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 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.”
Keenum filled in admirably this season after the Vikings lost Sam Bradford to yet again another knee injury. For a journeyman backup making $2 million on a one year contract, he played fantastically. He was highly efficient and played well enough to lead a stacked roster to the NFC Championship game. Finishing the year as fantasy QB15 in points per game with an average of 15.9, Keenum came out of nowhere to become fantasy relevant in super-flex and 2QB leagues.
He has played himself to a BIG payday this off-season as an unrestricted free agent. Many were under the assumption that he’d follow his offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur when the talk was Shurmur heading to Arizona. Now that Shurmur took the New York Giants job, that narrative has all but dried up. The Giants have indicated that they plan on Eli Manning being their starting QB for the 2018 season and could also possibly select a quarterback with the number two overall selection in this year’s draft.
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Wait, we’re supposed to be talking fantasy here aren’t we? Yeah, we’re leading up to that. Many are thinking the Vikings will franchise Keenum or sign him to a Mike Glennon-plus like contract. As a Vikings fan, I don’t want to pay him that kind of money. Let some other QB-needy team lay out the red carpet for his mediocre performance.
Keenum was in an ideal situation this year with an elite defense and a great supporting cast at the skill positions. I personally see this year as a flash in the pan and wouldn’t count on a repeat performance. His tendency to retreat and throw off his back foot against the blitz was discouraging. Plus, when put in a bad game script trailing by more than one touchdown, he really struggles.
This brings us back to his fantasy value. In 1QB formats, I would take almost whatever I could for him if you can find someone that believes in him. Superflex and 2QB leagues are where this discussion gets interesting. I would still be looking to sell if the right offer came knocking. I’d let him go for any random second that hits my doorstep. You might think on the surface like that seems like a lot but it’s amazing how these formats inflate QB values.
For example, a low-end QB1 will still fetch at least a mid-to-late first, so Keenum will still have value as a starter. My advice regardless of format is to sell, and if the offers aren’t coming in I’d try to package him in an offer to a QB-needy team. If no offers are there, just sit and hold. Keenum is currently going at QB24 in the most recent DLF APD and that number will go fall after the rookie class is brought in.
After week one of the 2017 NFL season, people were getting all hot and bothered by the performance that Bradford smacked down on the New Orleans Saints. He finished the game completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns, giving him a 143.0 rating. At the time, it was clear that the Saints defense was the same old putrid group. Due to some hindsight and some young players catching their groove, it was clear the Saints defense was much improved from what we’ve seen in years past.
Who knows how he would’ve performed if healthy but if week one was any indication, Bradford, also a free agent, would’ve played himself into a massive payday this off-season. Let’s take a quick look at his very short, non-concerning injury history. Did you catch the sarcasm font?
How are you feeling? A bit woozy? It’ll be okay, you will regain control over your digestive system shortly – stay with me. As you can see, Bradford has been struck by the old injury bug once or twice. We hate to label anyone injury prone but if this isn’t, what is? Maybe I should have a chat with co-DLF writer Jeremy Funk for this one.
I don’t foresee the Vikings, or anyone else for that matter, paying Bradford starter money this off-season and if anyone does (please not the Vikings, please not the Vikings), buyer beware! In dynasty leagues, you’re holding if you own him and I wouldn’t be looking to obtain him in any format unless it’s almost free in a super-flex or 2QB league. Bradford isn’t even in the top 32 QBs in the latest DLF ADP.
If you are wondering how much I love you, wonder no more. You are the sun in my sky, the river that runs through my soul, and the very air I breathe. Before I met you, I didn’t believe it was possible to love someone so deeply and completely… Oh whoops, sorry, that was awkward…
By now you can probably tell that I’m a big Teddy Bridgewater fan. August 31, 2016, was a sad sad day for Teddy fans. He went down with one of the worst knee injuries imaginable, which ended being a torn ACL and dislocated knee. The non-contact injury was said to be so serious that if he hadn’t been rushed to the hospital they may have needed to amputate his leg. Many wondered if his career was finished at that point.
Teddy worked his tail off and was activated to the Vikings 53-man roster on November eighth, 2017. He even saw a few snaps when the Vikings were in a blowout against the Bengals where he went 0-2 with an INT, which was on a tipped ball where he overthrew Jerick McKinnon on a short route. Nonetheless, Vikings faithful cheered admirably when he came on the field and there was a sense of relief felt by all.
