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Fantasy Football Player Notes

2020 Draft Rankings
Dalvin Cook Note
Dalvin Cook photo 5. Dalvin Cook RB - (at DET)
It turns out Gary Kubiak is very good for a run-game. Cook took his game to another level in 2019, finishing as the No. 5 running back despite missing two games. Not only did he total 18-plus carries in eight games, but he also ranked third in yards per route run among running backs. With Stefon Diggs gone, we could see him highlighted even more in the passing game, though Justin Jefferson will eat some of them. Cook also led the league with 21 carries inside the five-yard-line. Health has always been a question mark with Cook, but when healthy, he's easily a top-10 back.
8 weeks ago
Adam Thielen Note
Adam Thielen photo 31. Adam Thielen WR - (at DET)
It was a down year for Thielen in 2019, who's suddenly 30 years old (August 22nd, he will be) with back problems. That's not a recipe for success for a wide receiver, though it helps that he's the only steady presence at wide receiver. Most will look at the target totals from last year and wonder where his targets come from, but don't forget that Thielen saw 298 targets over the previous two seasons. Last year was an incredibly efficient year for the Vikings on the ground, and when you combine the fact that Thielen missed half the season, you can understand why their pass attempts came crashing down to earth. With the defense likely taking a step back after losing many starters, we should expect to see their run-to-pass ratio come back towards the league average, which would help Thielen's target potential. Knowing that he's the only receiver in the starting lineup who has any chemistry with Cousins, we should expect at least eight targets per game. That calls for him being a high-end WR2 at the very least when he's in the lineup, though his injury concerns have to be built into his cost. His current ADP is the WR11, which is too expensive for the risk you're taking on.
8 weeks ago
Alexander Mattison Note
Alexander Mattison photo 135. Alexander Mattison RB - (at DET)
He's one of the best handcuffs in fantasy football. There were times in 2019 where he looked like Dalvin Cook on the field, which is a high compliment. We also cannot pretend that Cook has been the picture of perfect health throughout his three years in the NFL. Mattison won't have much value without a Cook injury, but that's okay when you draft him in the later rounds.
8 weeks ago
Kirk Cousins Note
Kirk Cousins photo 151. Kirk Cousins QB - (at DET)
It's never easy to lose your top receiver during the offseason, which is what happened to Cousins when the Vikings traded away Stefon Diggs. They tried to replace him immediately, snagging Justin Jefferson in the first round of the NFL Draft. For a guy who threw just 444 pass attempts and offers no mobility, it's quite an accomplishment to finish as the No. 15 fantasy quarterback, as Cousins did. Now, with Kevin Stefanski out of town, you must wonder if the offense moves towards a more balanced attack under Gary Kubiak, though he may have been the genius behind the offense last year. Still, it's unrealistic to think Cousins throws the ball just 444 times again. Not only is the defense going through a rebuild process, but the Vikings just can't remain that efficient on the ground. Did you know the previous three seasons, Cousins was the (most recent first) QB12, QB6, and QB5? He's trending in the wrong direction, but he's still been a usable streamer in 1QB leagues. I'd be shocked if he's below 500 pass attempts this year, though he is going to become less efficient losing Diggs. Even if we repeated last year's numbers, Cousins ranked 20th in top-18-type performances, which make him a solid quarterback to use in 2QB/Superflex formats. He has no shot to lose the job, likely sees increased volume, and has finished as a top-five quarterback before. Just don't draft him in 1QB leagues as a starter for Week 1, because he's playing the Packers, a team he scored just 8.9 and 6.9 fantasy points against last year.
8 weeks ago
Justin Jefferson Note
Justin Jefferson photo 158. Justin Jefferson WR - (at DET)
In case you didn't know, Jefferson is coming off a ridiculous season with LSU where he tallied 111 receptions for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns over 15 games. He played the big-slot role for them, which is something the Vikings should take into consideration when figuring out how to best deploy him. Unfortunately, Jefferson wound up on the COVID list and is being forced to miss a lot of camp. Still, he's a route-running technician who's playing behind a 30-year-old receiver who's been dealing with back issues. There's an avenue where Jefferson is relied upon as a rookie more than most think, though it would likely require Thielen to be out of the lineup. Under Gary Kubiak/Kevin Stefanski last year, the wide receivers saw just 43.2 percent of the target share (4th-lowest mark in the NFL), making it very difficult for multiple options to be fantasy relevant on a week-to-week basis. Because of that, Jefferson is essentially just a wide receiver handcuff.
8 weeks ago
Irv Smith Jr. Note
Irv Smith Jr. photo 176. Irv Smith Jr. TE - (at DET)
I'm not certain how many people know Smith saw just one fewer target than his teammate Kyle Rudolph in 2019, but that was the case. The difference was their touchdowns, as Rudolph scored six times compared to Smith's two touchdowns. Will that change in 2020? Well, it wasn't due to lack of opportunity, as Smith saw 10 targets in the red zone compared to Rudolph's 11 targets. Touchdowns are a very fickle thing and they can flip-flop this year. Smith is the one ascending up, while Rudolph is moving towards the end of his tenure.
8 weeks ago
Minnesota Vikings Note
Minnesota Vikings photo 186. Minnesota Vikings DST - (at DET)
Kyle Rudolph Note
Kyle Rudolph photo 226. Kyle Rudolph TE - (at DET)
Rudolph scored six touchdowns last season, but overall, it was a disappointing effort from the veteran. He essentially split targets with Irv Smith Jr. (seeing just 48, his lowest since 2014), and had just 39 catches for 367 yards, both well below his usual numbers. Even without Kevin Stefanski, the Vikings are surely going to be a run-first offense once again, which will leave Rudolph searching for targets for the second straight season, well outside of TE1 consideration.
19 weeks ago
Dan Bailey Note
Dan Bailey photo 235. Dan Bailey K - (at DET)
After two years in which he struggled with his accuracy, Bailey bounced back last season by hitting 93.1% of his field-goal attempts, including hitting all three from 50-plus yards. Unfortunately, he saw just 29 attempts, the third straight year in which he saw fewer than 30. Bailey is a decent option in 15-team leagues, but not worth drafting in smaller ones.
7 weeks ago
Olabisi Johnson Note
Olabisi Johnson photo 300. Olabisi Johnson WR - (at DET)
Mike Boone Note
Mike Boone photo 306. Mike Boone RB - (at DET)
Chase McLaughlin Note
Chase McLaughlin photo 331. Chase McLaughlin K - (at DET)
Tajae Sharpe Note
Tajae Sharpe photo 401. Tajae Sharpe WR - (at DET)
Ameer Abdullah Note
Ameer Abdullah photo 447. Ameer Abdullah RB - (at DET)
C.J. Ham Note
C.J. Ham photo 477. C.J. Ham RB - (at DET)
Chad Beebe Note
Chad Beebe photo 543. Chad Beebe WR - (at DET)
Tyler Conklin Note
Tyler Conklin photo 556. Tyler Conklin TE - (at DET)