The long-time Vikings wide receiver, Adam Thielen, is entering his age-32 season. This is where the cliff usually occurs for WRs. They slow down and lose some of their athletic ability. However, one could say that happened three years ago for Thielen. He has missed 11 games in the last three seasons, but that does not mean he will always be injured. Plus, when he has been on the field, he still performs as a WR1/high-end WR2. Despite missing those games, Thielen has scored 30 touchdowns in the last three seasons. Will that trend continue this year?
2021 Season Review
Thielen had a very Thielen-Esque season last year. He missed four games due to injury but averaged a high 15.4 ppg. However, you could tell his speed lost a bit as he only averaged 10.8 yards per reception, the lowest in his career. Thielen was on pace for 125 targets, 87 receptions, 950 yards, and a massive amount of touchdowns. That would be 13, to be exact.
However, Thielen only played 13 games, so his final line was 95 targets, 67 receptions, and ten touchdowns. He had 726 yards. Just like in years past, Thielen was still a massive red zone target for quarterback Kirk Cousins. Cousins likes Justin Jefferson in-between the 20s but loves Thielen when it gets close to the end zone. That’s how Thielen has racked up so many touchdowns. It’s also why he’s still a big name in fantasy.
2022 Season Projections
This is Justin Jefferson’s offense now. Dalvin Cook will still get his workload. Irv Smith and KJ Osborn will battle for what targets there are for the fourth option in the offense. However, Thielen is still the second option in this passing offense. With new coach Kevin O’Connell wanting to pass more, this is good news for Thielen. He should still get a very healthy number of targets, especially in the end zone.
I’ve projected Thielen to play in 15 games due to the recurring theme of missing at least a game or two. For fantasy reasons, you want WRs that get over 100 targets, and Thielen clears that threshold. He’s still going to be leading the team in touchdowns, though tied with Jefferson. In a PPR scoring system, I have him down for 14.8 ppg. That’s WR2 numbers. Expect Thielen to be “Thielen it” this year in the end zone.
Buy/Sell Adam Thielen
Due to Thielen’s age, he is a massive sell in the dynasty. You will be lucky to get even a late first. More likely, you will have to settle for two second-round picks. His age and three years of injuries have lowered his price. The only thing keeping it afloat is the offense he is in. Thielen has no spot on a rebuilding or middle-contending team. Only a team dead set on winning the championship this year has a place for him. Buy him for a second. Just be wary that you might be stuck with him long-term if another injury happens.
Thielen is a depreciating asset in a dynasty, but one that can still help you win a championship. If he hits that average of 14+ ppg, then he’s an excellent WR3. He’ll win you some weeks without ever causing you to lose. The only significant risk is that his age catches up quickly or he gets hurt again. Don’t fear his production going significantly down unless he is injured. Do fear that you won’t be able to sell after this year. That’s why he is best suited for only teams that are pushing all-in. Otherwise, sell him. Thielen should have another good season, but do be careful.
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As always, May the Force be with You…