Adam Thielen lit up the scoreboard in 2020. The Vikings traded his running mate, Stefon Diggs, in the 2019 offseason, but that was ok as they then used their first-round pick they got from Buffalo to draft one of the best receivers in the league, Justin Jefferson. Thielen and Jefferson were one of the hardest to cover wide receiver combos in the NFL last season and both produced all-Pro type seasons. Thielen has been known to have temper issues on the sidelines, but when he is locked in, you can’t find a better receiver in the NFL. Thielen now plays Robin to Jefferson’s Batman and both will need to be on top of their games if the Vikings want to griddy their way into a deep postseason run.
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Thielen had a record-setting year in 2020. While he was nowhere near his career-high in receptions or receiving yards in a season, he did shatter his previous career-high in touchdown catches with 14 in 2020. This was because of his monster games where he caught 2 touchdowns in games against the Seahawks, Bears, and Cowboys. This is high touchdown catch rate is probably what saved his fantasy season as Thielen struggled a little. He had 6 games with under 10 points and 8 games with under 15 points. But he did offset some of his bad games with some truly spectacular games, like his 28.3 point game against the Cowboys. Thielen was a little inconsistent last season, but he is one of the best boom-or-bust guys fantasy has to offer.
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Thielen should notch another great season in his belt this upcoming season. Our numbers predict that Thielen will return to the 1,000 yards receiving club, but regress drastically in the touchdown catches department. Thielen should be a huge pain to opposing defenses because of his immaculate route running ability and great hands. He might not have speed, but he makes up for it by making borderline impossible catches everywhere on the field. Thielen is a great receiver and should make many fantasy owners happy in the 2021 season.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 47, Rounds 3-4, WR18
Auction Value: $23
Adam Thielen might be behind his fellow teammate Justin Jefferson, but that doesn’t mean he has no value in fantasy. Being more a WR2 and around guys like Ceedee Lamb and Robert Woods is no slight to any of these players. It’s just that players like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, and Stefon Diggs are going to get more receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns which is fine. Being a WR2 with upside like Thielen is a good spot to be in. Thielen has produced for fantasy owners in the past 5 seasons we know that the consistency is there. Thielen also has the benefit of playing in a stacked offense where everywhere should be able to gobble up yards like it’s breakfast. Thielen is an upper-end boom-or-bust player who could explode and help fantasy owners nationwide in a pinch.
Touches and age are a real concern for Thielen. Thielen is now 30 years old and has had over 600 touches in his career. He has also suffered from concussions and hamstring injuries and all of those things are bound to add up. Whether that is now or later remains to be determined, but you might want to air on the side of caution if you draft Thielen. Thielen also suffers from having a better wide receiver, in Justin Jefferson, alongside. This means that touches will be taken away from Thielen to the direction of Jefferson which will limit Thielen’s stat line. We could see Thielen in WR3 or on waiver wires this season, which would be sad to see from a receiver who was top 10 in the league a couple of seasons ago.
Adam Thielen wasn’t a perennial top 10 receiver by accident. Remember, in the last season where he played all 16 games, he caught 113 passes for 1373 yards and 9 touchdowns. Like Thielen is still a stud, it’s just that his surroundings have changed a little. Instead of Stefon Diggs, he has Justin Jefferson to share catches with. And that might be a good thing because when defenses are focused on Jefferson, that leaves Thielen with one-on-one coverage for him to burn. Thielen is still a big-name, big-time receiver who can get it done for fantasy owners all across the land.
Minnesota Vikings Offense
The Minnesota Vikings offense is one of the scariest to face in the NFL. It is a pick your poison matchup where any decision you make is the wrong one. Do you want to try to stop Dalvin Cook and the explosive run game? Cool, then Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen can either slice or dice their way down the field or throw bombs over your head, it’s your choice. Or do you want to stop that lethal passing attack and can afford to give up some yards on the ground? Alright, then you will only have to deal with one of the best running backs in the league in Dalvin Cook, and hope he doesn’t rip your linebackers to shreds. There are no good defensive options with the Vikings because of how balanced they are. Last year they gained the 4th most yards and scored the 11th most points in the league. They were efficient in both rushing and passing despite rushing the 4th most amount of times and passing the 6th fewest amount of times. Regardless, this team has weapons everywhere and will give defenses issues no matter what they try to shut down.
Strength of Schedule
The Vikings just missed out on the postseason last year and won’t have an easier time making it in 2021. The Vikings have the 5th hardest schedule next season and that’s because they have to play the NFC West, AFC North, Cowboys, Panthers, and Chargers. This is a tough blow for the Vikings as they have to play the two hardest divisions in football. In those two divisions, there is a possibility that seven out of eight teams make the playoffs, that’s how good the teams in those divisions are. So, looking at the Vikings’ tougher games, they have to play the Packers, Bears, Chargers, Seahawks, Rams, Cardinals, 49ers, Steelers, Ravens, and Browns. Wow, typing it out now, it looks like a murderers’ row of teams to play. The only easy-ish games the Vikings get to play are their games against the Panthers, Cowboys, Bengals, and Lions. If I was a Vikings fan, I would go out and buy some heartache medication before the season because this season could be more stressful than any season yet.
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