ESPN has a Live Draft Trends page. For fantasy football players, this is an invaluable resource since it will help you understand Average Draft Position (ADP) heading into your draft(s). ADP refers to when a player, on average, is being selected in fantasy drafts. Understanding ADP is crucial for getting good value on draft day.
The key to winning at fantasy football is about getting value. Anyone can pick a stud first overall. Getting a stud in the mid-late rounds, though, is considerably more difficult. An 8th round pick who performs like a 2nd round pick goes a long way in winning a fantasy championship. Conversely, a 1st round pick who produces like a 5th round pick can sink a season.
It’s all about value, folks. At every stage of the draft, it’s imperative that you’re getting maximum value for your pick. This mean that you’re continually trying to choose players who will outperform their draft slot while simultaneously avoiding players who will under perform. If you pick Bisi Johnson in the last round and he finishes as the 25th best WR, you’ll be thrilled. If you pick Adam Thielen in the second round and he finishes as the 25th best WR, you’ll be disappointed.
In this article, we’ll use ESPN’s Draft Trends to help us decide which Vikings players offer good value. Our breakdown will follow Goldilocks Rules: Too High, Too Low, and Just Right. For the purposes of this article, we have limited ourselves to the Vikings who appear in ESPN’s top 200. In another article, we’ll take a look at some Vikings sleeper picks.
Fantasy Vikings ADP
Dalvin Cook had a strong 2019 season. He offers a tremendously high ceiling, especially in PPR leagues. Gary Kubiak loves screens, so it works out well that Cook excels in the screen game. The issue, though, is that Cook has a very low floor. It’s not just the concerns about his contract. The injury history is also a big concern. Nick Chubb rushed for more yards than Cook last season and was fully healthy. On average, Chubb is being picked more than ten spots lower than Cook.
There are persuasive reasons for and against drafting Thielen. On the one hand, Thielen is Minnesota’s undisputed #1 WR and Stefon Diggs is leaving behind a lot of targets. On the other hand, Thielen turns thirty years old at the end of August and had a significant injury last season. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the player immediately above Thielen’s ADP is Kenny Golladay; the player immediately below is Amari Cooper. Both have higher floors than Thielen. Even still, getting Thielen at the top of Round 4 as a WR1/2 is fair value.
Jefferson has the best chance of being the Vikings’ #2 receiver. Kubiak has mentioned in offseason press conferences that the plan is to allow Jefferson to play in the slot, the position where he had considerable success in college. That being said, the transition to the NFL is still a difficult one for rookies. WR is very, very deep in fantasy. A late-round pick on an upside rookie is worth it, but don’t go much higher.
Vikings players and coaches have been complimentary of Mattison this offseason. There were concerns about where the Vikings chose him in the draft, but Mattison performed well as a rookie. If Cook is traded or gets injured, Mattison will immediately become a RB1. Think about that, folks. You could have a young, talented RB in a run-first offense in the 15th round. If Mattison is available late, you’d be smart to snag him.
With players like Mattison available at this exact range, it would be foolish to pick a Vikings defense that is navigating lots of transition. It’s entirely plausible that Mike Zimmer will once again build a formidable defense by the end of the season. Spending a draft pick on a defense, though, suggests that you’re planning on starting them from Day 1. A bunch of young players (many of whom haven’t even played a preseason snap) versus Aaron Rodgers in Week 1? You’d be better off streaming a defense to start your season.
Say what you want about Cousins, but he can be a valuable fantasy player. He is rock solid. If you spend your early and middle picks loading up on running backs and wide receivers (as you should), you’ll be looking for a value quarterback who won’t sink you. Cousins is your man. Kubiak is going to get stats out of him.
Rudolph is more valuable as a real-life player than a fantasy player. He is a good option if you’re looking for a steady vet. Keep in mind, though, that you’re largely relying on red zone production to manufacture big weeks. If you’re OK with that, then Rudolph would be a fine pick in the later rounds.