Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Going into the 2013 College Football season it was “Tank for Teddy” for every fan of every team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback. As the season wore on, Teddy was steady, but unspectacular. He plummeted to the end of the first round because he showed little development from his sophomore to junior year and draft experts deemed him as a safe, but low-ceiling prospect. Why do I bring this up? Two years in, and Teddy has been the type of quarterback that won’t lose you games, but he won’t win you games either.
From a fantasy football perspective, that gives us very little to be excited about. Teddy threw 14 touchdowns in each of his first two seasons and that’s not even close to being enough. I’ve always compared him to Alex Smith with less speed. So far, that’s what he’s been. He refuses to take many shots down field and when he does, he’s inaccurate with his placement. His velocity leaves a lot to be desired and despite his youth, the lack of development he’s shown from his sophomore year at Louisville until his sophomore year at Minnesota is very alarming for his long-term dynasty outlook.
Plain and simple, Teddy will be a quarterback in this league for a long time, but he’ll never be a quarterback you want to be starting on your fantasy team. His January ADP was the 19th quarterback off the board, so while many people have already recognized his limitations, you may have someone in your league that’s still infatuated by youth and potential. Unfortunately, the potential just isn’t there for my hometown teams signal caller.
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A career backup up to this point. He’s had one season of starting double-digit games and that was in 2010 for the Detroit Lions. He threw two more touchdowns in 2010 in five less games than Teddy did in 2015. That said, he won’t sniff the field as long as Teddy is healthy in 2016, but since he’s under contract for another season, he has the slightest of value in a deep roster 2QB league.
A small framed rookie out of Old Dominion, Heinicke is a career third string quarterback at best. The Vikings will bring in competition this off-season. If Heinicke is on your team, he’s either your son, brother, cousin or friend.
The guy is an absolute specimen. Sits out the last 15 games of the 2014 season due to suspension and returns in 2015 to win his third rushing title at 30 years old. Before 2015 he was right above the 2,000 carry mark, and now he’s comfortably in the danger zone for career carries. As my first sentence stated, the man is a specimen, so he’s an exception to the rule. Despite looking significantly slower in the open field, his power and explosiveness is still evident. He managed a healthy 4.5 yards per carry and had his most receiving yards since 2010. Signed through 2017, if you’re an owner, you should be comfortable that it’s Peterson’s backfield for at least one more season. If he starts to show signs of wear, that will be addressed in 2017. As of now, the Vikings have a team that can compete for the Super Bowl and Peterson will continue to head the offense. If you’re rebuilding, wait until the preseason and trade Peterson for a 2017 first rounder and a prospect if at all possible.
Minnesota’s SPARQ hero (the SPARQ zero I’ll get to in the next section). McKinnon is a great example of how raw, but highly athletic players can develop into a starter quality talent. He only rushed 52 times, but made the most of them by averaging 5.2 yards per carry. The biggest win for McKinnon was his growth in the passing game. He increased from 5.0 to 8.2 yards per reception and had one drop (3.5%) compared to three (7.3%) last year. Overall, he just looked more comfortable across the board. McKinnon is under contract through 2017 and is one of the best handcuffs in all of dynasty. If you can grab him for cheap, you’re getting high attainable upside at a discount. Take advantage of an owner’s impatience.
When Adrian Peterson returned, we all knew Asiata would take a backseat. Not only did that happen, but he also lost the majority of the third down work as well. McKinnon was the clear preference behind Peterson. Asiata finished with 48 total touches. He’s a free agent and turning 29 in July. He should be completely off the dynasty radar.
If you’re an avid College Football fan or a devy league player, you’d remember that Diggs was a five-star recruit when he signed with Maryland. Durability concerns and poor quarterback play at Maryland turned Diggs into an afterthought leading up to the draft. The Vikings got a steal in the fifth round and realized it four weeks into the season when he made his debut against Denver and put up a line of 6-87-0. His following three weeks he combined for 19-332-2 and turned Twitter into a frenzy before cooling off the rest of the way. Diggs should be a solid WR3 moving forward, but WR2 numbers will be hard to come by with Teddy check-down in town. He’s ideally suited to be a second option or a slot threat and the Vikings should address the wide receiver position early in the draft.
