The Duel

Adam Thielen Fantasy Output Hindered By Kirk Cousins Poor Performance

Dan Israeli
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So far in the 2019 NFL season, the Minnesota Vikings' passing game has taken a backseat to the team's rushing attack.

The Vikings are one of only two teams, along with the San Francisco 49ers, to have a larger percentage of rush plays than pass plays, as Minnesota has run the ball 52.7 percent of the time so far.

The low volume of pass attempts has had a major impact on the fantasy value of Minnesota's top-two wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. Thielen, who is coming off back-to-back, 1,000-yard seasons, has really struggled through four weeks.

Thielen averaged 102.0 receptions and 1,324.5 yards per game over the past two seasons, but he's on pace for just 52.0 receptions and 716.0 yards after four games.

So far, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is dead-last in pass attempts among QBs that have started all four of their team's games, throwing the ball just 99 times.

Clearly, if Cousins doesn't start throwing the ball more soon, it'll be hard for Thielen to improve his production.

Unfortunately, when Cousins has targeted Thielen, the throws haven't been particularly accurate.

Thielen owns a 43 percent market share of Minnesota's air yards, which is the third-best mark in the league, but he only has 179 yards on the season.

That style of play often leads to big production, but Thielen has caught just 13 of his 22 targets on the year (59 percent). That's a steep decline from last season, when Thielen caught 113 of 153 targets (73.8 percent).

Cousins' poor play has certainly put a ceiling on Thielen's week-to-week production, but Minnesota's schedule gets a lot easier in the coming weeks.

The Vikings play the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles in the next two weeks, and both defenses rank in the bottom eight in terms of passing yards allowed per game thus far.

Thielen has a shot to rebound in the coming weeks, but if he doesn't, his fantasy might want to start exploring trade options.


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