NFL Brains Ignore Adam Thielen in One Major Area
Adam Thielen, a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, watches the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on August 27, 2021 in Kansas City, Missouri, the United States. Denny Medley of USA TODAY Sports is required credit.
Adam Thielen is rather unpopular in a very prominent football arena leading up to the 2022 session — fantasy football.
Thielen has missed 15% of Minnesota Vikings football games over the past two seasons, yet he still ranks third in the NFL in touchdown receptions. Surely a significant indicator for fantasy football managers?
The Vikings spent the offseason acquiring an offensive-minded coaching staff, so it’s puzzling that ESPN ranks Thielen as ‘WR38’ among all NFL receivers going into late-summer fantasy drafts. For those unfamiliar with fantasy football, the ESPN ranking means that fantasy brains perceive 37 better WRs than Thielen on tap for the 2022 season.
Indeed, DeVonta Smith of the Philadelphia Eagles and youngster Treylon Burks of the Tennessee Titans are bedfellows with Thielen.
Even bizarre is the fact that no one appears to have a plausible explanation for Thielen’s oddly low stock. Thielen will turn 32 in August, so his view for 2022 isn’t entirely geriatric. Still, his fantasy forecast across the board is lower than folks — particularly Vikings fans — would expect.
Additionally, Thielen will not be demoted. He will take over the team’s WR2 duties in Minnesota once more, falling behind Justin Jefferson, although he will continue to hold a commanding lead over K.J. Osborn, who flourished as WR3 in 2021. In fairness to fantasy heads, Thielen hasn’t accrued 1,000+ receiving yards in a season since 2018. Yet, when Thielen’s yardage production slowed for unknown reasons, his redzone exposure and subsequent touchdowns spiked — almost like a seesaw.
Since the start of 2020, Thielen has caught a touchdown in 55% of Vikings games and 64% of games in which he personally played. His 18 games with a touchdown-scored rank third in the NFL since 2020 behind Davante Adams (19) and Mike Evans (19).
Jul 30, 2021; Eagan, MN, United States; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
And in those two seasons, Thielen ranks 12th in the NFL in PPR fantasy points among all WRs. Ergo, the historical clip of 12th-best leaguewide directly clashes with the ‘WR38’ stock detailed by ESPN.
Thielen isn’t a receiving-yards merchant like in 2017 or 2018, but his knack for scoring has increased over the last three years.
The Minnesota State alumnus has played more games for the Vikings in his career than Chuck Foreman, Ahmad Rashad, Randy Moss, Robert Smith, and Gary Zimmerman.
Thielen’s presence on the 2022 roster will be his first Vikings experience without Mike Zimmer at the helm.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).