The Minnesota Vikings and Stefon Diggs’ mutual parting of ways is one of the least surprising developments of the 2020 offseason. Diggs redefined vaguebooking, routinely making social media posts that hinted at his displeasure with the organization. He also made not-so-vague displays of frustration with hyper-conservative QB Kirk Cousins. Be careful what you wish for Stefon because you’re now a Buffalo Bill. You get the polar opposite of Kirk Cousins with Josh Allen. But, what does this mean for our 2020 fantasy football leagues?
Stefon Diggs Traded to Buffalo
According to an NFL.com report (teams are barred from making official statements right now), the Bills acquired Stefon Diggs and a 2020 seventh-round selection. In return, the Vikings obtained the #22 overall pick from Buffalo, as well as a fifth and sixth-round pick in 2020 and a 2021 fourth-round selection. All told, it was a better haul than the Texans received for DeAndre Hopkins. Diggs will be around for a while, as he’s in entering year two of a five-year contract. All told, it’s a great deal for the Bills. For the Vikings? Well, we’ll get to them.
Stefon Diggs in Buffalo
Stefon Diggs gives Buffalo a true #1 wide receiver, something I said Josh Allen has needed for a while now. Diggs goes atop a WR corps that includes John Brown and Cole Beasley, as well as sophomores tight end Dawson Knox and Devin Singletary. By adding Diggs to these weapons, Josh Allen suddenly has something to work with.
There are concerns that Josh Allen’s inaccurate deep ball style won’t work well for Stefon Diggs. I’m not exceptionally worried about that. John Brown acted as the team’s #1 wide receiver last year (and is a poor man’s Diggs). Per playerprofiler.com, 74 of John Brown’s 92 targets were catchable balls (80%). Diggs last season had just 64 catchable balls (82.8%), so by raw numbers, Diggs will have more catchable balls in Buffalo. Sure, he will not have the same rate, but by using John Brown as a proxy, he will have plenty of catchable targets.
For his career, Diggs is yet to play a full season (though he’s played fifteen games in each of the last two seasons). The Bills received a locked-and-loaded 1,000-yard receiver (1,057 yards per sixteen games for his career). Since Diggs entered the league, only eleven active wide receivers have a higher yard per target (8.66) I’m slamming in as a high-end WR2 without a second thought. John Brown will lose targets and falls more into the backend WR3/flex option discussion as the offense likely doesn’t have it in it to support two top-20 wide receivers.
This doesn’t move the needle a ton for me with regards to Josh Allen. A lot of his value is tied up in his legs, and he remains in the QB6 to QB9 ballpark, depending on where the chips fall.
The Vikings Without Stefon Diggs
If you believed fantasy football twitter around December, Adam Thielen was washed, he was the past. Stefon Diggs was the future [stocks up and rocket ship emojis]. That sort of thing is usual for dynasty twitter, who stare directly at the things in front of them and overreact in the name of taking a long-term view of the game. Obsessively micromanaging aside, this is still not great news for Adam Thielen. Thielen’s essentially hit his target ceiling in 2018, totaling 153 targets in 16 games. He could add an extra, say, 20 targets, but he’s already one of the most targeted WRs in the game.
That having been said, removing Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota WR corps reveals a bleak reality behind Thielen. Everyone’s favorite weekly sleeper that did nothing, Olabisi Johnson, sits as the #2, and behind him is megabust Laquon Treadwell. The Vikings will likely use that #22 and turn around and take a replacement wide receiver for Diggs. This means positive things for the WR corps, as Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. likely get a bigger portion of targets (the Vikings love two-TE sets). Irv Smith moves into sneaky sleeper territory and Rudolph might just have a place in the top-ten now, pending what the Vikings do in the draft.
It goes without saying, this will move Kirk Cousins into high end QB2 range with limited upside unless Minnesota makes a big splash.
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(Header Image Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Stefon_Diggs_2016.jpg, cropped under CC BY-SA 4.0)