Irv Smith Jr. Injury Update Crushes Fantasy Outlook, Boosts Tyler Conklin in 2021 Season

Jason Schandl
Irv Smith's fantasy football outlook plummets following a concerning injury update.
Irv Smith's fantasy football outlook plummets following a concerning injury update. / Rob Leiter/Getty Images
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With Kyle Rudolph finally gone, it was looking like Irv Smith Jr. could be positioned for a breakout season in 2021. That's been put on hold for the time being, as Smith is undergoing meniscus surgery.

That's a big blow to his fantasy football outlook.

Irv Smith Injury Update

Smith showed some real promise in his sophomore season in 2020, turning 43 targets into 30 receptions, 365 yards and 5 touchdowns. Both his average of 12.2 yards per reception and 8.5 yards per target were big jumps from his rookie numbers.

He was still just a speculative fantasy pick this year, since the Vikings love to run and Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen are the clear top receiving targets, but now he's not someone you want to draft. Even if you fully believe in Smith, you'll want to wait until some positive injury news starts to come in during the season and then grab him off the waiver wire.

Tyler Conklin Fantasy Outlook

Smith's injury leaves Tyler Conklin as the Vikings' top tight end to start the season. That doesn't means he's now in line to make an impact in fantasy football, however.

Conklin did rack up 21 targets when thrust into an expanded role across his final four games in 2020, but those contests also saw Kirk Cousins throw 38.3 passes per game, compared to 30.3 across his first 12. Conklin's 13.7% target share in that situation doesn't really inspire much confidence.

For the time being, you simply don't want to target a Vikings tight end in fantasy football drafts. Check out The Duel's top fantasy football TE rankings to find a better option.


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Jason Schandl is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Jason Schandl also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username Jaymun. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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