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Vikings name Nick Mullens starting QB in Week 15 vs. Bengals, bench QB Joshua Dobbs

We discuss the news that the Minnesota Vikings are benching Joshua Dobbs in favor of Nick Mullens.

 Nick Mullens #12 of the Minnesota Vikings yells while walking off the field after his team’s 3-0 win against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on December 10, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Ian Maule/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings are making a change at quarterback ahead of their Week 15 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joshua Dobbs has been benched, and Nick Mullens will take over as the starter. He will become the fourth quarterback to start for the Vikes this season, along with Dobbs, Kirk Cousins and Jaren Hall.

Dobbs played in five games for Minnesota after starting the year with the Arizona Cardinals. He’s thrown for 895 yards with five touchdowns and five interceptions. Dobbs picked up an additional 163 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries.

Mullens came into Minnesota’s Week 14 matchup after Dobbs was struggling against the Las Vegas Raiders. He finished 9-of-13 for 83 yards with no interceptions or touchdowns in the 3-0 loss. Mullens has been in the league for six seasons. He started with the San Francisco 49ers and was with them for three seasons. Mullens was then with the Cleveland Browns for two seasons before landing in Minnesota in 2022.

Fantasy Football Impact

Mullens is a risky start this week. Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson suffered an injury last week but could be back for the game. Still, Mullens never had much success starting for the 49ers, and you can probably find someone who will be more reliable. The Bengals’ defense does allow the ninth-most fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Alexander Mattison didn’t get much of a boost from Dobbs under center anyway, and that shouldn’t change much. Typically, the running back may fall victim to more stacked boxes, but Minnesota has enough talented pass catchers between Jefferson, Jordan Addison and T.J. Hockenson that Mattison should see the same amount of coverage.

The Bengals give up middle-of-the-road numbers to opposing wide receivers. If Jefferson sees significant practice participation this week and is active for the game, he is worthy of a start even with Mullens. Addison is just a DFS play for me unless you are in 14-team leagues or higher.

Cincinnati allows the most fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends. A quarterback who doesn’t feel comfortable could be a tight end’s best friend with checkdowns galore. Hockenson was going to be starting anyway in your lineups, but don’t overthink this one and leave him in.

Betting Impact

The Bengals, with a backup quarterback of their own, are 3.5-point favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook. Cincinnati is installed at -180 on the moneyline, with Minnesota as the +150 underdogs. The point total is 39, but that could end up dropping the more reports we get out of practice this week and the fact that the Vikings got shut out this week.

Jake Browning has been balling out for the Bengals over his last two games. If he can sustain that momentum for this matchup, Cincinnati shouldn’t have any trouble covering.