The Minnesota Vikings lost their offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski after the 2019 season. He absconded off to Cleveland to try to fix the Mistake by the Lake. But, they retained who might be the real power behind the throne. They promoted Gary Kubiak to offensive coordinator, and hopefully this means the things we learn in 2019 can actually carry over to 2020. But, what should we remember from the Minnesota Vikings’ 2019 for our 2020 fantasy football drafts?
What to Remember from the 2019 Minnesota Vikings Season
- Adam Thielen’s season crashed and burned in spectacular fashion due to a series of recurring hamstring injuries. Many have noted this means certain doom for Thielen’s fantasy value in 2020, but I am not so down on Thielen. Prior to his week seven-game, wherein he had just two targets before leaving, Thielen averaged 13.13 fantasy points per game in his six contests. His yardage left much to be desired, as he topped 60 yards just twice in his first six games. However, Thielen was a red zone monster for the Vikings. He turned in five touchdowns in his six games, which is a spectacular pace. He paced for 15 red zone targets, which would have tied him with Kenny Golladay and put him one ahead of DeVante Parker.
- For the third straight season, Dalvin Cook missed multiple contests with some injuries. This time, it was a shoulder injury that cost him a couple of games at the end of the year while the Vikings prepped for the playoffs. Prior to that point, however, we finally saw the Dalvin Cook we’d hoped would return after his 2017 injury. He averaged 118.2 yards per game and scored 13 times in 14 games. Weirdly enough, he had a career-high in targets without scoring a receiving touchdown. 2020 Dalvin Cook should be even better and is a top-five back no matter how you slice it. If you slice it right, he’s a top-three running back for 2020. Locked and loaded.
- Kirk Cousins was not a great fantasy football quarterback last season. He posted just 3,603 yards, 26 touchdowns, and six picks. Really, it all came down to Cousins not throwing the ball enough to post numbers, not that he took any sort of step back. He threw the ball just 444 times last year. 19 quarterbacks started at least 15 games last season, and Cousins’ 444 ranked second-to-last, ahead of just Lamar Jackson’s 401 pass attempts. His per-game attempts were a rounding error away from matching Jimmy Garoppolo, a quarterback we all complain doesn’t pass enough. Give Cousins a pass for his low numbers; he and Russell Wilson were the only QBs to have a touchdown rate of over 5% and interception rate below 1.5%.
- Thousands and thousands of fantasy football players rostered Alexander Mattison awaiting the inevitable Dalvin Cook injury. Unfortunately, the injury came at the same time Mattison went down, and rostering him proved useless. Mattison ultimately ended the season with 100 carries and was in some great company. His 4.62 yards per carry tied him with Saquon Barkley for twelfth-best, and he was just .13 off of Josh Jacobs’ 4.75, which ranked tenth for all backs with at least 100 carries. Carrying Mattison was smart, but his ship never came in.
- What a weird season for Stefon Diggs. He took a massive step back from his 102 receptions from last year but upped his yards from 1,021 to 1,130. He turned from a 10.0 yards per reception wide receiver to a guy who notched 17.9 yards per receptions. Did he do anything differently? Was he running different routes? Or, did he just do more with the ball? While, unfortunately, Diggs’ routes data sits behind a data wall at NFL Next Gen Stats, we can look at his air yards data. This year, Diggs’ usage changed drastically. He went from an average depth of target of 8.6, with an average of 4.4 yards after the catch. This year, Diggs had almost the same YAC (4.8) but his average target went 15.1 yards in the air. Diggs worked further downfield this season, which bodes well for his 2020 prospects. Expect Diggs to solidify his spot in fantasy football’s top-fifteen, if not top-ten, next season.
Check out the rest of the What to Remember series as it develops!
(Header Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stefon_Diggs_2016.jpg, cropped under CC BY-SA 4.0)