Bridgewater came out publicly and said that he intends to be a starter somewhere in 2018 as he also heads into free agency. Are you starting to see a common theme here among all the Vikings QBs? You’d have to think his best chance would be to re-sign with the Vikings on a team-friendly deal. I for one would be happy to bring him back and have another QB to compete against him this off-season.
This brings us to him dynasty value. Teddy is currently QB25 in the latest DLF ADP and just like Case, is going to fall after this crop of rookie QBs gets added to the mix. You’re not going out and trading for him in a 1QB league unless he’s free. In super-flex and 2QB leagues, he still holds some value. If you can acquire him for a second round rookie pick or even less, I’d make that deal.
Many go back to the first couple years of Bridgewater’s career and take note of his meager statistics. He never threw for more than 14 touchdowns and 3,300 yards but you have to also remember that he was under a poor offensive scheme, had one of the worst offensive lines in the league and his weapons have now developed to one of the best cores around. There’s a chance for him to come back and be a better fantasy QB than he ever has been and I, for one, am rooting for him.
Sloter was an undrafted free agent pickup by the Denver Broncos. He flashed some serious talent in the preseason. When it came down to 53-man roster cuts, the Broncos decided to try to sneak him on to their practice squad. Teams were lining up to sign him when the news broke. The Vikings ultimately signed him and gave him a huge contract, at least compared to other guys getting signed from practice squads. Luke Inman put together this highlight real of his preseason:
Kyle Sloter Checklist
*Accurately Throw on the Run
*Gunslinger Mentality pic.twitter.com/3AmdJDo31R
— Luke Inman (@Luke_Spinman) September 4, 2017
Kyle Sloter signed a three-year, $1.665 million contract. Nonguaranteed. No signing bonus. Yearly salaries of $465,000, $555,000, $645,000
— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 16, 2017
You might not think this is “huge”, but it is for a practice squad player when the minimum a player can make is $7,200 a week. The Vikings just may have hit the lottery with this kid. He has a great arm, impressive mobility and shows the ability to go through progressions but needs times to learn the game at this level. He is the ONLY QB on the Vikings roster going into next year.
He might be a sneaky add in deep super-flex or 2QB leagues. He’s got a shot at being the Vikings second-string QB and possibly even a shot at winning the job flat out for the 2018 season. Keep your ears out for the kid, Sloter.
Cook fell in the 2017 NFL Draft to the mid-second round mostly due to a poor three-cone. If you are a film guy, you knew that Cook was a special prospect. His vision, foot quickness, and speed were elite. He surpassed Warrick Dunn as the all-time rushing leader in Florida State history and did it in one less year than Dunn.
There were concerns about his game including pass protection and fumbling. When I joined Adam Spinks on “The RB Scout Podcast” last off-season he brought up a good point: stud running backs generally struggle at pass pro in college because they aren’t asked to do it very often. They are counted on touching the ball as much as possible.
Looking back at Cook’s first four games before he tore his ACL, Cook looked serviceable in pass pro and was complimented on his work by the coaching staff all off-season during minicamps, OTAs and training camp. Cook had six fumbles at FSU in 2016 but we’ve seen many players have been able to clean up that issue in the NFL. He had one fumble in his four games with the Vikings but it was on the play that he tore his ACL. I think he has put most of these concerns coming into the league to bed.
Cook’s play prior to his knee injury was incredibly impressive. He was one of the best RBs in fantasy before he was injured. His stat line was 74 rushes for 354 yards and two touchdowns. He also chipped in receiving 90 yards on 11 receptions. He did have some drops in the passing game but flashed enough to show he could be a threat and far from a liability on third downs. The Vikings retooled their OL this last year and it was markedly better than the group in 2016 that almost broke the record for least yards per carry in the history of the league.
A torn ACL used to be viewed as a death warrant but with the advance in technology and improvement in rehabilitation, it is no longer the scary injury it used to be. The silver lining for Cook’s injury is that it happened early enough in the season and he is on track to be able to participate in at least some off-season programs. He will be ready for the start of the 2018 season.
This brings us to his dynasty value for the 2018 season and beyond. Cook is currently going at 15 overall and as RB8 in the most recent DLF ADP. It’s a bit surprising his stock hasn’t really taken a dip after his season-ending injury but if you believe in the talent he showed before the injury, you might actually be getting a discount – albeit tiny. He’s going behind other rookie runners in Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, and Leonard Fournette. I personally would rather have him than any of them.
If you’re looking to buy, you had better be willing to pay that kind of price tag. I personally would be looking to trade any of those rookie RBs who are going above him plus a small piece in a deal to get him. I’d even trade Hunt or Fournette straight up for him. Maybe you’d even look at getting out of one of those aging WRs like A.J. Green or the biggest underperformer of the 2017 season Amari Cooper. Regardless, he is a buy or hold candidate for me and I wouldn’t be looking to sell at this point.
