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FFL: Week 6 | NFL: Week 6

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
Alexander Mattison Oct 13 11:00pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison carried 14 times for 63 yards in Week 7's 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He only received two fewer carries than Dalvin Cook even though this was a relatively pass-heavy game and he outgained Cook on the ground by 22 yards. Mattison is emerging as a desperation RB3-play and remains one of the top handcuffs in fantasy football. He still shouldn't be started in standard leagues in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions.

From RotoBaller

Adam Thielen Oct 13 10:50pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen caught 6-of-8 targets for 57 yards and one receiving touchdown in Week 7's 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Thielen and Kirk Cousins connected on a six-yard touchdown in the first quarter but it was all Stefon Diggs and his career-best day from there (seven catches for 167 yards and three touchdowns). Thielen and Diggs feasted on the Eagles' weakened secondary but will face a much stiffer test against Darius Slay and the Detroit Lions in Week 7. Start Thielen as a high-end WR2 in that matchup.

From RotoBaller

Jaron Brown Oct 13 10:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jaron Brown got the chance to step up on Sunday, and he took full advantage. With Seattle losing tight end Will Dissly to an Achilles injury early in the game, Brown's number got called multiple times in the red zone. He gathered up three passes on the day, two of which came while he was standing in the promised land. After Brown became one of Russell Wilson's favorite red zone targets last year following an injury to Dissly, he had basically been an afterthought so far in 2019. While Dissly's injury is heartbreaking and painful in the fantasy community, it wouldn't be a shock to see Brown get the valuable bump once again this year.

From RotoBaller

Tedric Thompson Oct 13 10:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks safety Tedric Thompson must practice sprawling tip drills at home. A week after making an unbelievable bobbling interception to help put away the Rams, Thompson was on the receiving end again when he laid out in the his own end zone to snag a tipped pass just before it landed on the turf. This time, the refs gave him the benefit of the doubt and let him run it out to the 17-yard line. The Seahawks Defense didn't hold Cleveland to a pretty number of points, but they racked up the extracurriculars in the form of three interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt. They're no Legion of Boom, but they're also 5-1 on the season, so they're doing something right.

From RotoBaller

Dalvin Cook Oct 13 10:30pm ET

Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook carried 16 times for 41 yards and a touchdown in a Week 6 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. Cook also caught both of his targets for 13 receiving yards. The Vikings opted to win this game through the air and it worked, though Cook's fantasy owners would've liked to see him a little more involved in the passing game. Cook remains an elite RB1 play moving forward and should be started with confidence against the Detroit Lions in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Jason Myers Oct 13 10:30pm ET

Seattle Seahawks kicker Jason Myers had an exciting day on Sunday as he put the team in a bit of a tough spot. Myers sliced the extra point on the team's first score of the day, forcing Seattle to make some difficult choices as the ballgame wore on. The Seahawks would fail on a two-point conversion after their second score and end up winning the game by four, an awkward amount. Fortunately, Myers was money on field goal tries, as he nailed a pair of easy kicks. Myers is now 5-for-7 on field goals this season with his longest make coming from 42 yards out, and he's knocked down 18 of 19 extra point tries.

From RotoBaller

D.K. Metcalf Oct 13 10:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf hauled in another pass longer than 25 yards when he brought in a 30-yarder on the team's first drive of the day. This time, instead of a bomb falling gently into his arms in space, Metcalf caught a short slant and fought his way through a couple of tacklers before a gang of Browns defenders pushed him out of bounds. Metcalf also caught four of five passes slung his way this week, his highest catch percentage this season. Metcalf is showing some growth for Seattle, and when combined with his ridiculous measurables, he could be a superstar in the league if he can regularly catch the ball.

From RotoBaller

Tyler Lockett Oct 13 10:20pm ET

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett continues to be the pride of possession receivers. Lockett brought in all five passes sent his way in Week 6, tallying 75 yards. Lockett has now caught 24 of 27 passes thrown to him this year, and he deserves quite a bit of credit for Russell Wilson's ridiculous efficiency numbers. Lockett still struggles to find the end zone on a regular basis because Wilson excels at spreading the ball all around, but he's as dependable a receiver as exists in the league. Expect Lockett to continue to put up rock solid performances from here on out, and he'll get some scores eventually.

From RotoBaller

Dante Pettis Oct 13 10:10pm ET

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Dante Pettis secured three of six targets for 45 yards in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams. The stat line is trivial for most wideouts but this was Pettis highest yardage total in 2019. The Niners have leaned heavily on the rushing attack all season, rendering all pass-catchers marginal outside of tight end George Kittle. Positively, Pettis has played progressively more each week and should continue seeing the field regularly. But until it translates into fantasy relevant numbers, Pettis shouldnt be owned outside of the most desperate rosters.

From RotoBaller

Stefon Diggs Oct 13 10:10pm ET

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs caught 7-of-11 targets for 167 yards and three touchdowns in Week 6's 38-20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles. He also had two carries for 18 yards in the win. Diggs and Cousins were feeling the chemistry today as they connected for scores of 62 yards and 51 yards in addition to a gorgeous toe-tap touchdown for a red-zone score in the third quarter. This week served as a reminder that Diggs is a weekly WR1 threat, but he still remains a volatile play in an offense that likes to lean on the run. Diggs should be viewed as a solid WR2 heading into Week 7's matchup against the Detroit Lions and their tough secondary.

