Can Jordan Addison Be the Next Instant-Impact Rookie WR for Fantasy Football In 2023?

Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison enters the league with fantasy football expectations, and it is very possible those expectations are not high enough!

I was not short on reasons to love Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison for fantasy football this season, but the fact that Kirk Cousins could/should be better than last season? Come on now, that’s just catnip!

“And I was thinking to myself, ‘Usually I am, but on this one, I am not fine,’” Cousins said on Netflix’s “Quarterback” in reference to a hard hit he suffered against the Washington Commanders.

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What To Expect From Minnesota Vikings WR Jordan Addison This Season

So … Cousins was playing through a crippling rib injury last season? Did I hear that right on Netflix’s show? Savvy fantasy managers have been riding the Vikings ever since Cousins came to town, and they’ve largely been rewarded. And now this news?

Last season, with a banged-up quarterback and a running back on a Hall of Fame trajectory, the Vikings dropped back to pass on 59.2% of plays when leading. That was the sixth-highest rate in the NFL and the highest rate by a Vikings team since 2004 (yes, the Daunte Culpepper/Randy Moss version of this franchise). And they did that with a less than healthy Cousins?

Time for you to win a bar bet. Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen are the top two quarterbacks in ADP this season … those are the only other players besides Cousins who have thrown for 4,200 yards and 29 touchdowns in each of the past three seasons.

Prior to hearing this news, I thought Cousins was a nice value at his current draft price, but now? Now (assuming full health), I think the case could be made rather easily for taking him over any quarterback not named Mahomes or Joe Burrow that doesn’t carry high-end rushing potential.

If Cousins, who carries essentially zero rushing upside, is going to prove to be a value at his current ADP, at least one of his pass catchers is going to have to overachieve.

Enter Addison, the 23rd overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft who proved his worth by averaging 14.8 yards per catch and scoring eight times for USC last season. To gauge just how involved the rookie can be, let’s take a look at the per-game target distribution following the acquisition of TE T.J. Hockenson.

  • Justin Jefferson: 11.3 targets per game
  • T.J. Hockenson: 8.6
  • K.J. Osborn: 5.9
  • Adam Thielen: 5.7
  • Dalvin Cook: 3.4

Those 20ish targets for Jefferson/Hockenson feel safe, so let’s not mess with that. Osborn benefited from some deterioration of skill from Thielen, so I have my doubts about him repeating that 5.9 number, but for the sake of argument, let’s assume that also stays the same. Using this logic, Addison should absorb the vast majority of Thielen’s targets, but that’s not all.

Alexander Mattison will take over as the lead back in this offense, and he simply isn’t the threat out of the backfield that Cook is. For his career, Cook averages 3.4 targets per game, and in Mattison’s 14 career games with at least 10 carries, he has averaged 2.2 targets. Easy math … because it’s hard to put more on the plate of Jefferson or Hockenson, and the projection is already optimistic for Osborn, let’s give the vacated 1.2 targets to Addison.

Are you still with me? That puts the rookie at roughly seven targets per game, a nice showing but not impossible by any means. Over the past decade, a rookie receiver played at least 10 games and averaged at least 7.0 looks per game 18 times.

Those receivers, as a group, averaged 13.2 half-PPR ppg (that would have been WR15 last season), with the majority of them averaging at least 12 ppg (that would have been WR24 last season).

Addison is currently being drafted as the WR39.

A little more Vikings propaganda for the road. During Cousins’ five seasons in Minnesota, a player has player surpassed 1,000 receiving yards six times, caught 70+ passes seven times, and caught 6+ TDs 12 times.

If Addison checks any one of those boxes, he’s returning a profit on his current ADP. If he hits two of them, we could be looking at a true difference-maker!

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