One of the top quarterbacks in the NFL and even fantasy football, Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins projects to be a mid-round pick once again as his 2022 fantasy outlook rivals the top players in the game at his position. With the NFL season and fantasy drafts closing in, what is Cousins’ fantasy outlook in 2022, and could he prove to be a value at his current ADP in fantasy drafts?
Kirk Cousins’ fantasy outlook for 2022
No one will ever be excited to draft Cousins. You won’t hear fellow league-mates bemoaning losing out on him. But for as vanilla as his style of play is, Cousins goes out and generates fantasy points.
Cousins has finished as the QB11 for the past two seasons and has only missed one game in the last seven years. In each season, Cousins completed 66% or more of his attempts, passed for 4,200+ yards, and threw for 33+ touchdowns. Although he brings very little in terms of rushing upside, Cousins is underrated as a pocket passer.
Not only has he been a QB1 in back-to-back years, but Cousins could be in line for his best season yet. Although the names around him will appear familiar, the most impactful change took place in the organization. Gone is Mike Zimmer and his old-school philosophy, and in comes Kevin O’Connell from the Los Angeles Rams.
Based on all reports and our own expectations, this is an offense to be excited about, which will be more aggressive and stretch the field. Last season the Vikings were 18th in passing rate at 58.5%. That number will certainly increase in 2022 under O’Connell, who will place more responsibility on Cousins’ arm.
However, even in what we expect to be a better offense and environment for Cousins, compared to the rest of the league, he doesn’t bring massive upside for fantasy. It’s become almost a requirement to bring rushing upside. Otherwise, you need to be Tom Brady and pass more than anyone else with absurd efficiency. That won’t be Cousins. It never has.
As a fantasy asset, Cousins is capped as a high-end QB2, similar in a range of outcomes to Derek Carr. In a 2QB or Superflex draft, he is a phenomenal QB2. But in a 1QB league, there are better options out there.
How the Minnesota Vikings’ depth chart impacts Kirk Cousins’ fantasy projection for the season
Cousins’ most significant asset for fantasy is not even his own skills. It’s the people around him. It should be no surprise that Cousins posted these great numbers right after Minnesota drafted Justin Jefferson in 2020. Not only has he gone on to break numerous records already, including Randy Moss’ receiving yards as a rookie, but he’s also turned into one of the best wide receivers in the game.
And Jefferson has also had a fantastic complement in Adam Thielen. However, there is a question surrounding Thielen and his health, but that should not carry over into the season. He’s one of the game’s best red-zone targets and should remain so in 2022. All reports from camp say he is looking as good if not better than ever, which is prime camp speak. However, he is still inside my top 30 at the position.
Also, returning this season will be tight end Irv Smith Jr. A breakout candidate for many last season, Smith Jr. tore his meniscus and missed all of 2021. He is back in the breakout conversation again this year as the tight end has been a focal point for O’Connell in his style of offense. Add in Dalvin Cook running the ball, and the Vikings should be one of the better offenses in 2022.
If there is any concern for Cousins, it will come from the offensive line and his lack of mobility. Cousins struggled to deal with pressure last season behind Minnesota’s subpar offensive line. Cousins was just 17th in the NFL in completion percentage when under pressure at 45.5%. He also finished 29th in accuracy while under pressure. The offensive line has been slightly improved, but it’s still projected to be in the league’s bottom half. Therefore, for cousins to get the most out of this new offense, the line will need to take a significant step forward.
Cousins’ ADP for 2022
With an ADP of 110, Cousins is coming off the boards as the QB15 in 1QB formats, placing him towards in the early part of the 10th round in 12-team fantasy leagues. In Superflex leagues, he goes towards the back half of the second round, but these leagues tend to have some variance.
In PFN’s 2022 fantasy football redraft rankings, Cousins is the QB14, as the 114th ranked player. Be sure to check back, as rankings will fluctuate between now and the start of the season.
For me, Cousins and Derek Carr represent the last tier of quarterbacks I could leave a fantasy draft with and feel comfortable about where my team is. They sit right after the Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford tier but before Justin Fields, Trevor Lawrence, Tua Tagovailoa, Justin Fields, and Jameis Winston.
In Superflex leagues, I prefer to pair Cousins with an upper-tier QB with mobility to make up for the lack of rushing upside in Cousins’ game. While he is outside the top 12 at his position, Cousins should be drafted in both formats. In this new-look offense, he has sneaky upside that is being overlooked as he is the plain oatmeal of QBs.