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(Pioneer Press: John Autey)

The Rise of Adam Thielen

Something about Adam Thielen’s emergence seems similar to that of Julian Edelman. Low draft pedigree, not invited to the combine, sneaky athletic, never expected to succeed, but has since become a very reliable WR.



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Thielen was a UDFA out of Minnesota State University. The Mavericks played Division 2 football in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and had more of a history of producing NHL players rather than NFL. The only reason he ended up with the Vikings is purely that they were the closest professional franchise to his school. As previously mentioned, the hometown kid didn’t receive a combine invite; however, he had a very impressive pro day. Thielen measured in at 6’2”, 192 pounds and proceeded to run a 4.45 40-yard dash, a 4.49 20-yard shuttle, and a 6.77 3-cone drill. Furthermore, he registered a 36 inch vertical and 10’0” broad jump. This led to a tryout with the Vikings at their practice facility, which he obviously seized.

After 2 years of almost non-existent production (20 receptions for 281 yards), Thielen had a breakout of sorts in 2016 and he looks to be soaring. Thielen led the team in receiving yards in 2016 with 967, despite health issues on offense. A breakdown of his NFL stats to date can be seen below:

In 2016, Thielen showed off his sure hands with only 2 drops on 92 targets as well as a 75% catch rate, leading him to be ranked as the 18th best receiver by PFF. His impressive season ensured that NFL.com elected him as their “unsung hero” of the season.

Out of nowhere, he has left former 1st round pick Laquon Treadwell in the dust. His performance in week 1 of 2017 where he completed 9 catches for 157 yards shows just how far he has come. Able to line up all over the field, Thielen’s versatility has become a favorite weapon for QB Sam Bradford. The duo seems to have a good chemistry that ensures sufficient targets every game.

Thielen’s value seems underappreciated. His ADP on Fantasy Pros currently sits at 104. He’s behind Breshad Perriman, Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Kevin White, and Adrian Peterson to name a few. This makes no sense to me as he looks much more likely to give you better immediate and long-term return than those names. He is currently ranked as WR50 which seems absurd for a 27-year-old receiver who I think has a great shot at being a top 24 WR.




Prior to the 2016 season, Thielen was being picked up off of waivers in most leagues. He’s now looking like a legitimate WR2 who could go for a 1,000-yard season alongside Stefon Diggs. Not many UDFAs become fantasy relevant, but Thielen looks to have cemented himself as a secure option. Thielen doesn’t have the big name value that most guys have, so try throwing an offer out there to see if you can snag him for less than he’s worth.

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About Jon Diment

Dynasty has caused many fights with all my friends, and I'm totally okay with the fact that fantasy football is now consuming our lives. The thrill we get every Sunday is like no other and makes it all worth it. I hope that my advice helps make your dynasty teams good enough to take your mind off life's other troubles. Currently working in business operations for the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. Follow me on twitter: @DynastyJon