McKinnon is one of the best athletes in the NFL. It’s hard to look at his workout metrics and some of his highlights and not believe he deserves a shot at a starting role as he enters free agency. After Cook’s season-ending injury, McKinnon became part of the committee backfield with Latavius Murray. They both fulfilled a role – McKinnon’s mostly as the pass-catcher and Murray as the between-the-tackles and goal-line back. He finished the year with an impressive 51 receptions for 421 yards and two touchdowns and also had 150 carries for 570 yards and three touchdowns.
With another great running back class coming into the league, free agent RBs are going to find it difficult to not only capitalize on a big contract but to be guaranteed workhorse touches next year. I would assume the Vikings would love to re-sign him but McKinnon wants to get his opportunity as a feature back and he won’t get that in Minnesota with Cook coming back fully healthy next season.
We will have to wait and see if he gets that shot. I doubt he will get more than a 3 year, $15m deal. The Giants would make sense as a landing spot with the hire of Pat Shurmur. They definitely need to add competition to their RB room and that might be a good fit for both parties.
As far as his dynasty value goes, he is currently RB34 in the most recent DLF ADP and will fall after the rookies are put into the mix. I don’t see him as a feature back in anyone’s offense but if you own him and he lands in a good spot after free agency, that could create a quick sell-high window before the NFL Draft rolls around and potentially muddies up his outlook. If you can get a second round rookie pick for him, you would have to consider moving him. If you’re looking to buy, do it now because a good landing spot in free agency could make his value sky rocket.
Last off-season Murray signed a 3 year, $15m deal with the Vikings. That deal included $3.4m fully guaranteed at signing (signing bonus, 2017 salary and 2017 roster bonus). The Vikings have a potential out in his contract that would only take a $1.2m hit in dead cap money and save them from paying him the over $5m he’s due in 2018. If the Vikings want to get out of his contract they’d have to do so by March 16th.
Why am I talking so much about his contract? You might guess that I’m not a huge fan of his game. Although a decent backup RB, Murray in no way is worth the $5m next season when you have Cook coming back as the feature back. You have to remember that the Vikings signed Murray to this contract before they drafted Dalvin Cook in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Murray filled in fine in Cook’s absence this year, posting 216 carries for 842 yards and eight touchdowns. You might look at this stat line and think “hey, that’s a pretty good year”. If you watched his tape, I think you’d be less impressed. Murray is a great goal-line back but as a runner, he leaves much to be desired. His lack of lateral agility makes him solid downhill runner who needs a big hole to succeed. In no way is he worth the contract he signed less than a year ago.
Murray is currently RB46 in the latest DLF ADP and like McKinnon, will fall after the rookies enter the mix. He is already 28 years old and will not be a feature back in the NFL unless an injury takes place like it did this year. He doesn’t hold much dynasty value and I wouldn’t be looking to buy. I’d be willing to take a third-round rookie pick if you can get that anywhere, although you might be lucky to get a fourth. I’d take pretty much anything for him.
Thielen broke out in a major way in 2017. He hauled in 91 receptions for 1,276 yards and four touchdowns. He finished the year as WR8 in PPR scoring which is even more impressive the fact that he only had four touchdowns. He did have drops in the red zone and shutout to my guy Fantasy Fugazi (@FF_Fugazi) for this tidbit:
Interesting: out of 139 players who had 10+ RZ targets in 2017, the only player who had a worse catch% than Theilen was Kelvin Benjamin. Could mean he’s due for positive regression too though. His 2016 catch% was 80%, 8 of 10 for 3 TDs.
— Fantasy Fugazi (@FF_Fugazi) January 25, 2018
Thielen will be turning 28 in August and that could deter some people from looking to acquire him but he also doesn’t have a ton of wear and tear on his body, 2016 really being the first year he saw significant snaps. He is currently the WR18 off the board of the latest DLF ADP and to me that’s still a value. Hopefully, you bought your shares prior to this season where this time last year his ADP was WR61.
I love Thielen probably as much as anyone and I’m sure he’d be a tough player to go out and acquire right now. Midseason, I sent Nelson Agholor and a 2018 second for him and I’d love to make a package move like that to go get him now. People will still be scared of his age and that fact that he was an undrafted free agent. We saw Doug Baldwin undervalued for years before people started giving him his due. I’d trade any first round pick outside of the 1.01 or 1.02 for him but I think you could get him for a mid to even late 2018 first.
