Fantasy football managers have been waiting patiently for the return of Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson so they can put him in their lineups. Jefferson has missed the last six games after being placed on injured reserve due to a hamstring injury sustained in Week 5.
There is no doubt Jefferson is close to returning, with the Vikings opening the 21-day practice window to return. However, with Minnesota having a bye in Week 13, is it likely that Jefferson play Monday right before it?
Is Jefferson going to play versus the Chicago Bears? What is the latest news with regard to his recovery from his hamstring injury? And, if Jefferson does play, what is his fantasy outlook for the game? If he doesn’t play, who are some useful alternatives to play instead? Let’s tackle these questions as best as we can.
Is Justin Jefferson Going To Play Week 12?
Jefferson is certainly practicing like he intends to play. He has practiced in every session on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday — albeit in a limited capacity. However, it’s worth noting that Jefferson practiced in every session last week also, and did not play.
Earlier this week, The Athletic’s Dianna Russini provided an update. She wrote, “Justin Jefferson is not expected to play on Monday Night Football in Week 12 against the Bears because of his hamstring, per a team source. The Vikings are not going to push their best player to get back on the field despite the fact they are in the playoff hunt.”
She later went on to write, “Staying out Monday would mean Jefferson would return Dec. 10 against Las Vegas.”
Therefore, fantasy managers should be prepared to bench Jefferson this week and start other options instead.
Editor’s note: Per Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, Jefferson is not expected to play on Monday night against the Bears.
Potential Fantasy Options if Jefferson Is Out Include Nico Collins and Rashee Rice
With Jefferson unlikely to play in Week 12, fantasy managers will need to turn to alternative options. The first such option is Nico Collins.
Collins has missed some time in recent weeks, meaning he has taken a back seat to Tank Dell as the lead receiver on the Houston Texans. Nevertheless, Collins is ranked in our PFN Consensus Rankings as WR24 on the week. He has a great matchup against Montaric Brown and the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
The Jaguars are allowing 29.3 fantasy points per game to wide receivers. Brown, himself, is currently allowing the sixth-most fantasy points per route run of any cornerback playing in Week 12. According to FantasyPoints Data, he’s allowing 0.36 fantasy points per route run against him.
Expect Collins to be targeted a reasonable amount in this matchup and be a volume-based low-end WR2 for this week.
Another option fantasy managers could utilize is Rashee Rice. Rice has been quiet in the last couple of weeks, while other targets have been preferred. However, he has a preferable matchup against Nate Hobbs and the Las Vegas Raiders.
The Raiders are allowing a respectable 25.1 fantasy ppg to wide receivers. However, Hobbs has been one of the worst-performing corners when it comes to fantasy points per route run allowed against him (0.32), tied for the 14th most allowed of all cornerbacks playing in Week 12.
The PFN Consensus Rankings have Rice currently ranked at WR31 on the week. He has easily the best matchup of all the Kansas City Chiefs wide receivers and should see an uptick in volume this week as a result. Rice represents a solid Flex option this week for fantasy managers.
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