Are you the kind of person who always drafts players from your favorite team? Or do you completely disregard them in hopes that some other sap reaches for his team’s mediocre quarterback? Either way, almost every fantasy football “manager” overthinks the simplicity of the fantasy football draft.
If you’re a Minnesota Vikings fan, I have good news for you: The Vikes have an excellent lineup for fantasy football this year. In fact, I’d rank them as one the best. Does it translate to on-the-field success? Who cares, this is your fantasy team we are talking about here!
Here’s my breakdown of each player/position for fantasy football this coming season using their average draft position (ADP). It is a decent way to track what experts are predicting for each player, and for those of you who overthink their rosters, it can tell you where fantasy managers of all levels will draft any particular player.
Here are the Vikings’ rankings in respect to their position and/or overall draft ADP:
Dalvin Cook – ADP 2 (RB/OVR)
Dalvin Cook is ranked behind only Christian McCaffrey in both standard and PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros.com (they used CBS, FANTRAX, and Fantasy Football Calculator for their average rankings). That means you’ll have to be lucky to even have a shot at arguably the best fantasy RB in the NFL next year — especially when you consider that McCaffrey was out for most of last season due to injury.
Cook will be the first Vikings player targeted in most fantasy drafts, and may even be the only one to go in the first round, depending on Justin Jefferson’s perceived value. For that reason, it’s paramount to bribe/cheat/rig your way to the top if you want to assemble the ultimate Vikings fantasy team. That way you can finally warrant naming your team “Can you smell what Dalvin is Cookin’?” or something equally punny.
However, if you’re unable to get a coveted top-three pick in your league, don’t worry! There are still many other Vikings worthy of being drafted this season.
Justin Jefferson – ADP 6.8 (WR)
Jefferson was a top-six fantasy WR last season even though he didn’t start until Week 3. That’s impressive enough for a rookie, but on top of his record-breaking year, he also had some exceptional fantasy scores along the way.
In his game against the Atlanta Falcons, Jefferson had a top-20 scoring performance among all positions across the league last season. He had 166 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions. With one of the highest yards per target (fourth) in the NFL, he has one of the biggest boom potentials and a relatively high floor.
The only downside to Jefferson is a sophomore slump. There’s a scenario where he spends the whole season as the true No. 1 receiver and Adam Thielen gets easier matchups. Last season Jefferson benefitted from Thielen’s reputation and labor, as he was the true No. 1 for most of the season.
Jefferson is probably a second-round receiver behind guys like DeAndre Hopkins, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams based on last season. He’s right there with Stefon Diggs, D.K. Metcalf, and A.J. Brown. All those guys are pretty interchangeable with Jefferson as a solid No. 1 option at receiver.
Adam Thielen – ADP 16.3 (WR)
This is quite a low rating for the seventh-best standard scoring WR last year. Even in PPR Thielen was the 10th WR. With a high floor and high touchdown numbers, Thielen is a sneaky-good WR1 and fantastic WR2.
With an overall ADP of 47, Thielen is in WR2 territory in most leagues, so it’s feasible to pair him with Jefferson while also grabbing other assets in between. Not to say that’s the best strategy, but there are worse ways to go about things. Besides, if one or the other has a bad game, the other will show up with the absence of a bonafide WR3 on the Vikings.
Thielen could get even more opportunities if he and Jefferson switch roles as they did towards the end of last season. Thielen will get more shots against the weakest side of the secondary if Jefferson is an even bigger threat next year.
Kirk Cousins – ADP 18 (QB)
We all know that Kirk Cousins isn’t a super-flashy draft pick, but he was the 11th-best fantasy QB last year. Undeniably, 18th is a little low, especially considering his offense has improved since last season.
Cousins could be a fringe QB1 if you are in a 12-team league (or more) but in reality, he is a relief QB for the bye week. Not a bad option to have in rotation, though, because he is a good play during weak matchups due to his high volume of deep throws to Jefferson and Thielen. There’s always a chance for a 300-plus yard, three to four touchdown game from Cousins.
Cousins has a role, and if anything is slightly underrated, so he’s a good pick-up as long as you’re not reaching for him. Or just send it and pair him with the rest of the Vikings you drafted up to this point.
Irv Smith Jr. – ADP 15 (TE)
Irv Smith Jr. needs to prove he is a TE1 this season to earn any fantasy clout, but he has the receiving talent to be a competent fantasy tight end. He was the 21st-best TE last season while missing games and working behind Kyle Rudolph. This offseason he went on a diet and has some bold predictions for the Vikings’ offense this year.
So, is he worth a draft pick? Certainly, simply because he shouldn’t be on the waiver wire. I think his peak is around TE6 territory, right where T.J. Hockenson, Kyle Pitts, and Dallas Goedert are sitting.
If Smith gets a chance to play the role of WR3 in Minnesota’s offense then he will shine as a solid TE1 in a league where viable fantasy tight ends are hard to come by. He’ll be a later-round pick anyway, so the dream of completing the Vikings 2021 team is still alive! Is that even the goal anymore? I don’t know, but it could be fun.
Alexander Mattison – ADP 49 (RB)
Alexander Mattison is one of the most important handcuff-RBs in the NFL. Cook is bound to miss at least a game or two, and Mattison proved he’s a capable backup last season.
If Cook is on your team, Mattison is definitely worth a late-round pick. Otherwise, he’s going to be an opponent’s trade bait by the end of the season. Especially now that the season is 17 games rather than 16, Cook is going to go through wear and tear and Mattison needs to be there to save the day.
Minnesota Vikings Defense – ADP 20 (DST)
Honestly, the Vikings’ defense is a crapshoot. It will undoubtedly improve from last year, so there’s some value there. But it’s not among the top defenses unless they show some incredible playmaking ability. That, or if the special teams is actually good this season.
After losing Anthony Harris, the interception total will likely go down, but everywhere else should be improved. It remains to be seen, but taking a real late flyer on this defense may be worth the risk, especially if you are trying to complete the all-Vikings fantasy team.
This needs to be taken with a grain of salt when it comes to actual regular-season results though. Fantasy performance doesn’t translate to regular-season records, and this year hinges on the performance of the defense. The offense proved it works and should be even better with an improved offensive line. Mike Zimmer needs a rebound year, and considering it’s an odd year and many players have been added or are returning, there are no excuses for failure.