On Christmas Day, the New Orleans Saints will try to snap their two-game losing streak when they play the Minnesota Vikings. These two teams played each other in the NFC Wild Card game, where the Vikings won 26-20 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Minnesota Vikings (6-8) are coming off of a heartbreaking 33-27 loss to the Chicago Bears last week. With the loss, the Vikings’ playoff hopes are likely done as they will need a lot to happen over these last two weeks. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was 24-of-35 for 271 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Meanwhile, running back Dalvin Cook had another impressive performance with 132 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown.
But the Vikings’ defense could not stop the Bears’ offense, specifically second-year running back David Montgomery. Montgomery churned out 146 yards on 32 carries and a touchdown. It was only the second time in five games that Minnesota’s defense allowed an opposing running back to run for at least 100 yards.
As for the Saints (10-4) they lost last week to the Kansas City Chiefs 32-29 in Drew Brees’ return. Brees missed the last few games with a rib injury and was finally cleared to play on Sunday. The veteran quarterback was 15-of-34 for 234 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception.
One of his touchdown passes went to running back Alvin Kamara, who had 54 rushing yards and 40 receiving yards. Without Michael Thomas for the rest of the regular season, Brees will lean on Kamara and veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who had four (five targets) for 76 yards.
Date: Friday, Dec. 25
Time: 4:30 p.m. ET
Channel: FOX, NFL Network, Amazon
Notable Statistical rankings (Football Outsiders)
Vikings: #18 Overall — #11 offense, #13 defense, #31 special teams
Saints: #1 Overall — #9 offense, #2 defense, #6 special teams
Fantasy football start/sit advice
Dalvin Cook, RB, $8,800
If this was any other week, I’d might say consider benching Dalvin Cook because of the defense he is facing on Christmas. But with it being championship week in the fantasy football playoffs, you got to roll with Cook. In Minnesota’s last three games, he has 354 rushing yards on 78 carries and two touchdowns. Also, over that same period, Cook has scored 17.9, 17.0, and 21.9 fantasy points. This week, he’ll be facing a pretty good run defense that is only giving up 13.7 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.
Justin Jefferson, WR, $7,400
With Adam Thielen likely drawing the attention of Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore, that should open things up for rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson. In Week 15 against the Bears, Jefferson was the team’s leading receiver with eight receptions (11 targets) for 104 yards. Despite not scoring a touchdown, Jefferson still recorded 10.4 fantasy points. He has now produced four double-digit performances in the last five weeks.
Alvin Kamara, RB, $7,900
With no Michael Thomas for the last two games, it will be imperative for the Saints to get Alvin Kamara involved early and often. The dynamic running back is a playmaker and a weekly RB1 play, regardless who is under center for New Orleans. Last week against the Chiefs, he had his third-straight game with at least 15 fantasy points (15.4). On Christmas, Kamara will be going against a Vikings’ defense that is allowing 18.4 fantasy points per game, and one receiving touchdown to opposing running backs this season.
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, $5,200
After scoring a touchdown against the Eagles in Week 14 and leading the Saints in receiving on Sunday versus Kansas City, Emmanuel Sanders could be due for a breakout game on Christmas. The veteran wide receiver hasn’t had the impact that many thought he would like he did in San Francisco. But with an offense that has Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas (when healthy), Sanders can fly under the radar. This week, he faces one of the worst secondaries that is giving up 21 touchdowns and 28 fantasy points per game to opposing wideouts this season.