Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kirk Cousins
- Kirk Cousins wasn't the upper-tier fantasy football quarterback in Minnesota that he'd been in past seasons.
- Is a resurgence in store for 2019? Ian Hartitz analyzes Cousins' outlook.
We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2019 season; this is part of that series.
The Vikings featured one of the NFL’s most complete rosters en route to the 2017 NFC Championship Game. Then they made what was widely viewed as an upgrade at quarterback in 2018 by switching from Case Keenum to Kirk Cousins before disaster struck in the form of a playoff-less 8-7-1 campaign.
Failure to score more than 24 points in five of their final seven games last season highlighted Minnesota’s inability to consistently create explosive plays in the passing game.
That shouldn’t have been an issue in an offense that featured Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and Kyle Rudolph — among others — so much of the blame was placed on the team’s new $84 million quarterback.
Let’s breakdown whether Cousins deserves all the blame for the Vikings’ troubles in 2018 and if he can resume his status as an upper-tier fantasy football option in 2019.
Kirk Cousins Didn’t Quite Earn His Pay in 2018
Cousins joined Drew Brees as the only quarterbacks to complete at least 70% of their passes in 2018. He also managed to post top-10 marks in some marquee statistics, including passing touchdowns (30) and yards (4,298).
Still, Cousins’ efficiency wasn’t at the level fans and fantasy owners have come to expect over the years.
- Pass yards per game: 269 (No. 14 among 32 quarterbacks that started at least eight games in 2018)
- TD rate: 5% (tied for No. 16)
- QB rating: 99.7 (No. 9)
- Yards per attempt: 7.1 (No. 23)
- Adjusted yards per attempt: 7.3 (No. 16)
- Fantasy points: 282 (No. 13)
- Fantasy points per game: 17.6 (No. 16)
Cousins was, by most accounts, an average to above-average quarterback for the majority of last season. Some of his drop-off in fantasy production was due to him scoring just one rushing touchdown after having at least four scores on the ground from 2015 to 2017.
Regardless, this level of play is unacceptable for a player who reset the quarterback market in free agency.
There’s a case to be made that some of Cousins’ early-career success was due to old pal Sean McVay.