Under most circumstances, my fantasy football model downgrades investing high draft capital in players approaching the wrong side of a 30-years-of-age threshold. It also advises against buying in on players coming off an injury-plagued season.
There are always exceptions, however, and for 2020, that outlier is Minnesota Vikings dependable veteran wideout Adam Thielen.
In PPR (points-per-reception) leagues, Thielen has been a highly sought after commodity on the fantasy scene; finishing as the overall WR7 in 2018 and WR8 in 2017 after posting 204 receptions, 2,649 yards and 13 touchdowns over that span. If he can stay healthy in 2020, fantasy owners are looking at a true steal at Thielen’s current ADP; falling anywhere from the mid-third round to early fourth-round.
What Are the Oddsmakers Saying?
The oddsmakers are bullish on the veteran’s return to prominence as DraftKings Sportsbook has Thielen’s total receiving yards number in 2020 set at 1,100.5 yards.
Thielen’s Fantasy Value in 2020
The Vikings’ game plans last season became so focused on the legs of star running back Dalvin Cook, that top wide receiver Stefon Diggs voiced his complaints publicly; leading to his eventual trade to the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
As our SI Gambling colleague Roy Larking previously highlighted,
“Minnesota finished in the middle of the pack offense in 2019, with 353.5 total yards per game and eighth overall with 25.4 points per game. The Vikings pass offense dragged the numbers down some as Minnesota ranked 23rd with 220.2 pass yards per game.”
Top returning wideout Adam Thielen and Cousins have great chemistry and fantasy owners will be looking for a resurgence from the top tandem in 2020. The Vikings have attempted to fill Diggs’ void by investing a first-round pick on former LSU standout receiver Justin Jefferson in this year’s NFL Draft.
For where he was selected in drafts last summer at the Fantasy Football World Championships (FFWC), Thielen disappointed fantasy owners in 2019.
The former Minnesota State standout dealt with multiple injuries, forcing him to miss six games in 2019 that saw him post a paltry total of 30 receptions for 418 yards. With Diggs up in Buffalo and Jefferson needing time to learn the playbook and earn Cousins’ trust, my model projects Thielen as a great buy-low candidate. If healthy, my numbers see a return to his 2018 volume that produced 153 targets, 113 receptions, 1,373 receiving yards, and nine touchdowns.
2020 Vikings Schedule
Kirk Cousins is not someone I see bouncing back into QB1 range in fantasy football in 2020, but I do see value in going over his betting projection.
Back in May, Thielen’s receiving number stood at 1,199.5. However, following consistent steam on the under the oddsmakers were forced to adjust this number lower by 99 yards. Despite the run-heavy offensive philosophy, I believe there is both value in fantasy football in investing in Adam Thielen as a low-end WR1 / high WR2 for a player primed for a rebound in 2020 as well as going over a projection that offers more value at the lower number.
The Play: OVER 1,100.5 passing yards (-110)
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