We’re on to Week 2! The week opens with a Thursday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams are seemingly recent rivals ever since the Eagles blew out the Vikings in the 2018 NFC Championship Game. Since then, Minnesota is 2-1 against Philly.
Their most recent matchup took place on Monday Night Football in Week 2 last season. The Eagles handed the Vikings their first of just four losses on the season with a score of 24-7. Ahead of tonight’s matchup, the Vikings will look to hand the Eagles their first loss of the 2023 season while avoiding an 0-2 start themselves. This is a great game to kick off Week 2 with especially with the number of fantasy-relevant players in the mix.
Thursday Night Football Preview for Week 2
Kirk Cousins is noticeably worse in “prime time” matchups. In 18 prime-time starts as the Minnesota Vikings’ quarterback, Cousins has 19 combined turnovers. More specifically, in last year’s Week 2 Monday Night Football matchup against the Eagles, Cousins threw three interceptions. All three picks came in the second half, two of which were in the red zone.
Luckily for Cousins, two of the Eagles’ top starters in the secondary will miss this Thursday Night Football showdown. Safety Reed Blankenship (ribs) and cornerback James Bradberry (concussion) are not suiting up for this Week 2 matchup.
The Eagles still have a tremendous pass rush and stingy run defense. Cousins is going to have to throw. I think he’s definitely going to throw at least one interception, but he does have the weapons in the passing game to succeed. He’s only worth starting in Superflex and 2QB fantasy leagues in Week 2. I would look for another option with a better matchup if streaming the position in a 1QB league.
Jalen Hurts remains a set-and-forget quarterback for fantasy football. His 12.5 points in Week 1 are disappointing, but I expect a big bounce back in Week 2. The Minnesota Vikings defense allowed the most targets, receptions, and yards to wide receivers in 2022. Furthermore, they are one of eight teams that allowed two or more receiving touchdowns in Week 1 of this season. Hurts still brings his rushing ability to the table, but I think he succeeds mostly through the air for the Eagles’ Thursday Night Football home opener.
Kenneth Gainwell is out for Thursday Night Football due to a rib injury suffered in Week 1. This news comes after leading the Eagles backfield with 14 carries and four receptions against the New England Patriots. He accounts for 81.8% of the team’s running back opportunities from last week.
Instead, the team will turn to D’Andre Swift, Rashaad Penny, and Boston Scott. Penny was a healthy scratch for Week 1 and did not dress for the game. If you thought last week’s backfield usage was unpredictable, Week 2’s isn’t much better. Head coach Nick Sirianni claims he wants to get D’Andre Swift more than two touches, which is all he had in Week 1.
I do think, of the three options, Swift is likeliest to lead them in opportunities. However, you probably have more reliable options at running back to start in Week 2. If you do find yourself in a position where you’re starting Swift, the silver lining is that he played just 19 snaps last Sunday. So, he doesn’t have the typical wear and tear most players, especially running backs, have on a short rest week.
In the Minnesota backfield, it’s all Alexander Mattison. His 73% snap percentage is tied for eighth amongst running backs across the league. Unfortunately, his Week 2 matchup with the Eagles is as tough as Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Eagles held all Patriots running backs to a combined 64 scoreless yards on 20 carries in Week 1. Alexander Mattison, in his own matchup, could only muster 34 rushing yards on 11 attempts. He feels like a touchdown-dependent RB2 on Thursday Night Football.
Thursday Night Football in Week 2 is jam-packed with wide receiver talent. Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, and DeVonta Smith are obvious set-and-forget players in fantasy football lineups across both teams. Both Brown and Smith drew 10 targets each in the Eagles’ Week 1 win over the New England Patriots. Meanwhile, Jefferson caught nine of his 12 targets for 150 scoreless yards on his way to a WR7 finish on the week.
Vikings wide receiver Jordan Addison is also worth plugging into your Week 2 lineups against the Eagles. The rookie logged a top-2o fantasy football finish in his debut. Addison hauled in four of six targets for 61 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown.
Eagles Pro Bowl cornerback, Darius Slay, should shadow Justin Jefferson most of the night. While it’s a tough matchup, you simply do not sit Jefferson. On the other side of Slay, though, Josh Jobe looks like he will get the start at cornerback. Starter, James Bradberry, is going to miss Thursday Night Football with a concussion. As a result, I expect Addison to get the upper hand most of the night in his matchup against Jobe.
Dallas Goedert is aware his Week 1 performance is one that leaves fantasy football managers extremely disappointed. He was held without a catch on just one target in the team’s win over the New England Patriots. He vows to bounce back on Thursday Night Football in Week 2. Given where he was drafted in fantasy football, you’re rolling him back out there despite the goose-egg performance. Dallas Goedert does have chemistry with Jalen Hurts, despite battling stud receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith for targets. Goedert was the TE5 on a points-per-game (11.9) basis last season.
T.J. Hockenson is also a lock to be in fantasy football lineups in Week 2. He’s coming off of an 11.5 fantasy point performance in Week 1, good enough for a TE3 finish. Hockenson’s nine targets trailed only Justin Jefferson last weekend which should be a theme all season on the Vikings. It’s worth noting New England Patriots tight end, Hunter Henry, finished as the TE1 in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Henry led all tight ends in the league with 56 receiving yards and even found the end zone.
One of my favorite parlays of Thursday Night Football in Week 2 is for both Goedert and Hockenson to each score a touchdown.