clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Evaluating the Vikings in Fantasy Football

New, comments

Where the Vikings rank this year against other players

Greetings fellow Vikings fans.

On July 26th, I introduced myself to all of you, and told you my story, and more importantly, the story of my girlfriend, Amanda Sanchez. On August 3rd, Amanda passed away at the age of 26, after 9+ month battle with terminal brain cancer. I ask that all of you keep her loved ones in your thoughts and prayers.

In the meantime, fantasy football draft season is looming large. As a Vikings fan, it’s quite interesting to see that the Vikings have a really strong possibility of having players in the top 10 at each position, which does not happen for a single team very often. In terms of QB, RB, WR and TE, no team had a top 10 player at all four positions, but that’s very possible for Minnesota this season.

Below are my rankings of the top 10 players at the four previously mentioned positions. Along with that is an evaluation of where the Vikings stand among them. My rankings are based on previous stats, strength of schedule, and surrounding parts. Assume the format here is half-point PPR. Pick apart at will.

Quarterback

  1. Deshaun Watson
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. Cam Newton
  4. Tom Brady
  5. Russell Wilson
  6. Kirk Cousins
  7. Drew Brees
  8. Carson Wentz
  9. Phillip Rivers
  10. Jared Goff

It’s not out of the questions that Kirk Cousins finishes in the top 5, much like Brett Favre in 2009. The only reason I’ve held him out is because Minnesota’s schedule at times is brutal, not only in terms of opponents, but logistically. Home to Green Bay, followed by road games in New England and Seattle are a brutal slate, particularly on the cusp and in the first week of most fantasy football playoffs. Having two excellent wide receivers, a running back who can catch the ball and play in the shotgun, and a tight end who is outstanding in the red zone, I might surprise many of you when I say that Cousins might not eclipse 4,000 yards like the previous three seasons. I actually believe his efficiency will increase, and his defense will provide him shorter fields. The benefit of a running game is something he never had in our nation’s capital, which will eat into his passing yards a bit as well. Likely, he will throw the ball less, complete more passes, but possibly throw more touchdowns.

Watson is a bold number one, but his tape from last year is genuinely eye-popping, and he plays on a team loaded with good players. Rodgers is above Cam simply because Green Bay I don’t believe will play defense as well as Carolina, and thus, require Rodgers to throw more to lead his team back late in games. Wilson was the top fantasy quarterback last season by a pretty wide margin, but Seattle has seemingly done nothing to improve their squad. Drew Brees is actually out of the top 10 rankings on most platforms (ESPN, Yahoo), but no Mark Ingram runs the first four weeks to me will turn into swing passes. If Carson Wentz didn’t have the question of his knee, he would likely be in my top five, possibly top three. Goff and Rivers will have numbers that are very similar. Rivers simply gets an edge because he will likely have to throw a little bit more.

Running Back

  1. Le’Veon Bell
  2. Todd Gurley
  3. David Johnson
  4. Ezekiel Elliot
  5. Saquon Barkley
  6. Dalvin Cook
  7. Alvin Kamara
  8. Melvin Gordon
  9. Kareem Hunt
  10. Leonard Fournette

Prior to tearing his ACL last season, Dalvin Cook was off to a staggering start to his NFL career. He averaged 4.8 yards per carry, and showed he can play all three downs, and line up as a wide receiver. I can’t justify placing him in the top five however, as all five players ahead of him are on teams that will be more dependent on them. Two other factors could hamper Cook from being in the top five as well. First, Latavius Murray might be in the best shape of his career, and all indications are that he will get touches as Minnesota tries to keep Cook as fresh as they can in hopes of a good postseason. Second, Roc Thomas has worked extremely hard to take on the Jerick McKinnon role, and could catch quite a few passes out of the backfield. Don’t be shocked if Cook has plays where he is on the field with another one of those backs at the same time.

