- AFC East: Schedule Preview | Bills | Dolphins | Patriots | Jets
- NFC East: Schedule Preview | Cowboys | Giants | Eagles | Redskins
- AFC North: Schedule Preview | Ravens | Bengals | Browns | Steelers
- NFC North: Schedule Preview | Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
- AFC South: Schedule Preview | Texans | Colts | Jaguars | Titans
- NFC South: Schedule Preview | Falcons | Panthers | Saints | Buccaneers
- AFC West: Schedule Preview | Broncos | Chiefs | Chargers | Raiders
- NFC West: Schedule Preview | Cardinals | Rams | 49ers | Seahawks
In doing this exercise with all 32 NFL teams, you really come to value stability and projectability. The Vikings have none of it. Despite finishing last season as one of the top teams in the NFL, they'll enter 2018 with questions pretty much everywhere.
The Vikings added a new offensive coordinator (John DeFilippo), and a new quarterback (Kirk Cousins). Maybe their most talented skill-position player (Dalvin Cook) is recovering from a torn ACL. In terms of storytelling and intrigue, this team has it all. But in terms of setting expectations and projections, it's a disaster.
I'll get more into what I expect from DeFilippo and the offense below, but as for Cousins I'd expect the same efficient production he's given us in the past. Sure, there are concerns with learning a new system, but we're talking about a quarterback who has ranked fourth in Y/A, third in completion percentage, and fifth in passer rating over the last three years. He's very good. Just how good he is in Fantasy will be determined by how often the Vikings pass the ball.
And for Cook, I'm currently expecting he's a full go this year. ACL injuries aren't nearly as big of a deal as they were even five years ago. Cook averaged almost 4.8 YPC last year and had 354 rushing yards in under four games before he went down. With this situation and his talent, he has top-five upside this season if he's fully healthy.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
Like everything else with the Vikings, there is uncertainty with the playcalling. They have a defensive-minded head coach and a brand new offensive coordinator, who has only done the job once before for a bad Browns team. How much his history matters is subject to debate. But the one thing I'd expect John DeFilippo to bring with him from Philadelphia is a desire to spread the ball around; it's also something Cousins did very well in Washington.
While I feel confident about DeFilippo spreading the ball around and the tight ends having a big role in the offense, I'm going to split from his history when it comes to pass/run split. That's because two-thirds of his "history" came on below-.500 teams. I expect the Vikings to play from in front a lot, which means more running the ball.
- All the is positive, but Murray is still one of the most valuable handcuffs in the league. If there are any restrictions after the first week or two of camp I'll lower Cook down to closer to 50 percent of the carries.
- I hope I'm not too high on Thielen's target share, because no receiver has ever seen quite that many targets from Cousins. But the Vikings don't have running backs who will be as involved in the passing game as Chris Thompson was in Washington.
Laquon Treadwell is really the only name who might matter here, for now. The former first-round pick has been a colossal bust so far with just 21 catches in his first two years in the league and zero touchdowns. Would I be surprised if he beat out Kendall Wright? Not really, but I'm still not sure he'd make any impact in Fantasy. Treadwell needs a good offseason and an injury to be a factor in Fantasy.
DeFilippo saw the benefits of having multiple athletic tight ends on the roster in Philadelphia and Tyler Conklin fits that bill. There are injury concerns with Conklin, but a good camp could put him into the Trey Burton role, and just an injury away from being a startable tight end in Fantasy. We're a long way from that happening but I do like his landing spot for Dynasty.