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Frigga is back to continue to help Vikings fans with fantasy football. If you missed the inaugural post, check it out here. Frigga helped us make sense of the obvious fantasy draft candidates: Adrian Peterson, Greg Jennings, Kyle Rudolph, Blair Walsh, Christian Ponder and Cordarrelle Patterson. But, what other Vikings might you consider drafting for your fantasy team?
Let's say you're in a 12-team standard league. It's the 14th round and you're thinking of maybe taking a flier on someone, or perhaps getting a handcuff and you want to fill your roster with more Vikings players. Frigga, help us make a decision and find some lottery ticket winners!
1. WR Jarius Wright
His recent concussion aside, Wright came on last year as a rookie and continued his development with an excellent training camp. He's going to be the primary slot receiver, but like Greg Jennings, can also line up outside. He's played a significant number of Preseason snaps so far (49) and has caught 3 balls on 6 targets for 26 yards. He's not likely to get the homerun catches playing out of the slot, but in PPR leagues he could be the kind of player that accumulates a lot of the shorter, underneath throws, and knowing he can line up outside, perhaps he can build upon a decent 13.5 yard per reception average from last season. Even more encouraging is that he's picking up where he left off with his yards after that catch so far in the preseason, and has 11 total yards after the catch (3.7 average).
Fantasy Pros consensus projections for Wright are modest (64.4 points for the entire year, or 4 points per game) with only 467 receiving yards. I think he'll do better than that, and would be decent bench fodder especially in a PPR league. If you're looking for a flier, or a sleeper candidate in the 14th round, Jarius Wright could be your guy.
Frigga says: draft late with confidence.
2. WR Jerome Simpson
At this point, with training camp finished and the first 2 Preseason games complete, Jerome Simpson is still listed as the starter opposite Greg Jennings, so why isn't he getting any love in fantasy circles? Many fans believe (myself included) that he is simply a placeholder until Cordarrelle Patterson can get up to speed in the offense. But does that mean Simpson should be avoided at all costs? In the one game he was healthy last season he put up 5.5 fantasy points and had the potential for more if it hadn't been for a pair of pass interference penalties. And so far this preseason he's been targeted 3 times and has 1 catch for 15 yards (in 21 snaps). I know it's an extremely small sample size, and it's not really worth projecting preseason usage to the regular season, but I'm going to do it anyway. If the Vikings average about 63 snaps per game like they did last year, then that would project to three catches for 45 yards each game, or 4.5 fantasy points. That's not much, but if you throw a TD in there every now and then, Simpson could be a decent bench player, at least in the beginning of the year. In the 14th round of a 12-team draft, you could do a lot worse.
Fantasy Pros consensus projections for Simpson are ridiculously low (36.1 points for the entire year), and they expect him to essentially equal his 2012 production with only 300 yards on the year. Assuming Simpson remains the starter heading into the regular season, there's no reason not to doubt that he can exceed what he did last year, especially now that his back injury is behind him and he could be a starter for all 16 games. But, he'll need to show better timing and consistency with Christian Ponder if he hopes to remain the starter for that long.
Frigga says: Draft him on potential, but don't be afraid to cut bait mid-season with a waiver wire upgrade.
3. RB Toby Gerhart
Every fantasy football aficionado (not just Vikings fans) is well-acquainted with Toby Gerhart, especially after 2011 and 2012. He was a waiver wire gem at the end of 2011, and almost everyone who drafted Peterson last year, drafted Gerhart thinking he might get a decent chunk of carries in the first few weeks of the 2012 season. Alas, that never happened. Gerhart will never see a significant chunk of carries in Minnesota, and that limits his value. But as a handcuff to Adrian Peterson (or trade bait for the owner of Adrian Peterson), he does carry some late-round value. Should the unthinkable happen to Peterson again this year, Gerhart is in line for a huge amount of work. In the final 5 games of 2011 where he saw some significant time, Gerhart averaged 5.4 yards per carry and had three games of at least 90 yards. We've seen him be a capable runner in the past, so if he ever gets an opportunity behind the Vikings elite run-blocking offensive line, he'll put up RB2 numbers at worst (with the potential for RB1).
Frigga says: draft him late with confidence.
4. TE John Carlson
I hesitated in adding John Carlson to the list. But consider this: he's played double the snaps of Kyle Rudolph so far in the Preseason (many of them with the 2nd team). No, I don't think he'll ever unseat Rudolph as the primary TE target, but there is a case to be made that 2012 was an aberration. Between his knee injury in the Preseason, and then his concussion mid-year, he was never able to fully practice every week and learn the offense to its fullest. But he's had a much better training camp this year and has hauled in 2 passes on 3 targets so far for 17 yards in the Preseason. I only bring him up for two reasons. First, Musgrave promised us a "Two-TE Offense" when he was hired, but we've never really had the personnel to run it (Rudolph was a rookie opposite Shiancoe during Musgrave's first year, and Carlson was injured last year). If John Carlson is finally healthy, we might finally have some version of it. Second, Kyle Rudolph is clearly one of Ponder's favorite targets and if anything were to happen to him, Carlson is the next man up. I'm not necessarily suggesting that Carlson is worthy of being drafted, but he's definitely someone to keep an eye on during the season and could be a waiver wire pickup should the right circumstances present themselves.
Frigga says: don't draft Carlson, but keep him on your waiver wire radar.
5. QB Matt Cassel
Well, I wasn't going to include Cassel on the list, until I checked out the average draft position from Fantasy Pros and found out the unthinkable: in ESPN leagues he's actually being drafted! Granted, he's not showing up on any of the other sources, and as the 44th ranked QB in average draft position at ESPN, it's not like he's being drafted in standard 10-team leagues. But in deeper leagues, or those that start 2 QBs, I suppose a case could be made for drafting the QB who some see as one of the better backups in the league. But, I'm not buying. There are only three scenarios where Matt Cassel sees the field: if Ponder is injured, in the 4th quarter of a Vikings blowout win or if Ponder is so completely inept on the field that Frazier actually benches him. And if you know anything about how Frazier likes to stick with veterans or how much the offense has struggled in recent years, or the unpredictable nature of injuries, then surely you know that the odds of any of those three scenarios coming to pass are extremely low.
Frigga says: don't draft Cassel, but keep him on your waiver wire radar.
After that, I'm not sure any of the players on the rest of the Vikings offense is worthy of being drafted or scouted on the waiver wire. The only names that are left inspire absolutely no confidence: Stephen Burton, Joe Webb, Rhett Ellison, and Jerome Felton. So, which Vikings players are you targeting as lottery picks in the late rounds of your fantasy football draft?
And it is here at the end the article that we thank Frigga for her inspiration. If you take my advice, and it doesn’t work out…don’t blame me. Blame Frigga, and feel free to use her moniker in your swearing and curse word arsenal…it’s kinda fun. FRIGGA!!!!!!!