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FFL: Week 7 | NFL: Week 7

Raiders-Vikings Preview

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Players: Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook, Josh Jacobs

Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden listens to questions during a news conference at the end of an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. Kansas City won the game 28-10. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)


Oakland Raiders head coach Jon Gruden stands on the sidelines during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Oakland, Calif. Kansas City won the game 28-10. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)


Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)


Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins throws as he falls during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


Minnesota Vikings' Kirk Cousins fumbles as he is hit during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Green Bay, Wis. The Packers recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Matt Ludtke)


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) During his nine-year hiatus from the NFL sideline, Jon Gruden evaluated players like he was still a coach, drawing particular attention as an analyst for ESPN for his one-on-one film breakdowns with quarterback prospects entering the draft.

Kirk Cousins was one of those pupils. Though only a fourth-round pick by Washington in 2012, the eighth player selected at his position that spring, Cousins made a clear impression on Gruden with his attention to detail and ability to communicate. Gruden even remarked at the end of that episode that perhaps he'd get back in the game to coach him.

Well, this week, Gruden and the Oakland Raiders have been scheming against Cousins, who will try to bounce back for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday from one of the worst performances as a pro.

''He works hard at football. He's had a lot of production,'' said Gruden, who took over as coach of the Raiders last season. ''Hopefully we can find a way to slow him down and win a football game.''

That's what Green Bay did last weekend, when Cousins posted the second-worst completion percentage of his career and committed three turnovers in a 21-16 defeat. The comeback bid was waylaid by a first-and-goal interception in the end zone, an off-balance throw he said afterward he should've sent to the seats. Vikings coach Mike Zimmer expressed anew the team's confidence in Cousins, who's in the second season of a three-year, $84 million, fully guaranteed contract.

''You've got to play well to earn peoples' confidence, so if he's saying that, it's because he's seen practice reps, he's seen game reps, he's seen what we're capable of as an offense throwing the football,'' Cousins said. ''So you've got to go out and earn it. Believe me, I'm not going to be playing quarterback here if I go out and play the way I did this past Sunday for much longer. So I understand that, and I look forward to getting out there and playing at a much higher level.''

Here are some other angles to follow on Sunday:

ROAD TRIPPING

The Raiders (1-1) have begun this week a whopping 48-day stretch without a game at the Oakland Coliseum. After visiting the Vikings, the Raiders will travel to Indianapolis, then London for a ''home'' game against Chicago. After their bye week, they go back on the road to play Green Bay and Houston. The Raiders won't play in Oakland again until Nov. 3 against Detroit.

''We're still trying to understand how that happened, but we're going to have to deal with it,'' said Gruden, whose team went 1-7 on the road last year. ''We've just got to showcase our mental toughness and deal with it. It's uncommon, maybe unprecedented, maybe unrealistic that this should ever happen in pro football. I'm not excited about it, but we'll adapt and do it the best we can.''

INCOGNITO RETURNS

The Raiders will get a boost on the offensive line this week when left guard Richie Incognito makes his debut for the team. The four-time Pro Bowl pick missed the first two games, while suspended for violating the NFL personal conduct policy. He's eager as ever to see the field for the first time since a Jan. 7, 2018, playoff game with Buffalo. Incognito did not play at all last season.

''All the negative stuff is behind me. Just eyes forward, staying positive,'' he said. ''Relishing the opportunity, enjoying every day in here because you don't know how many more you're going to have.''

BURFICT, BEWARE

Another talented veteran with a troubled past who joined the Raiders this year, linebacker Vontaze Burfict, is well-known to Zimmer, who was the defensive coordinator for Cincinnati during his first three NFL seasons. Burfict has been repeatedly fined and suspended by the league throughout his career for late, violent hits.

''He knows the defense as well as anybody, probably as well as I do. He's very instinctive. He's very athletic. He reads things extremely quick, and he's a thumper,'' Zimmer said. ''We better make sure the officials know he has to play clean.''

Gruden wasn't having that.

''Burfict's played for us for two games. He hasn't had any penalties. So I don't know about all that,'' Gruden said. ''He's had a bulls-eye on him in his career in Cincinnati, and I'm sure the referees are looking out for him. I don't think the refs need any more help than they already have.''

The Vikings, though, were prepared to keep their head on a swivel when catching a pass in traffic.

''We've all lost our emotions at times, or what have you, so I think he's learned from that stuff, and I think he's been a pretty clean football player recently,'' wide receiver Adam Thielen said.

