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Kirk Cousins - Fantasy Points Outlook

Basic Stats Basic Stats

Kirk Cousins
MIN

QB MIN

#16 Quarterback

357 Projected Points

ADP: Not Available
Bye: 7
Experience: 9 Yr(s)
Age: 33
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 214
40 Time: 4.84

Weekly Outlook

3d Projection

High Floor

15.9

DS Projection

19.2

Consensus

38 other sites
20

High Ceiling

26.3

Rest of
Season

21.4

Week 6 Projections
Yds TDs INT Rush Yds Fantasy Pts
246 1.7 0.6 7 19.2
Weekly Writeup
Cousins has cooled off, finishing outside the top 20 fantasy QBs in 2 straight. It could be 3 straight duds with a Week 6 matchup with a Panthers squad sitting 2nd in Football Outsiders' pass defense DVOA.

Rest Of Way Outlook

Yds TDs INT Rush Yds Fantasy Pts
268 1.8 0.7 9 21.4
Week 5
Despite Dalvin Cook (ankle) sitting this one out and Cousins throwing 34 passes against a soft pass defense, he had a middling fantasy performance by throwing just a single TD pass. On that score, it was a simple screen to Alexander Mattison, who was able to navigate through the Detroit defense for the score. Otherwise, Cousins heavily targeted Mattison (7 times) and his top WR, Justin Jefferson (8 times), with Jefferson frequently picking up large chunks of yardage that helped get Cousins to 275 yards on the day.

After starting the year with 7 TDs over his first 3 games, Cousins has cooled off with a single TD in each of his last 2 games. And that’s the problem of being a QB on a Mike Zimmer coached team. Whenever they can play defense and run the ball, they will, which means that Cousins will have to be extremely efficient while making explosive plays to reach his ceiling games. Also, he may be a QB that’s difficult to predict on a week-to-week basis because he’s often reliant upon unexpected game script.
Week 4
Cousins finally had a down game in 2021 as he only completed 52% of his passes for 203 yards and 1 score. The biggest driver of this was the pressure the Browns got on him. In weeks 1-3 Cousins was only pressured on 27% of his drop-backs. That number doubled to 54% in week 4. Cousins only completed 32% of his passes and had a terrible 2.4 yards per attempt when under pressure. Even with all the pressure on him, Cousins still pushed the ball downfield, completing 3 deep passes.
This week things should open back up for the Vikings as they take on the Lions. The Lions have been league average in QB points allowed, but currently sit at 32nd with a ridiculous 10.6 yards per attempt allowed and 28th in TD% allowed so far in 2021.
Week 2
Cousins showed in Week 2 that he doesn’t need 49 pass attempts to deliver the fantasy goods. He connected on 22 of 32 throws in Sunday’s narrow loss at Arizona, accumulating 244 yards and 3 TDs.

The 1st score came fairly easily, with Cousins finding a wide-open K.J. Osborn for a 64-yard catch-and-run TD on the opening drive. Cousins then found Adam Thielen from 7 yards out and Justin Jefferson from 14 before halftime.

After leaning further toward the pass than usual in Week 1 neutral situations, Minnesota leaned back toward the run in Week 2. We’ll ultimately take a split in the range of 32 pass attempts vs. 27 rushes, though.

A Week 3 home date with the Seahawks looks like another starting spot for Cousins in fantasy.
Week 1
We won’t often see Cousins attempt 49 passes, but we’ll sure take it when he does.

Cousins was his usual efficient self. He completed 73.5% of throws for 351 yards and a pair of TDs -- both to Adam Thielen.

Falling behind by 14 points midway through the 3rd quarter plus limited rushing success for Dalvin Cook (3.1 yards per carry) likely helped drive Sunday’s volume. But the Vikings also increased their “early-down” pass rate vs. last year’s, according to RBSDM.com. They ranked 27th in that category for the 2020 season; 17th in the league for Week 1. The 6.2 percentage-point difference was 14th largest in the NFL for Week 1 vs. last year’s rates.

It’s just 1 game, of course, and that could go back to last year’s rate. But it also wouldn’t be a crazy shift going forward -- especially considering we’re in Year 2 of the Justin Jefferson Era.

We’ll keep an eye on that aspect. In the meantime, we’ll continue treating Cousins as a common low-end starting option.

