TOP RUSHING MATCHUPS
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Minnesota at Houston
The Vikings’ dormant run game awoke Sunday; all it took was a date with the porous Tennessee defense. Dalvin Cook totaled 113 yards over the first 2 weeks, then rolled the Titans for 181 and a long touchdown. Even in an up-tempo game script, the Vikings ground the ball relentlessly, so Cook always boasts a great fantasy floor. In favorable matchups, his per-touch potential shoots through the roof. One concern for the Vikings is that they did lose Pat Elflein at the tackle position which had a significant decrease in the offensive line rankings as they dropped 6 spots when the injury occurred down to 24th overall in Matt Bitonti's weekly rankings as Dru Samia struggled in his first week as a replacement.
The Texans have struggled mightily in all phases here in 2020, but nowhere more than on run defense, where opponents have simply dominated at every opportunity. With the Texans badly undermanned in the middle - and in a negative game script for most of the young season - opposing running backs are putting up 5.8 yards per carry. Last Sunday, Pittsburgh’s front line had little difficulty opening wide gaps and evading the ho-hum linebackers. James Conner and Anthony McFarland Jr produced 5+ yards on 10 of their 24 attempts, including bursts of 25, 20, 12, and 11. Neither Zach Cunningham nor Benardrick McKinney is strong in the gap, and there’s little chase-down playmaking on the second and third levels. That bodes extremely well for Cook, who’s at his best working through inside traffic to find running lanes.