FAST START, SLOW FINISH

The Raiders have made a bad habit in one-plus season under Gruden of stalling by the offense after fast starts. They're tied for fifth in the NFL with an average of 2.83 points per drive on their first possession since the start of 2018, but that production has dropped to barely half of that over the rest of the game, with an average of 1.46 points per drive following their opening possession. Last week against Kansas City, Oakland had 10 points after two drives but didn't score the rest of the game.

''We've always been able to start fast, which is good, and hopefully we can do that again this week but then maintain it and then cut out the penalties,'' quarterback Derek Carr said.

RUNNING MEN

The Vikings, with Dalvin Cook leading the NFL in rushing, aren't the only team in this pass-favored league that's content to keep the ball on the ground. Rookie Josh Jacobs, one of three first-round draft picks by the Raiders, has 184 rushing yards, fourth in the NFL.

''He runs hard, for sure,'' Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen said. ''He has the quickness to get the ball outside and cut it outside quick. He's a downhill runner, and he can make the big play.''

Player Notes
Eric Tomlinson Oct 15 8:33am ET

Free-agent TE Eric Tomlinson (Giants) signed an undisclosed deal with the New England Patriots Tuesday, Oct. 15.

From TheHuddle

Kenny Golladay Oct 15 8:30am ET

Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay pulled in five catches (nine targets) for 121 yards in the loss to the Packers on Monday night. Johnson continues to be involved heavily, and with at least eight looks from quarterback Matthew Stafford in each game this season, the 25-year-old has established himself as a top fantasy wideout in 2019. The Lions will face a tough Vikings Defense in Week 7, but Golladay should continue to retain his must-start tag moving forward.

From RotoBaller

Kerryon Johnson Oct 15 8:20am ET

Detroit Lions running back Kerryon Johnson rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown on 13 attempts in the loss to the Packers on Monday. After accumulating at least 20 carries throughout his last two games, Johnson took a step in the wrong direction, and had he not scored, this performance would have been considered another failure. With just three total touchdowns on the year to go along with a subpar 3.3 yards per carry, Johnson's outlook doesn't look favorable against a tough Vikings Defense in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Matthew Stafford Oct 15 8:10am ET

Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford finished with 265 yards on 18-for-32 passing in the loss to the Packers on Monday. The veteran still played relatively well despite failing to throw a touchdown and had it not been for rookie mistakes from tight end T.J. Hockenson, the story would have been different. With Week 6 in the books, things will get tougher for Stafford against a tough Vikings Defense on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Graham Oct 15 7:30am ET

Green Bay Packers tight end Jimmy Graham pulled in just two of his five targets for 17 yards during the Monday night win over the Lions. With Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) both missing some time in this one, fantasy managers were hoping for an increase in production. That did not happen. If Davante Adams (toe), Allison, or Valdes-Scantling miss more time moving ahead, look for Graham to see a slight uptick in looks from Aaron Rodgers. However, continue to expect the worst and hope for the best from week-to-week.

From RotoBaller

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 15 7:20am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished with two catches for 48 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. Valdes-Scantling would briefly exit this one after injuring his leg but would return to haul in a 46-yard catch to offset his lack of fantasy progress up to that point. With Davante Adams (toe) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) potentially not playing against the Raiders on Sunday, the 25-year-old could see an increased role in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Geronimo Allison Oct 15 7:20am ET

Green Bay Packers wide receiver Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest) hauled in three catches (seven targets) for 40 yards in the win over the Lions on Monday night. After leading the way in looks from quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the 25-year-old would exit the game prematurely in the second half. He did not return. With Allison's status for Sunday's showdown with the Raiders in question, fantasy managers will want to monitor his progress throughout the week.

From RotoBaller

Jamaal Williams Oct 15 7:00am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Jamaal Williams ran for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with four catches in the win over the Lions. After Aaron Jones fumbled and dropped a wide-open pass from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score, Williams was inserted and made the most of it. Though the 24-year-old will likely continue as the No. 1 option out of the backfield, Williams may have some value against the Raiders on Sunday. If Davante Adams (toe), Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest), or Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) aren't able to suit up in Week 7, look for Jones to get more looks as a receiver, with Williams coming in for relief, especially on rushing downs.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Jones Oct 15 6:30am ET

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones ran for 47 yards on 11 carries in addition to four receptions for 13 yards in the win over the Lions. It was a much different performance than the four-touchdown outing that Jones had against the Cowboys in Week 5, and while it wasn't a horrible performance, he did fumble and drop a wide-open, 33-yard toss from Aaron Rodgers that would have led to a score. Jamal Williams did get some touches, rushing for 104 yards on 14 carries to go along with a few receptions after Jones hit the sidelines, but expect the 24-year-old to reclaim his role as the No. 1 option against the Raiders in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Aaron Rodgers Oct 15 6:10am ET

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went 22-for-39 for 283 yards and a touchdown in the narrow win over the Lions on Monday night. Though he did throw an interception, it was an acceptable performance for the signal-caller who was without top receiver Devante Adams (toe), while also dealing with the in-game losses of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (leg) and Geronimo Allison (concussion, chest). Despite the injuries on the offensive end, Rodgers' outlook against the Raiders in Week 7 is still promising.