Basic Stats Preseason Player Analysis

What You Need to Know:

  • Over his 3 seasons as Minnesota starter, Cousins ranks 9th among QBs in total fantasy points. He drops to 17th in points per game, however.
  • Cousins ranks 8th over that span in TD rate (5.8%), 13th in yards per pass attempt (7.77) and 17th in passing yards per game.
  • A decline in passing volume has factored into his total production over the past 2 years. Cousins ranked just 24th in pass attempts in 2019, and then 15th last season.
  • Minnesota still ranked 6th most run-heavy in the league last season. Over the past 2 years, the Vikings sported the league’s 3rd-lowest situation-neutral, early-down pass rate (46.8%). Only the Titans and Ravens checked in lower.
  • Cousins has made up for that with efficiency. Minnesota has ranked 8th in the league over that span in expected points added (EPA) per dropback, according to RBDSM.com.
  • Cousins ranked 6th in the NFL in TD rate in 2019 (5.9%) and 7th in yards per pass attempt (8.1). With Stefon Diggs swapped out for Justin Jefferson last season and Adam Thielen healthier (15 games vs. 10 in 2019), Cousins climbed to 5th (6.8%) and 2nd (8.3).
  • OC Gary Kubiak retired after the 2020 season. But his replacement is son Klint Kubiak, who spent the past 2 years as Minnesota’s QBs coach. He also previously worked under HC Mike Zimmer in 2014, Zimmer’s 1st year leading the Vikings.
  • Kevin Stefanski “brought [Klint] Kubiak back” to coach the QBs after becoming OC late in 2018, according to the team website.
  • Zimmer said back in February: "I'm happy to keep consistency of the scheme and the staff on the offensive side of the ball for 2021. I believe in the system and the coaches we have.” Kubiak added that the scheme will need to “evolve,” but it seems we should expect a similarly run-leaning approach.
  • The only significant change among Minnesota pass-catchers this offseason has been Kyle Rudolph’s release. The Vikings got a preview of that, though, when Rudolph missed last year’s final 4 games. Irv Smith and Tyler Conklin mean no downgrade in the TE talent available to Cousins -- and probably an upgrade, given the ages of the 3 players.

Draft Sharks Bottom Line:

Cousins has been wonderfully efficient in Minnesota, especially over the past 2 seasons. His TD rate is likely to come down from last year’s 6.8%, but scheme continuity and the team’s pass-catching talent should minimize any dip there. The main limitation comes in passing volume, which lowers Cousins’ fantasy ceiling. But he’s a solid buy in the middle of QB2 range, regardless of format.

Recent Shark Bites View All Shark Bites »

Vikings QB Kirk Cousins has been activated from the COVID list. He was a close contact of QB Kellen Mond, who tested positive for the virus. As of now, Cousins is not vaccinated, which adds some risk to his 2021 fantasy profile.

View all Kirk Cousins Shark Bites »

The Vikings were hoping to land QB Justin Fields at pick 14 and even considered trading up for him, according to ESPN's Courtney Cronin. The Bears ended up making the move for Fields, while the Vikings added QB Kellen Mond with pick 66. Minnesota is clearly looking at their long-term QB situation, with Kirk Cousins turning 33 in August and, more importantly, set to count $45 million against the cap in 2022, the final year of his deal. Mond won't threaten Cousins' job this season. But if he shows well throughout the year, Minnesota might opt to roll with Mond the following year.

View all Kirk Cousins Shark Bites »

The Vikings have agreed to a 2-year extension with QB Kirk Cousins. The contract alters Cousins' 2020 cap hit and adds 2 more years beyond that at $96 million total, according to Ian Rapoport. The new pact figures to keep Cousins leading the Minnesota offense at least through 2021. (We'll see about the final season on the new contract.) Cousins fell from QB11 to QB19 in total fantasy points in his 2nd Vikings season. But he actually tallied more fantasy points per pass attempt in 2019 (0.65 vs. 0.55).

View all Kirk Cousins Shark Bites »

The Associated Press reports that the Vikings will name Gary Kubiak their new OC. Kubiak spent 2019 on the Minnesota staff as an offensive adviser and assistant to HC Mike Zimmer. The move gives Minnesota continuity from the scheme that helped usher in RB Dalvin Cook's 2019 breakout while deploying 1 of the league's most run-heavy approaches. We'd expect plenty more running under an OC who has historically liked his RBs. QB Kirk Cousins, meanwhile, finished 2019 low in QB2 territory, reaching 2 TD passes in just 7 of 15 games. Expect him to remain in QB2 territory in our 2020 fantasy football rankings, and approach Cousins as a platoon option in the double-digit rounds of early best-ball drafting. He and Minnesota's WRs do, at least, present a nice week-to-week ceiling.

View all Kirk Cousins Shark Bites »

ESPN's Courtney Cronin reports that the Vikings are "leaning heavily" toward resting the "bulk" of their starters in Sunday's game against the Bears. Minnesota is locked into the NFC's #6 seed. Cronin mentions QB Kirk Cousins as 1 starter who isn't expected to play. RB Dalvin Cook (shoulder) is almost certain to be inactive. And we'd bank on WRs Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen getting the day off, too. QB Sean Mannion will get the start for the Vikings, making this an offense to try to avoid in Week 17 fantasy lineups. The Bears DST is a strong play.

View all Kirk Cousins Shark Bites »

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