by Big O's Fantasy Guidance

Kirk Cousins: Kirk Cousins has weapons. We all know and love Dalvin Cook and Justin Jefferson in fantasy and now Cousins will have Irv Smith Jr. back from meniscus surgery and another year developed K.J. Osborn who showed flashes of his upside last season. In his four seasons on the Vikings, Cousins has finished the year as the QB12, QB15, QB11, and QB11 in fantasy. It comes as no surprise that the two QB11 finishes in each of the past two seasons coincide with the arrival of Justin Jefferson. In 2020, the former Michigan State Spartan recorded a career high in fantasy PPG at 19.1. Justin Jefferson’s record setting rookie season was in 2020 which again is not a coincidence. Jefferson is that skilled of a wideout that Cousins is basically locked in as a top 15 QB. Unfortunately, Cousins’ upside is never exciting as he is a pure pocket passer with very limited rushing production. In his four seasons on the Vikings, Cousins has only rushed for a combined 457 yards and 4 touchdowns. The 33-year-old will likely record at least 4,000 passing yards and 30 passing touchdowns for a third consecutive season. You will be able to draft Cousins very late or possibly pick him up off the waiver wire during the season. If you want a safe but low ceiling quarterback, Cousins is that guy.            

Dalvin Cook: When you draft Cook, you have to expect that he will miss at least a couple games throughout the season. Throughout the five seasons of his career, Cook has played in only 51 out of 86 total possible regular season games. That means the Florida State product has only played in 59.3% of his total possible regular season games played in his career. However, he has become more durable in his past three seasons starting in 41 of the 49 total Vikings games. Cook ran for 4.7 yards per carry last season and gave us no indication that his legs are slowing down. Additionally, the 26-year-old was tied for fourth in the league in 20+ yard carries with nine and tied for ninth in the longest rush with a 66 yard scamper last season. Positive touchdown regression is also in the cards for Cook as he only recorded six touchdowns last season with only one multi-touchdown game. When we compare this to his 2020 campaign, Cook had 17 total touchdowns and four multi-touchdown games that year. We have to recognize that Cook was fifth in the league in rushing yards with 1,159 and fourth in rushing yards per game with 89.2 in 2021. The missed games and lack of touchdowns were truly to blame for why Cook finished the year as the RB15 in half point PPR last season. Cook’s current consensus ADP at the 1.05 spot gives you no sort of discount for the build-in risk he carries every year.  

Justin Jefferson: He hold the record for the most receiving yards by a player during their first two seasons. He just keeps getting better and better, and we could see him overtake Kupp in 2022. He's our highest ranked wide receiver.

Adam Thielen: He's one of the best red zone threats in the league and has Cousins' trust, but he's having a harder time staying healthy and age is creeping up on him quick. He's a high-end WR3 with WR1 upside.

KJ Osborn: No standalone value, but if Thielen misses time he could be a decent WR3 fill in at times.

Irv Smith Jr: He's a TE2 with TE1 upside. If he can stay healthy, he can be a weekly starting option who you can draft in the later rounds.      

Alexander Mattison: Mattison was given the opportunity to be a workhorse running back last season in the four games that Dalvin Cook missed due to injury. The Boise State product averaged 21.5 rushing attempts, 89 rushing yards, 0.5 rushing TDs, 5.5 targets, 4.75 receptions, 40.5 receiving yards, and 0.25 receiving TDs per game in his four starts. I know it’s a very small sample size, but if we extrapolate those numbers to a full 17-game season, Mattison would’ve finished as the RB2 in 2021 with 338.7 fantasy points. This is obviously an unrealistic outlook because Cook would need to miss the entire season and it’s much more difficult to produce those types of numbers over 17 games rather than just 4 games. These outrageous numbers simply paint a picture of the upside Mattison possesses if Cook misses time.  The problem is that it’s no guarantee that Cook will get injured and how much time he will miss.

Owen Klukas is a fantasy-football enthusiast with over 10 years of experience playing the game. You can find more of his articles at Big O's Fantasy Guidance

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