From RotoBaller

Marcedes Lewis Oct 15 12:43am ET

Green Bay Packers TE Marcedes Lewis ended with two catches for 50 yards on two targets in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions.

Fantasy Spin: Lewis outperformed starter Jimmy Graham, who converted just two of his five targets. Neither is particularly attractive from a fantasy perspective outside of deeper leagues heading into Week 7 against the Oakland Raiders.

From TheHuddle

Marquez Valdes-Scantling Oct 15 12:43am ET

Green Bay Packers WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling finished with two catches and 48 yards in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions. He left the game briefly due to an undisclosed injury, but was able to return and finish.

Fantasy Spin: Valdes-Scantling made a highlight-reel catch in the victory, but it was Allen Lazard who actually found the end zone while stepping up for Geronimo Allison, who left injured. MVS might operate as the No. 1 wideout in Week 7 against the Oakland Raiders if Allison and Davante Adams are each sidelined.

From TheHuddle

Jamaal Williams Oct 15 12:33am ET

Green Bay Packers RB Jamaal Williams ran 14 times for 104 yards in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions, and he had four grabs for 32 yards and a touchdown. His last run was almost a touchdown, as the Lions were going to allow him to score so they could get the ball back, but he gave himself up at the 1-yard line rather than score.

Fantasy Spin: Fantasy owners can't complain too much, as he hit triple digits and had the receiving score, but the selfless play at the end cost them some points. He picked up the slack with Aaron Jones having a forgettable game. The Packers host the Raiders in Week 7.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Jones Oct 15 12:33am ET

Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones rushed 11 times for 47 yards with a fumble lost in Week 6 against the Detroit Lions. He also had four grabs for 13 yards on seven targets, but he dropped a sure touchdown downfield, too.

Fantasy Spin: Jones had a giant performance in Dallas last week, but he fell back to Earth in a big way in this one, and Jamaal Williams took advantage and stepped up his play. Jones remains a decent RB2 or flex fantasy option heading into Week 7 against the Oakland Raiders as he looks to bounce back.

From TheHuddle

Tavon Wilson Oct 15 12:23am ET

Detroit Lions S Tavon Wilson posted five total tackles with a fumble recovery in the Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers on Monday, Oct. 14.

From TheHuddle

Preston Smith Oct 15 12:23am ET

Green Bay Packers LB Preston Smith managed four total stops with 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hit in the Week 6 game against the Detroit Lions.

From TheHuddle

Za'Darius Smith Oct 15 12:23am ET

Green Bay Packers DE Za'Darius Smith posted five total stops with a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit in the Week 6 game against the Detroit Lions.

From TheHuddle

Aaron Rodgers Oct 15 12:23am ET

Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers completed 24-of-39 passes for 283 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the Week 6 game against the Detroit Lions while running for 10 yards.

Fantasy Spin: Rodgers should have had a touchdown to Aaron Jones, who dropped a pass while he was wide open and headed for a score. He was also dealing with a banged up receivers corps, losing Geronimo Allison, while Davante Adams was sidelined for a second straight game. Still, he worked through it and had a nice fantasy line. The Packers will look to keep it going against the Oakland Raiders in Week 7.

From TheHuddle

Danny Amendola Oct 15 12:13am ET

Detroit Lions WR Danny Amendola (chest) was able to play in the Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers and he finished with a grab for six yards on his only target.

Fantasy Spin: Amendola was back and healthy enough to play, but he did next to nothing. Fantasy owners, even in deeper PPR leagues, cannot trust him until he starts to show more consistency. The Lions host the Vikings in Week 7.

From TheHuddle

Marvin Hall Oct 15 12:03am ET

Detroit Lions WR Marvin Hall had just one catch and one target in the Week 6 game against the Green Bay Packers and it was good for a 58-yard reception.

Fantasy Spin: Hall obviously needs more targets and production before he can be relied upon outside of deeper fantasy leagues. The Lions host the Vikings in Week 7.

From TheHuddle