NFL Week 4 Fantasy Football Recap: New Orleans Saints vs. Minnesota Vikings

London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) scores on a 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter as New Orleans Saints defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) watches during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Vikings defeated the Saints 28-25. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Jefferson’s rebound performance: Jefferson was the main source of the Vikings' offense, with a 100-yard game and rushing touchdown to lead the team to victory.

• Saints stayed close while down several players: The Saints were without Jameis Winston, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas, among others, but remained competitive until the end of the game.

• A quiet game for Irv Smith Jr.: The Vikings tight end continues to be a rotational player instead of a full-time starter, which makes it harder to rely on him for fantasy purposes.

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  • Justin Jefferson: 10 receptions, 147 yards, 1 carry, 3 rushing yards, 1 rushing touchdown
  • Chris Olave: 4 receptions, 67 yards, 1 touchdown

The Saints without Alvin Kamara: Kamara missed this game with the ribs injury that has left him either limited or out of practice for each of the past three weeks.

    • Mark Ingram II took over as the lead back, as he’s done previously this season.
    • Tony Jones Jr. was the Saints’ receiving back the last time Kamra missed a game, but he was a healthy inactive.
    • Latavius Murray was the backup running back, giving New Orleans the oldest and second-oldest running backs to take an offensive snap this season.
    • The two backs were used interchangeably throughout the game.
    • Ingram suffered an injury early in the second half, which gave Murray even more snaps than usual.
    • Ingram was able to return to the game, but Murray took the majority of the carries in the second half.
    • Ingram won the snap battle in the first half, 15 to 5, while Murray won the second half, 21 to 14.
    • This remains a backfield to largely avoid whenever Kamara is out due to the split and limited upside.

The Saints without Michael Thomas: The Saints didn’t have Thomas due to a foot injury he suffered last week.

    • Marquez Callaway was the biggest beneficiary in terms of playing time. He was fourth on the depth chart to start the season on pass plays but was one of the Saints’ primary run-blocking wide receivers.
    • Jarvis Landry, Tre’Quan Smith and Deonte Harty were all limited in practice at various points throughout the week, so none of them were in the best position to see an increased workload.
    • The Saints counteracted this in part with more multiple tight end sets, including a personnel grouping with all four tight ends on the field.
    • The passing game was also limited with Andy Dalton at quarterback instead of Jameis Winston.
    • There is not a waiver wire addition in the group even if Thomas misses more time. Chris Olave remains a must-start, while Jarvis Landry would have likely had a better game if healthy.

Irv Smith Jr.’s lower ceiling: Smith has only played in passing situations. He was still recovering from injury to start the season, but his role has remained unchanged.

    • The Vikings continue to use Johnny Mundt as their early-down tight end. 
    • Ben Ellefson has also been used extensively as the third tight end, particularly in 21 and 22 personnel.
    • Smith still has touchdown potential in the Vikings' offense and is used at times on the outside, which also helps, but his volume will always be limited in this role.
    • He could still be a fantasy starter in the right matchup, but he won’t be a consistent fantasy starter as long as he’s in this role.

Monitor Dalvin Cook’s health: Cook didn’t practice earlier in the week with a shoulder injury. The Vikings limited his playing time accordingly.

    • He was typically taken out on third downs, but he also left the field for a few short stretches of plays.
    • Minnesota made sure to have Cook on the field most of the time when running the ball, so his touches weren’t as limited as his snaps suggested.
    • It’s worth keeping an eye on the injury report this week to see if Cook is on it and if he’s limited in practice at all.

Table Notes
  • Snaps include plays called back due to penalties, including offensive holding or defensive pass interference. The other three stats have these plays removed.
  • Targets may differ from official NFL sources. The most likely discrepancy would be from a clear thrown-away pass, where the NFL may give the target to the nearest receiver, while this data will not.
  • Carries are only on designed plays. Quarterback scrambles won’t count for the total number of carries in the game.

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