Justin Jefferson’s Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Is the Minnesota Vikings’ Star Still the Overall WR1?

After an elite but injury-shortened season, are there any reasons Best Ball drafters should worry about taking Vikings WR Justin Jefferson?

Minnesota Vikings WR Justin Jefferson is coming off another elite season but one marred by injury. However, when on the field, Jefferson reminded everyone why he was the consensus overall WR1 going into the year. Still one of the best players in fantasy football, should Best Ball drafters take him with one of the first two picks?

Justin Jefferson’s 2024 Fantasy Outlook

After three incredible years to start his career, Jefferson’s 2023 was a massive disappointment. Of course, it had absolutely nothing to do with his on-field performance.

Jefferson missed seven games due to a hamstring strain that he and the team were rightly extra cautious with. Yet, in just 10 games, Jefferson still managed to post his fourth consecutive 1,000-yard season.

To get a glimpse of what Jefferson is capable of, look no further than the first month of last season. Jefferson scored at least 24 fantasy points in each of his first four games.

I have zero doubts that, at some point in his career, we are going to get a truly legendary season from Jefferson. He may not quite get to the levels that Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp set in 2021, but he can get close. He’s that talented of a player.

Despite playing only five games with QB Kirk Cousins, Jefferson still finished fourth in the league with 2.95 yards per route run and was sixth at 10.7 yards per target.

The fact that he was able to post games of 26.1 and 36.0 fantasy points in Weeks 16 and 18 with QB Nick Mullens under center is all you need to know about Jefferson.

With that said, we’d certainly prefer the Vikings to have a quality quarterback. Right now, we don’t know who that will be.

What we do know is the options are limited. After Cousins signed with the Atlanta Falcons, the Vikings made sure to lock up a placeholder, signing Sam Darnold. If the season started today, Darnold would be the starter.

Of course, we can also read into the Vikings’ other moves to get an idea of what their plans are. It seems extremely likely the Vikings will draft a quarterback in the first round. Would a rookie QB that isn’t Caleb Williams be better for Jefferson than Darnold? It all depends on how good he ends up being.

Should You Draft Jefferson in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

The top of 2024 Best Ball drafts look a bit similar to 2023. There are realistically three contenders for the No. 1 overall pick.

If you pick first, you should still draft San Francisco 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey, as the elite RB remains the most valuable asset in fantasy football, and he might be the only option at the position worth spending that type of draft capital on.

Once McCaffrey is gone, the next two candidates are Miami Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill and Dallas Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb. Yes, that’s right; Jefferson is no longer in the running for the No. 1 overall pick.

Situation matters. We saw how going from Derek Carr to Aidan O’Connell torpedoed Davante Adams‘ fantasy value. It would be both foolish and unrealistic to assume any wide receiver, even Jefferson, is capable of producing the same numbers with any old QB.

Is it possible that the Vikings end up with Drake Maye, Jayden Daniels, or J.J. McCarthy, and he will be the next great quarterback, providing a sizable upgrade on Cousins? Of course, it’s possible. But is it likely? Absolutely not. We can and should project a downgrade in situation for Jefferson.

KEEP READING: What Is Best Ball Fantasy Football?

For me, that takes Jefferson off the top line for fantasy in 2024. But he’s still Justin Jefferson. We’re not talking about dropping him from potential No. 1 overall pick to the second round.

We’re dealing with the elite of the elite. When splitting hairs, give me the elite WRs catching passes from Tua Tagovailoa, Dak Prescott, and Joe Burrow over the elite WR catching passes from Darnold or a rookie. I would still gladly take Jefferson in the middle of the first round.

As we look ahead to the 2024 fantasy football season, why not start preparing for your rookie drafts with our dynasty rookie rankings? Additionally, as you look to improve your team heading into 2024, our dynasty trade calculator can help you find the perfect deal to boost your championship chances.

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