I’m all in on Adam Thielen and the Minnesota Vikings offense this season.
Coming off a season in which he only played 13 games (really only 12 after getting hurt in the Lions game week 13), Thielen was on pace for a 1,000 yard year. Finishing with 67 catches (95 targets), 726 yards, and 10 touchdowns, Thielen should be primed for another big season. Thielen himself even said he feels rejuvenated going into his 10th NFL season.
*Thielens 1,000 yard pace before injury last season is the reason I love his over 750.5 receiving yards going into the 2022 season. You can read about that and four other receiving overs I like HERE.
When looking at the Minnesota offense, it’s clear that Justin Jefferson will be the number one option, deservedly so. For a guy like Thielen, this causes him to go under the radar, hence being a steal. Also, since Jefferson arrived in 2020, Thielen has enjoyed the two highest scoring touchdown seasons of his career. Websites like The Ringer, have Adam Thielen ranked as their 23rd best wide receiver when it comes to Half PPR scoring. Yahoo has Thielen ranked as their 34th WR. Fantasy pros isn’t high on Thielen going into the season, citing his touchdowns being unsustainable, and pointing to the further ascension of Justin Jefferson.
Keep underrating Adam Thielen, I’ll just continue to be on the right side of history with him.
Look back at Thielens fantasy production in the 2020-2021 seasons since Justin Jefferson arrived:
Through 11 games last season (before getting hurt against the Lions and ending the game with zero yards), Thielen was the overall WR 7 in half ppr scoring. That’s above names like Stefon Diggs, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Keenan Allen, etc. He was on his way to an incredible season before that ankle injury against the Lions. After missing the Steelers and Bears games, Adam played against the Rams but clearly looked hobbled and finished the game with three receptions for 40 yards. Missing the final two games of the season, he finished as the overall WR 28 in the 2021-2022 season.
It’s easy to forget what Thielen did through 11 games fully healthy last season, but it can’t be ignored. He was a top seven WR, and that was in an offense that was all over the place. With new head coach Kevin O’Connell, Thielen should be in an excellent spot to succeed. Being the ‘second’ option could turn people away from him, don’t let that affect you. Justin Jefferson was the WR 5 through those 11 games last season, the two have shown they can co-exist in production from a fantasy standpoint.
Playing 15 games, Thielen was able to rack up 74 catches (108 targets), 925 yards, and 14 touchdowns. His 14 touchdowns ranked third among wide receivers with Tyreek Hill finishing one ahead at 15, and Davante Adams scoring an absurd 18 touchdowns in 14 games. Even with rookie Justin Jefferson having 88 (125 targets), 1,400 receiving yards, and seven touchdowns, Thielen still was a major factor in fantasy leagues.
Despite Jeffersons high production, Thielen finished as the WR 7 in Standard Scoring, WR 8 in Half PPR, and WR 10 in Full PPR.
*The 2019 season saw Thielen struggle with injuries and only play 10 games*
2017-2018 Seasons (Pre Jefferson):
2017- Thielen finished:
Standard Scoring: 11th
Half PPR: 10th
Full PPR: 8th
Thielen finished 7th in Standard Scoring, Half PPR, and Full PPR.
Going into the 2022 season:
Here’s a list of guys that are ranked above Adam Thielen in The Ringers & Yahoo’s rankings:
Jaylen Waddle, Michael Pittman Jr, A.J. Brown, DK Metcalf, Dionte Johnson, Mike Williams, Terry McLaurin, Amari Cooper, Tee Higgins, DJ Moore, Marquise Brown, Darnell Mooney, Brandon Aiyuk, Brandon Cooks.
What does that group of wide receivers have in common? They all averaged less points per game than Adam Thielen in that 11 game sample size last season.
Thielens 14.6 points per game in Half PPR through 11 games before he got hurt, ranked T8 with Stefon Diggs. The only players ahead of him were Cooper Kupp, Deebo Samuel, Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams, Antonio Brown, Justin Jefferson, and Ja’Marr Chase.
Pretty elite company for a guy that people are eager to write off this season.
I’m not sure what Adam Thielen has to do to get more respect. Playing at an elite fantasy football wide receiver level for years now, Thielen keeps chugging along. Kevin O’Connell stepping in as coach should only improve the passing game. We could see the Vikings pass more, which would create more opportunities and targets for Thielen who Kirk Cousins is clearly comfortable with. He’s not the flashiest pick which is why he could get passed over by some of the names mentioned before. Thielen should have a great chance to be able to return to the player we saw in those first 11 games in the 2021 season.
Don’t be surprised if Adam Thielen quietly finishes the season as a top 12 fantasy wide receiver.
*Minnesotas offense could take a massive leap in the 2022-2023 NFL season, read HERE how I’m targeting the Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins over on touchdown passes.*
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