By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
If you head over to the Club Fantasy Instagram page, you can stay up to speed on all the transactions as they occur, or as fast as my graphic designer can make some bomb ass pictures for you to like. Below you’ll see how I view all of the relevant NFL offseason transactions. I say relevant because, for the purposes of fantasy football, defensive signings don’t impact us as much as the offensive ones. I’ll cover the defensive signings when I do my team-by-team previews later in the summer.
I’ll identify the player, who they signed with or were traded to, and how I think it impacts their fantasy value going into 2017, positive or negative. Next up: Adam Thielen re-signs with Minnesota.
Transaction: Adam Thielen re-signs with the Minnesota Vikings
Fantasy Outlook: Raise your hand if you knew who Adam Thielen was when your fantasy drafts rolled around in 2016? Now use your other hand to slap yourself for lying. I don’t even think the Vikings knew what they had in Thielen at the outset of 2016. After all, he had a total of 20 catches in his career entering the 2016 season before busting out for 69 receptions for 967 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Many fantasy owners were targeting a different Vikings wide receiver in drafts last year, one Stefon Diggs. After a solid rookie season, Diggs was supposed to take that next step. And for all intents and purposes, he did, improving on his rookie year numbers. But he also missed three games, paving the way for the emergence of Thielen.
Thielen entered this offseason as a restricted free agent, meaning any team could have signed him but would have had to send a draft pick to the Vikings as compensation. It seems Thielen had no interest in leaving, and the Vikings had no interest in letting him go, as they came to agreement on a new 3-year deal keeping him in Minnesota for the foreseeable future. He and Diggs should compliment each other well going forward.
If Sam Bradford starts taking more shots downfield – and a lot of that will depend on the improvement of their offensive line – both Diggs and Thielen could be a Lite version of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Both could easily top 1,000 yards and have over 70 catches. Just don’t expect eye-popping touchdown numbers. These two are primed for top 30 status in PPR leagues, like Club Fantasy touts.
Thielen is known now, especially after his 12 catch, 202 yards and 2 TDs performance in Week 16. With that will come extra coverage his way. Lucky for him, Diggs is an accomplished receiver in his own right, which will make a defense “pick their poison” as it were. I’ll go out on a limb and expect Thielen to cross the 1,000 yard plateau in 2017, likely with around 75 catches and 4 TDs. That should make him a viable WR2 in 12-team and up leagues. His ceiling is high and it shouldn’t go unnoticed come draft day. And with many fantasy owners expecting him to be a one-year wonder, you might be able to get him cheaper than you think.