For me, Le’Veon Bell is ahead of Todd Gurley because he is playing for a new contract, and he plays with a more polished quarterback. Both are super talents, and picking either first overall is a good choice. David Johnson and Ezekiel Elliot are both on teams that don’t look as though they’ll get a whole lot from their team’s passing games. Elliot could have more carries, but Johnson could have more touches. Saquon Barkley in my opinion will lead the league in rushing, as a rookie has done so each of the previous two seasons. He’s a great receiver too, but a team with OBJ and Sterling Shepard will keep his reception total in check a little bit. Alvin Kamara could be the top fantasy scorer in the league while Mark Ingram serves his suspension, but it’s very possible New Orleans lightens his workload once both are playing. Melvin Gordon is on an offense loaded with talent, and playing with Phillip Rivers puts him ahead of Kareem Hunt for me. Leonard Fournette is a big wild card. He is in my top 10 only because of volume. His yards per carry from last season frightens me.

Wide Receiver

  1. Antonio Brown
  2. DeAndre Hopkins
  3. Julio Jones
  4. Michael Thomas
  5. Odell Beckham Jr.
  6. Keenan Allen
  7. A.J. Green
  8. T.Y. Hilton
  9. Davante Adams
  10. Stefon Diggs/Adam Thielen

Come at me (bro) for putting Diggs and Thielen both at number 10. But both players will put up very similar numbers. Thielen will get his by sheer volume of catches, having 91 in 2017. Diggs is a big play threat, who was graded as the top receiver on contested catches a season ago. He will get a few more touchdowns, Thielen will get a few more catches. Both will be in the neighborhood of 1,200 yards, similar to Demaryius and Decker in 2013. They won’t get too much higher because the Vikings have a more potent rushing attack, and a better defense than that team did. Simply put, it was too difficult to pick one of them to slot at 10. Draft at your own discretion.

Antonio Brown has been the number one fantasy wide receiver the last few years. Until that changes for a whole season, there is zero reason to believe otherwise. DeAndre Hopkins is arguably the most physically gifted receiver in the NFL right now, and is finally playing with a strong quarterback. Julio and Michael Thomas are ahead of Odell Beckham for me simply because they both play in a dome, and in a division where the weather is more receiver friendly throughout the season. After multiple ACL tears, Keenan Allen was electric in 2017, and a missing Hunter Henry could have him see more targets. A.J. Green is Mr. Consistent, despite very inconsistent quarterback play. T.Y. Hilton is the only weapon that Andrew Luck has, and their chemistry has always been fantastic. Davante Adams is here because the top receiver for Aaron Rodgers puts up big numbers every season.

Tight End

  1. Rob Gronkowski
  2. Zach Ertz
  3. Travis Kelce
  4. Greg Olsen
  5. Evan Engram
  6. Jimmy Graham
  7. Delanie Walker
  8. Kyle Rudolph
  9. Jack Doyle
  10. Charles Clay

Kyle Rudolph has been nothing short of an enigma for fantasy football owners. He has never exceeded 840 yards and has never posted double digit touchdowns in a season. He isn’t particularly outstanding running with the ball in the open field, but towers over defenders, making him a factor in the red zone. This season he will play alongside the most polished quarterback he has every played with by a long stretch. Anything short of 800 yards and eight touchdowns would be a massive disappointment. Another big reason he’s in the top 10 is because the talent pool at tight end this season is not very deep. He could fall as far as the 12th round in many drafts.

After trading Brandin Cooks, and with Julian Edelman suspended the first four games of the 2018 campaign, it shouldn’t shock anyone to see Gronk as my top rated tight end. He still might’ve been there regardless, but those factors should have him see even more targets than he did last season. Zach Ertz is ahead of Travis Kelce because of more proven quarterback play, and a better defense that will put the offense back on the field more often. Greg Olsen could be the leading receiver for Carolina this year, so it shouldn’t shock anyone to see him in the top five. Even playing with OBJ, Evan Engram could finish as a top three tight end before the season is out. I was shaky on putting Jimmy Graham where I did, given the history of Packers tight ends not typically being big factors in fantasy football, but I expect him to exceed 10 touchdowns. Delanie Walker is the one player here who I feel owners will know exactly what they are getting, someone reliable with solid hands, and very underrated running in the open field. Jack Doyle and Charles Clay could’ve gone either way, but a better quarterback gives Doyle the edge for me.