Not the season Vikings ownership and fans had hoped for when trading for the deep threat. A line of 39-473-2 on 72 targets in 16 games is horrendous. Coincidentally, in his rookie year he was also targeted 72 times and had 39 receptions, but for 756 yards and six touchdowns. If Wallace doesn’t get cut this off-season, I’d be floored. He’s due a whopping $11.45 million and despite the Vikings need at receiver, Wallace is nowhere near that value. Keep an eye out on his landing spot if he indeed gets cut. A perceived “perfect fit” might rejuvenate some value.
What happens when you play 12 games and put up 475 yards and two touchdowns? You get drafted as a WR3 in startups, of course. Johnson wasn’t even close to being relevant in 2015, however. A bust would be an understatement after putting up a line of 9-127-0. Rumor has it that he dealt with numerous injuries that derailed his season. I play in a basketball league against Johnson and let me tell you, he looks healthier than an ox, but what do I know? What I do know is he’s not that good, but he’s only due $600,000 and isn’t a horrible stash in the deepest of leagues. With the Vikings having a bare cupboard at the receiver position, they may be forced to give him some field time and he’s shown rapport with Bridgewater.
Wright has now played four seasons, but has yet to catch more than 42 passes, eclipse 590 yards or score more than three touchdowns. He’s a below average slot receiver and wasn’t useful on a team light at the position. He’s safe to left on the waivers in every format I can think of.
“Flash” is the perfect nickname for Patterson. It not only describes his speed, but it describes the amount of time he was relevant. He put up a gaudy line of two reception for ten yards and zero touchdowns. In fact, he was better in the run game, getting two carries and rushing for 15 yards. He’s the player that gives SPARQ a bad name. Some players are rawer than a sushi joint and never figure it out. Patterson is one of those guys and one that just doesn’t care, it seems. He fumbled late against the Packers in the division clinching game and was seen laughing on the sideline moments later. He should see out his rookie contract since he’s definitely a premier asset in the return game. If you aren’t in a league that credits return yardage, it’s best to leave Patterson in the dumpster bin.
Had 12 receptions for 144 receptions and zero touchdowns in 16 games. Julio Jones eclipsed those numbers in three separate games this season. Thielen runs a 4.45 forty and has shown glimpses of talent, but needs some serious development and opportunity to be worthy of an add in leagues.
Isaac Fruechte and Terrell Sinkfield
Signed to futures contracts, but are huge longshots to make the roster in 2016.
Rudolph was supposed to be an elite tight end by now. Injuries derailed his career and his teaser at the 2013 Pro Bowl where he was the MVP is long forgotten. Norv Turner was expected to resurrect Rudolph, but he was touchdown dependent like he’s always been. 49 catches for 495 yards and five touchdowns in your fifth season just isn’t good enough. Especially when you have a risk averse quarterback and you managed to play 16 games. I’m still holding out hope he can make it into TE1 status in 2016, but odds are stacked heavily against that. As of now, he’s a high-end TE2 at best and should be looking over his shoulder because of the next guy I’ll mention.
The fifth rounder out of Southern Illinois only had ten receptions for 89 yards, but we’ve learned you can’t expect much from rookie tight ends. Pruitt is a natural hands catcher with blocking ability and has the potential to be a solid tight end in the future. With the position lacking talent, Pruitt is a nice, dirt cheap target for owners. In a couple years, he could supplant Rudolph and sneak into the TE1 status. Talent is there, but the desire needs to match.
A do it all tight end that tore his patellar tendon in week 17. Ellison has never had value, and after this injury, he’ll have a hard time making the roster. Ignore and move on.
- Rookie Profile: Josh Reynolds, WR Texas A&M - April 25, 2017
- Running Back Confidence Zones: Part Four - March 8, 2017
- Running Back Confidence Zones: Part Three - March 8, 2017