Fantasy Football – Adam Thielen among wide receivers forgotten in early drafts

You wouldn’t know by looking at the early results of the fantasy football draft, but Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was a prolific fantasy option last season, averaging more than six catches and 62 receiving Yards per game in 11 of them, and with a cool 10 touchdowns. He played at the WR1 level, en route to 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. Then he got hurt. Hey, soccer players get hurt.

Now we see that Thielen doesn’t even go close to the WR3 range in early drafts. Some of the reasons for this disheartening lack of respect are easy to understand given that Thielen picked up an ankle injury that cut short his season and required surgery. Entering his 31-year season, oh, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are obviously the top two options on this prolific offensive line. But still, round 9 in early ADP? For real? No, that makes little sense. Thielen is somehow forgotten in drafts.

Fantasy managers love the young, up-and-coming wide receivers and often forget about the older, proven, and productive options that may have suffered a setback or two in recent seasons but can easily bounce back to earlier levels. This article can, and probably will, be written every summer, with a few changes to the names, and this author often raises his hand to write it. Thielen, who lands outside the top 40 wide receivers in early drafts, hardly aligns with his value. He was a top 10 PPR wide receiver in 2018 and 2020 and was on track for a repeat in 2021 until injury struck.

While almost every player is likely to present only the most optimistic updates, Thielen recently told reporters that he feels fresh, energetic and revitalized, and most importantly, completely healthy again. The enigmatic quarterback Kirk Cousins ​​has one of the better trio of offensive options available to him, and while Thielen may be a third pick there, he remains a productive one. Sure, we can argue that he was a bit touchdown dependent for fantasy value, but he was was also on his way to 100 catches and 1,000 receiving yards last season. New coach Kevin O’Connell seems to know that.

Add it up and there’s a reason Thielen is quite capable of returning to WR2 status and he positions himself as one of the better bargains if his overwhelming ADP holds up. Best of all, you don’t have to draft it as a WR2! Expectations are too far under control, and Thielen is hardly the only veteran wide receiver to be forgotten in early drafts and go into Round 9 or later. Here are some others that go later than Thielen:

Chase Claypool, Pittsburgh Steelers: Claypool, a fantasy star when he hit 11 touchdowns as a rookie in 2020, had to see that number drop in 2021 — and it certainly did, but a little too much. In 15 games he scored twice. There’s a new-look Steelers offense this season without Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster, and while this new look may seem underwhelming to most, Claypool expects to get more looks. Blessed with size and speed, his best season for catches and yards is likely yet to come.

Robert Woods, Tennessee Titans: A solid WR2 for fantasy managers from 2018-20 with the Los Angeles Rams, Woods sauntered straight along last season before tearing his cruciate ligament during a practice in November. The Titans acted with confidence for him, moving on from both AJ Brown and Julio Jones, and while they maintain a run-first offensive attack led by Derrick Henry – and Woods may not be 100% healthy for September – is the track record matters here.

Kenny Golladay, New York Giants: While it’s a bit difficult to trust one of the wide receivers in a dysfunctional passing offense led by quarterback Daniel Jones, Golladay is the one getting the most money, so look for the team that’s doing everything it can to maintain its respectable to show skills. Golladay caught 135 passes for 2,253 yards and 16 touchdowns over a two-year span with the 2018-19 Detroit Lions and he is 28 years old. He and the tempting Kadarius Toney could make a great tandem with health and modest quarterback play.

Jarvis Landry, New Orleans Saints: Landry, who was injured and mostly ineffective with the Cleveland Browns a season ago, returns to Louisiana to take on slot duties for an organization in transition. Perhaps the Landry, who caught more than 80 passes each in his first six seasons, is gone for good, but he’s only 29 and it’s hardly a sign that fellow cast members Michael Thomas and rookie Chris Olave are the instant stars will. Thomas missed all of 2021 and was arguably the biggest bust of the 2020 season and his health is far from guaranteed. Nevertheless, he drives several laps ahead of Thielen. Landry has little touchdown on the upside but he could catch a fair amount of passes.

DeVante Parker, New England Patriots: Parker has been quite the fantasy bust since 2019 when he caught 72 passes for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns. But he’s getting a fresh start in New England, where he could easily emerge as a top pick for quarterback Mac Jones. Is Parker likely to return to a WR2 level in this offense? Probably not, but a healthy Parker remains full of benefits.

Robbie Anderson, Carolina Panthers: A surprise star in his first Panthers season when he caught 95 passes for 1,096 yards, Anderson faded to the New York Jets’ former production level last season as Fantasy executives moved on ahead of the midseason. Quarterback play didn’t help much, but Anderson went from a consistent 8.1 yards per goal for his career to 4.7 yards in 2021, a stunning drop. Anderson and DJ Moore remain the top wide receiver options in Carolina.

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