Friday, July 11, 2014

2014 Fantasy Football Augury, Chapter 19: Minnesota Vikings

The last time the Vikings had a fantasy-relevant quarterback was 1974.

Okay, I'm kidding... but for a long-suffering Vikings fan (such as myself) it seems that way.

Actually, the brief and surreal (albeit exciting) Brett Favre 2009 chapter was the last time the Vikings had a starting fantasy quarterback.  Prior to that Daunte Culpepper had a handful of decent years.

Otherwise, the Vikings have not been a preferred destination for fantasy football quarterback studliness.

This season will be no different, no matter who starts under center.  New OC Norv Turner has called this group a "good, good bunch," which sounds like the ultimate coachspeak to me.

As Balki Bartokomous would say, "Don't be reeediculous."

(And if you don't know who Balki is, look it up.)

My gut tells me Matt Cassel, Mr. Samantha Steele and Teddy Bridgewater will all have their moments this season and none will bear fruitful fantasy bounty.  I do believe Bridgewater will eventually become something special, but not this year.

If you have to count on any of the above during your fantasy season... perish the thought.  Make sure you aren't put in that situation.  Shall we move on?

And it is here we taken that quantum leap from awful to awesome.  I've heard some say that Adrian Peterson is losing a step.  While it's true that he's entering eighth season and he's touched the ball 2,246 times in his career (that's a lot of abuse), he's the rare fantasy breed that will touch the pigskin frequently and will have next to no competition for the ball.

To be honest, in today's fantasy football, those two qualifications alone make you an automatic top tier running back.

Oh, did I mention his career per-carry average is 5.0 yards?  That's, um, pretty good.  He's also scored 91 touchdowns in his career.  That's also pretty good.

Few running backs have proved as durable as AD (yes, his nickname is AD.  Not AP).  He's a virtual guarantee to carry the ball at least 250 times.  If he's just "average" this season, he's a lock for 1,250 and 13 touchdowns.  Once again, that's top tier material.  He should be among the first five players taken in your draft.

Greg Jennings's first year in Minnesota ended with 106 targets, 804 yards and four touchdowns.  It wasn't Calvin Johnson-esque, but it certainly wasn't Robert Meachem-ish either.  He's not the receiver he once was, but he's a reliable veteran, serviceable as a third tier player who can be a starter if needed.

While conducting my research, I've found many fantasy "experts" to be down on Cordarrelle Patterson.  Many say he's a "bust waiting to happen."  They give their rationale, numbers, analysis and trends.

I say baloney.

New OC Norv Turner knows offensive talent and he knows what he needs to do.  Patterson was the #3 wide receiver on his team last year as a rookie and put up modest stats (45 catches, 469 yards, four touchdowns).  This year, he will start as the #2 receiver and is poised to take that proverbial next step.

And he will.  Just watch.

But more than that, he is dangerous out of the backfield as a ball carrier.

In the first 11 games of the year, Patterson carried the ball just twice for two yards.  Only late in the season did former OC Bill Musgrave realize Patterson could be a wicked weapon in the running game.  

The result?  In the last five contests, Patterson had 10 carries, 156 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

I look for both his receiving and rushing stats to at least double this year.  Let other fantasy lemmings follow the crowd and avoid Patterson because he's "a bust in the making."  This guy is a second tier, double threat, who may elevate to first tier before September.  Grab him if you can.

Kyle Rudolph's 2013 season was derailed by a bum foot.  Many fantasy owners will overlook him as a viable fantasy starter, but he could be in for a big season.

Rudolph dropped 15 pounds in the off-season to become more of a "move" tight end.  He knows he's going to be heavily involved in the passing game; fantasy owners better know it too.

Remember, Rudolph's receiving numbers nearly doubled and his touchdown total tripled from 2011 to 2012.  Coming back healthy in 2014, he could go all Jordan Cameron this season (Cameron was in Norv Turner's system last year).  He will end up a top ten tight end.

Are you taking notes?

Draft Well!
That Damn Sam
"Fantasy Football for the Forsaken Few"