By Anthony Brousseau
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The Minnesota Vikings are the talk of the NFL. At 5-0, they are the only undefeated team left and a current Super Bowl favorite.
But how are they faring in the fantasy world?
Now, most Vikings fans could not care less about fantasy points when the Vikings are the best team in the league, but it’s still interesting to see whether real-life success translates to fantasy points.
With that in mind, let’s rank the Vikings’ fantasy options. Note that we’re only ranking players relevant to fantasy, so though Adam Thielen is a hometown favorite and had one big game, he’s not likely to keep that up and won’t be found on most rosters.
5. Sam Bradford
Bradford is owned in 40 percent of CBS Fantasy leagues, but started in only 10 of them. He is currently the No. 29 quarterback. Part of this has to do with Bradford playing one less game than most starters, but it’s also true that while Bradford has looked stellar on the field, his statistics have not been otherworldly.
He hasn’t topped 300 passing yards in a game and has only scored six touchdowns. While Bradford has been consistently rated as one of the top QBs this year, that ranking has more to with his efficiency as a passer and ability to avoid turnovers than gaudy numbers. Bradford’s probably a solid option in two QB leagues, but there’s several passers worth starting over him in one QB leagues.
4. Jerrick McKinnon and Matt Asiata
The two-headed Vikings rushing attack isn’t attractive to most fantasy owners. Besides the fact that they’re splitting carries, the team’s running game has been anemic behind an offensive line that can’t block a nosebleed.
That being said, McKinnon is owned in 95 percent of CBS leagues and started in 41 percent of them. Asiata is only owned in 48 percent of leagues and started in a mere 13 percent.
While McKinnon is the better option, being the early down back and a factor in the passing game, Asiata vultures many of McKinnon’s touchdowns. It’s what he does. He has two career three touchdown games and is the Vikings’ preferred goal line back. It’s probably best to avoid the Vikings backs in fantasy, but in a pinch, you could do worse than McKinnon. Asiata is too touchdown-dependent to trust.
3. Stefon Diggs
After a hot start to the season, Diggs’ fantasy stock has dropped significantly. His best game came in Week 2 against the Green Bay Packers, where he had 182 receiving yards, a touchdown and 24 fantasy points.
Since that game, however, Diggs has largely been a fantasy non-factor. After back-to-back 4-point games, Diggs sat out the game against the Houston Texans with injury. He is questionable for the Week 6 matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles.
He’s still owned in 98 percent of leagues and started in 44 percent, but is only the 43rd ranked WR.
It’s hard to trust Diggs in an offense that doesn’t throw a ton, but it’s also hard to bench him because of his ability. He has the potential to go off every game. If you have other WR options, Diggs probably won’t crack your lineup. But for desperate owners, you could have a worse WR3.
2. Kyle Rudolph
Aside from one poor game against the Texans, Rudolph has been a dependable fantasy TE this year, scoring 6, 9, 13 and 11 points in the first four games.
Rudolph is always going to be a red zone threat, but his tendency to drop passes hurts his value as a fantasy player. He is owned in 87 percent of CBS leagues and started in 46 percent.
I’d be comfortable starting Rudolph going forward, as he has served as Bradford’s safety valve for most of the season. He gets plenty of targets and is a great mismatch in the red zone.
1. Defense/Special Teams
There is only one Vikings player I’d be trust in my fantasy lineup every week – well, technically it’s several players.
The Vikings defense and special teams have been arguably the best in the NFL this year, in both fantasy and reality.
The defense has a nose for turnovers, with seven interceptions and six fumble recoveries. They’ve also scored two touchdowns.
The special teams unit, led by Marcus Sherels, has also been fantastic. Sherels has two punt return touchdowns, as many as the rest of the league combined.
So, the Vikings’ real-life success has not meant huge fantasy numbers. While the defense is a set-it-and-forget-it option, the offense is mostly replacement-level when it comes to fantasy.
As Bradford continues to grow in the offense, the offensive line improves (fingers crossed) and Diggs returns from injury, that could change. Right now, however, the Vikings’ fantasy outlook is mediocre at best.