From RotoBaller

Chris Carson Oct 13 10:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back Chris Carson carried the ball 24 times on Sunday, tallying 124 yards and a touchdown. It makes the third straight game where Carson has cleared the century mark, and the 5.2 YPC was his best mark of the season. Carson also caught four passes for another 35 yards, and his touchdown was the crucial game-winning score late in the fourth quarter. Carson has already racked up 504 yards on the ground this season, and his 19 receptions are just one shy of the total number he had all of last year. Seattle's offense has been rolling this season, and Carson is a critical part of why. Expect him to continue to carry the rock often.

From RotoBaller

Jimmy Garoppolo Oct 13 10:00pm ET

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 24 of 33 passes for 243 scoreless yards in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams. He also threw a pick and lost a fumble. Jimmy G was once against careless with the football, committing his seventh turnover in five contests. Fortunately, the Niners secured the victory. The sixth-year signal caller has been extremely shaky this season but his team remains undefeated. With the offenses heavy emphasis on the run game, Garoppolo is a tough trust in fantasy. Hell be a QB2 with upside against the Washington Redskins in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

C.J. Prosise Oct 13 10:00pm ET

Seattle Seahawks running back C.J. Prosise stepped in as the change-of-pace back for Chris Carson on Sunday when Rashaad Penny couldn't go, but he only got to touch the ball four times. Given such limited opportunities, he'd want them to count, but unfortunately, it bit him this week. Prosise was called on to power forward to a first down late in the third quarter, but instead of picking up the necessary yard, Prosise coughed up the football in Seattle territory. Prosise has shown flashes of serious potential in the past, but he always seems to have something go wrong, whether it be an injury or a mistake. He's not fantasy relevant for now, and it's questionable whether he ever will be.

From RotoBaller

Brett Maher Oct 13 9:50pm ET

Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher made three field goals and an extra point in a Week 6 loss to the New York Jets. Maher made field goals from 50, 62, and 32 yards out, but missed a 40-yard kick. Players in long field goal bonus leagues were likely thrilled with Maher's performance in this one. He'll continue to be one of the stronger fantasy kickers going forward.

From RotoBaller

Tevin Coleman Oct 13 9:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Tevin Coleman handled 18 carries for 45 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams, adding two grabs for 16 yards. Coming off his second game from an ankle ailment, Coleman took the reins and out-touched backfield mate Matt Breida 18 to 13. Despite averaging just 2.5 YPC on Sunday, Colemans usage is encouraging for all fantasy investors. He could flirt with RB1 status in a cake matchup against a weak Washington Redskins rush defense in Week 7.

From RotoBaller

Dallas Cowboys Oct 13 9:50pm ET

The Dallas Cowboys Defense didn't play very well despite matching up with the New York Jets in Week 6. They allowed 24 points in a losing effort, recording one interception and two sacks. It was considered a cake matchup, with many lists counting the Cowboys as the top defense of the week, but they disappointed as most of the Cowboys did. They'll take on the Eagles next week in a Sunday night divisional matchup.

From RotoBaller

Russell Wilson Oct 13 9:50pm ET

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had another fantastic day on Sunday as he not only led Seattle to their third road win, but he also upped his total to 14 passing touchdowns while still remaining free of interceptions. Wilson completed 69.7% of his passes against the Browns, and he also ran in a touchdown. Wilson has always been a model of efficiency, but he's taken his game to the next level this season. After six games, Wilson has a 14/0 TD/INT rate, three rushing touchdowns, a completion rate of 72.5%, 1,704 passing yards, and a passer rating of 124.7. He's having a phenomenal season, and if he can keep this type of performance up, he could be hoisting his first MVP trophy at the end of the year.

From RotoBaller

New York Jets Oct 13 9:50pm ET

The New York Jets Defense had a good game against the Cowboys on Sunday, but didn't put up many fantasy points for their effort. The Jets didn't force a turnover in the game and only had one sack, even with the Cowboys starting two backups on the offensive line. The Jets defense should be getting healthier with the return of middle linebacker C.J. Mosley (groin) and Jamal Adams is a star at safety, but they are still not a recommended start in Week 7 against the Patriots.

From RotoBaller

Matt Breida Oct 13 9:50pm ET

San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida toted the rock 13 times for 36 yards and caught four passes for 27 yards in Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams. Breida was mostly stuffed on Sunday and yielded the lions share of work to Tevin Coleman, but he still posted a serviceable line with his opportunities. With Coleman looking fully healthy from his ankle injury, Breida has become a clear first mate. But with the Niners deploying a structural rushing committee, Breidas still a recommended RB3 and has major upside in Week 7 against a terrible Washington Redskins Defense.

From RotoBaller

Sam Darnold Oct 13 9:40pm ET

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold completed 23 of 32 passes for 338 yards in his return to the lineup Sunday. Darnold threw two touchdowns and one interception in his first game since Week 1. Darnold missed three games with mono, but provided a huge boost to a Jets offense that had averaged the fewest yards per game in the league coming into today. The big play from Darnold was a 92-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson after the Jets stopped the Cowboys on fourth-and-short. Darnold faces a tough matchup next week vs the Patriots, but looked good enough today to warrant consideration as a bye week replacement starter in deeper leagues or two-quarterback leagues.

From RotoBaller