Thursday Night Football is hell on earth. You know it, I know it, and that sad sack brother of yours that started all the Tampa Bay Buccaneers he could get his hands on two weeks ago sure as hell knows it now, too. Except, sometimes TNF likes to mess with our heads like only TNF can and actually gives us a good game. It sure as heck didn’t happen last week, as we all got Larry Donnell’d to the extreme as the new God of tight ends and possibly everything else ever scored three freaking touchdowns en route to extracting millions of souls in week four.
But that was week four, and I digress.
Tonight, the hapless Minnesota Vikings march into Lambeau Field with their “we’re actually not hapless, bro” faces on, as they try with all of their might to hang with the Green Bay Packers. Rookie franchise savior Teddy Bridgewater looks to be a game-time call thanks to a warped ankle, but Packers fans could get an early Christmas present if Christian Ponder gets “promoted” to the starting lineup. Of course, this is still the same Ponder that did light up the Packers in a week 17 season finale two years ago and pushed his Vikings into the playoffs. Remember, then Joe Webb happened? Yeah.
Okay, let’s get back on track. You’re making some super big fantasy football lineup decisions, and I’m the guy telling you who to start and sit when it comes to these real players on the real TNF game and trying to get you fake points. I’ll do that and then some, as I’ll also tell you in general who is a solid play this week regardless of whether or not they’re competing with another lost soul in tonight’s “sure to be a real downer” Thursday Night Football contest.
Four novels later, let’s get right into it, shall we?
Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers
Rodgers showed why we love him so much last week in a complete destruction of the Chicago Cubs. No, I got it right. Now he’s at home for just the second time this year. Last time he faced a Jets defense that is overall a much scarier unit than these Vikings, so he’s probably going to throw for like 500 yards or something. Obviously he’s a great play in DFS fantasy football and if you have him in year long leagues you’re getting too cute if you’re thinking about starting Philip Rivers over him.
Matt Asiata, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Asiata isn’t as explosive as Jerick McKinnon, but he’s the regular starter because he’s way more fundamentally sound. He blocks well and is a reliable receiver out of the backfield. That makes him the safer play against this horrid Packers run D.
Jordy and Randall, WR’s, Packers
If Rodgers is going off, shouldn’t his receivers? Go check out the targets for a second. No, I’ll wait. Jordy and Cobb are blowing everyone else out of the water and Green Bay doesn’t utilize their crappy tight ends – nor should they. Cobb sees less balls than Nelson, and rightfully so, but both of these guys have a shot at being studs every single week. This is one of those weeks where they should both crush it.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings
I especially like Patterson if Ponder players. The one game the two played together against the Pack last year, Ponder shoved a career high 11 targets C-Patt’s way. He corralled eight of them. He also has almost 400 kick returns yards and a touchdown return against Green Bay and they for some reason are just not very good at containing explosive players. Even if he catches zero passes, he can still pay off in the return game or as a runner. After all, he is going up against an awful Green Bay run defense.
While Patterson might crush it a bit, you have to take a shot in the dark against Ponder. Because he’s Christian freaking Ponder, that’s why.
Both of them. All of them. Forever. I think Bridgewater would have a chance to do something if he played and wasn’t hobbled. But he probably won’t and is. That leaves Ponder. On the road. Against an underrated pass defense. With two days to get ready. Should I keep going?
Eddie Lacy, RB, Packers
I think Lacy gets it together eventually. I hope, at least. So far, though, there’s been nothing I’ve seen that suggests he’ll suddenly destroy the Vikings tonight. After four straight games of sucktitude, you can take the risk and play a better option over him. Odds are you won’t regret it. Just don’t bench him for Darrin Reaves or something crazy.
Greg Jennings, WR, Vikings
There’s been some chatter about how Jennings looks better than he did a year ago and how he might burn the Packers in this VENGE game, but I’m not buying it. Jennings’ only good games have pretty much come with Matt Cassel under center (who now is dead to fantasy owners) and he had three total catches in two meetings with the Packers last year. If he was going to get his vengeance, he would have by now.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, Vikings
McKinnon is a freak and this matchup is to die for. However, I don’t think the Vikings are going to get both him and Matt Asiata 20 touches again for the second week in a row. He’ll have a chance to prove me wrong, but I’m not buying elite production from him this week. Obviously he’s a sneaky sleeper in DFS leagues, but that’s about it.
Vikings and Packers Tight Ends
Kyle Rudolph is out and the ghost of Jermichael Finley haunts us all. The Packers and Vikings have none of the productive tight ends in the league. Avoid this position here tonight.