Diggs had a third up-and-down year in a row. After the first three weeks of the season, he was WR1 in fantasy. He has a tendency to put some monster games together but there is always a lack of consistency week-to-week mixed in with his injury history. Every year he misses three to four games and he’s on the injury report for another handful. Although he’s never sustained a major injury, it’s these smaller reoccurring soft tissue injuries that concern me.
I was in the crowd that never thought Diggs would be a touchdown producer, but boy was I wrong about him this year. Although I think he’s due for some serious regression, his statistics were fantastic this year in that area. Fantasy Fugazi dropped a couple more nuggets below:
Diggs inside the 10:
4 rec on 6 targets for 3 TDs
— Fantasy Fugazi (@FF_Fugazi) January 25, 2018
For context, only 30 players had more RZ targets. Jimmy Graham led the league with 26.
— Fantasy Fugazi (@FF_Fugazi) January 25, 2018
Stefon Diggs 2017 red zone stats:
12 rec on 14 targets for 7 TDs
— Fantasy Fugazi (@FF_Fugazi) January 25, 2018
Diggs finished the year as WR19 having played in 14 games. His current DLF ADP is WR13. At the ripe age of only 24, there’s no arguing the value he could bring to dynasty owners over the next five-eight years but I do believe he is a bit overvalued in the eyes of many and after the “Minneapolis Miracle” catch – the walk-off game-winner versus the Saints in the NFC Divisional game – his value is once again going to spike. Although I absolutely love Diggs as a player, I do have some concerns. Buyers beware. It might be a good time to see what you can get in return for him in your leagues.
Diggs has one year remaining on his rookie deal, so look for the Vikings to sign him to an extension before he hits free agency in 2019. With all of these receiving options for the Vikings, it’s an added question mark because we have no idea who is going to be throwing them the ball next year or in the years to follow. However, I do believe both have proven they can perform with almost anyone at the helm.
This one hurts… and it hurts badly. To this point, Treadwell has been a complete bust. I was jumping up and down in joy when the Vikings took him in the NFL Draft two years ago. He was the player I wanted and when it happened I was ecstatic!
I do however put some of the blame for his lack of success on his coaching his rookie year. Norv Turner was his OC and is known to not make things easy for his rookie WRs. Not only that, but he was gaining chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater all off-season before Teddy went down with that catastrophic injury. Sam Bradford was acquired and all the sudden Treadwell has to gain chemistry with him – but the coaching staff made some adjustments to their play calling. All of this didn’t help Treadwell’s progression and ultimately killed his confidence.
I’m sure you’ve had just about enough of my apologetic eulogy but I do truly believe he was somewhat handicapped in his development. I’m hoping he can turn his career around but now he has two full-on studs at WR ahead of him for the foreseeable future. Treadwell did recover at least a little bit from his rookie season where he only had one catch for 15 yards. He did haul in 20 receptions for 200 yards this season and had a beautiful one-handed catch against the Packers.
I still believe in the talent. If you own him you’re holding but if you don’t, I’d love to obtain him for a third or fourth-round pick. We’ve seen third-year WR breakout many times before and Treadwell is still only 22 years old. If you like to buy low on someone who has a first-round NFL Draft capital attached to them, Treadwell may be your guy.
Wright is a nice role player for the Vikings but he has never really held any dynasty value. He has two years left on his contract extension and is making almost as much as Thielen. I could see them cutting him to clear up some more cap space this off-season. He shouldn’t be on your dynasty radar unless you’re playing in crazy deep leagues. Hit the snooze button.
Rudy finished the year as the TE8 in fantasy and funnily enough that’s exactly where he’s being drafted in the most recent DLF ADP. I think people forget he finished at TE2 in fantasy last year. This guy doesn’t get a lot of love but when healthy (and that is a concern), all he does is produce. He’s not an amazing athlete and isn’t going to make you drool watching his highlight tape but he’s a solid TE and a good red zone threat.
If you’re punting at the TE position and want someone to target, you could most likely grab him for a third-round rookie pick if you wait until your draft rolls around. He’s only 28 years old which is pretty young for TEs. He’s a strong hold for me this off-season even though there is a chance they bring in depth via free agency or the draft.
Morgan is a solid real-life TE but you’re not rostering him in any dynasty leagues. Move right along.
If you’re reading this, it means you read the whole article – and for tha, I hope you enjoyed it. The biggest thing to watch out for is who is going to be leading this team at QB next season. This will have an effect on every skill position player on this roster. This should be entertaining to say the least.
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