Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn came out of nowhere to flash serious upside in his sophomore season. Now firmly established as the Vikings’ WR3, what can fantasy football managers expect from Osborn in the 2022 season, and is he a good value at his current ADP in fantasy football drafts?
K.J. Osborn’s fantasy outlook for 2022
Osborn was a 2020 fifth-round pick who didn’t play a single offensive snap as a rookie. By all accounts, he never should’ve amounted to anything.
Well, injuries and depth chart shuffling led to Osborn becoming the Vikings’ WR3 in 2021. He averaged 9.3 PPR fantasy points per game, finishing as a fantasy WR4. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though.
Osborn flashed legitimate upside throughout his sophomore season. He posted seven games of at least 14 fantasy points. After Adam Thielen went down in Week 13, Osborn averaged 13.8 fantasy points over the remainder of the fantasy season.
How the Vikings’ depth chart impacts K.J. Osborn’s fantasy projection for the season
The Vikings’ main change this offseason was not on the field. They replaced run-obsessed head coach Mike Zimmer with Sean McVay disciple Kevin O’Connell. Justin Jefferson has openly praised the new offense and said he expects the Vikings to throw more.
This is great news for all Minnesota receivers, especially Osborn. Now, Osborn has a real chance to have sustainable weekly fantasy value as the starting WR3 instead of only serving as one of the best “wide receiver handcuffs” in the league.
Last season, the Vikings had the third-highest neutral game script pass rate. Kirk Cousins already attempted a very respectable 35 passes per game last year. That rate could be even higher this season, which means Jefferson, Thielen, and Osborn can all be fantasy factors.
K.J. Osborn is an ideal blend of standalone value and vertical upside
At worst, everyone on the Vikings stays healthy, and Osborn is a weekly startable WR4/Flex play. But we know injuries are a thing. It’s extremely unlikely that Jefferson and Thielen both play 17 games. Thielen has missed 11 games over his past two seasons and is now 32 years old.
Whenever Jefferson or Thielen miss time, Osborn will be the clear WR2. We saw what that looked like last season. Osborn averaged 13.8 ppg in his four games played without Thielen (plus the Week 13 game where Thielen left early). Those are mid-WR3 numbers.
Osborn’s ADP for 2022
Osborn’s ADP opened well outside the top 72 wide receivers. He wasn’t even a consideration. However, his ADP steadily climbed over the summer, and deservedly so.
At this point, Osborn will cost you more than your last-round pick. Even so, he’s one of my favorite late-round fliers to take a shot on. Receivers like Osborn seldom cost this little. Finding a legitimate weekly startable option at WR4 or Flex this late is rare. We are well above ADP on Osborn in our 2022 fantasy rankings, ranking him as our consensus WR64.
While most late-round wide receivers possess some level of plausible upside, Osborn has given us proof of concept. By no means should you go out of your way to ignore better wide receivers simply to leave room for Osborn. But if you find yourself looking to draft a WR in the final few rounds, Osborn is someone you should definitely be targeting.