Happy Thanksgiving! If you’re looking for Minnesota Vikings vs. New England Patriots NFL DFS picks for Thursday’s turkey nightcap in Week 12, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve analyzed each team’s highest-probability game scripts to assess the most likely outcomes, including which players are in line to thrive more than anticipated or fall short of expectations.
The following recommended fantasy football lineup (for tournaments, 50/50, or head-to-head competitions) aims to lock in a relatively high floor while maximizing upside.
Coming off an objectively embarrassing blowout home loss to the Cowboys, Minnesota no longer looks as formidable. And since their own embarrassing blowout home loss to the Bears, New England looks more formidable than ever.
That sets the stage for an intriguing matchup against one of the most formidable offenses (on paper) versus one of the top-performing defenses.
The key question to me is whether we can trust Dalvin Cook against a seemingly improving run defense that’s yielding the second-fewest rushing touchdowns (four). The Patriots also excel against the passing game, surrendering the fourth-fewest aerial yards. They’re also tied for fourth in interceptions (11).
Cook has dominated this season, averaging a career-high 5.1 yards per carry. His sterling 2.4 yards after contact are tied for fifth among RBs.
The problem — if we can call it that — is his passing-game usage, which has dropped steadily these past few seasons. Cook averaged a robust 3.8 catches per contest in 2019, dropping to 3.1 in 2020 and 2.6 last year.
This season it’s 2.2. That’s a dramatic decline for one of the best running backs on Earth — a guy who can score 20+ DFS points regularly if he’s securing about four catches a game and getting at least one score. All doable historically. This year? Not so much.
The Vikings will need to get Justin Jefferson going today; they don’t have a choice. T.J. Hockenson will continue to get looks, but Cook is the X-factor. The Patriots probably haven’t faced an opponent with this much offensive balance since the Ravens in Week 3. Establishing the run will be essential.
What a fascinating team. For DFS purposes, we might lean heavily into Rhamondre Stevenson and perhaps the cheaper Damien Harris. But Stevenson has slowed in recent weeks. Not heavily utilized in college, he’s averaging 18.5 touches per game and coming off a 21-touch performance Sunday.
Meanwhile, Harris — the former 1A running back in this corps — has taken a backseat to Stevenson. But the team conserved the veteran on Sunday, giving him only 10 touches. Do they plan to use him more than Stevenson today? That’s a huge DFS question, and I’m betting the answer is “yes.”
Through the air, we have to weigh the benefits of inserting the expensive Jakobi Meyers in our lineup versus one or two cheaper options. Meyers has earned only six targets in each of his last two games. With the Patriots as healthy as ever, Meyers is not the same strong bet for double-digit points that he once was.
Top Vikings vs. Patriots DFS Lineup for Thanksgiving
Today, we’re playing DraftKings “Showdown Captain Mode,” which includes one player who earns 1.5 times his scoring output, plus five Flex players.
The following NFL betting recommendations are based on proprietary PFN predictive analytics pulled from decades of NFL historical data. Using this data, I’ve built dozens of models showing actionable probabilities of better-than-expected and worse-than-expected outcomes.
Captain: TE T.J. Hockenson, Vikings ($10,800)
This decision assumes a relatively defensive battle, with Hockenson securing at least a 5-40 receiving line. A score would be a bonus. Going with the more expensive Cook or Jefferson would deprive us of at least one high-impact player. I’d rather conserve salary by putting the safe, overdue-for-a-touchdown Hockenson in our Captain slot.
Flex: WR Justin Jefferson, Vikings ($11,600)
Smart minds might disagree. Since Week 8, the Patriots have given up the fewest fantasy points in the league to wide receivers. But they played Zach Wilson and the Jets twice, Sam Ehlinger, and the pass-limited Justin Fields.
This is when seemingly actionable data demands context. Yes, New England’s defense is terrific. And . . . they haven’t faced a passing attack like this one in a long time.
Flex: RB Dalvin Cook, Vikings ($10,000)
For context, Meyers costs $8,200. These are the decisions that can win or lose a DFS contest. Cook has an abysmal floor if he’s somehow shut down, but his ceiling remains sky high — as long as Minnesota’s committed to feeding him.
Flex: WR Adam Thielen, Vikings ($7,000)
I like betting on talented, underutilized veterans the week after a shocking defeat. Expect adjustments. Expect more Adam Thielen.
Flex: RB Damien Harris, Patriots ($6,800)
Harris is a whopping $2,800 cheaper than Stevenson. That doesn’t make sense to me. I like that Harris has been earning targets and capitalizing. He’s fresher heading into this game, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he equals or exceeds Stevenson’s touch total.
Flex: K Greg Joseph, Vikings ($3,800)
With only $3,800 remaining, we’ll use it all on the Vikings’ kicker. Greg Joseph isn’t flashy. We could choose Nelson Agholor or Tyquan Thornton instead. But in a game that should favor Minnesota, and facing a frequently bend-not-break defense, Joseph is well-positioned to hit 10+ points for only the third time this year.