without his top two receivers, Michael Thomas (ankle, hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID-19). Despite not having Thomas, Brees has thrown for at least 250 yards or two touchdowns in each game this season, giving fantasy managers a solid floor. The Panthers allow the fourth-fewest fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, limiting Brees' upside. However, he should be able to finish as a solid QB2 in Week 7.

From RotoBaller