Skip to content

Is Adam Thielen‘s Fantasy Football Potential for 2023 Worth Your Pick?

The short answer: Yes, with the right expectations, Adam Thielen can provide solid WR3/flex value in 2023 fantasy drafts. He‘s not an exciting, upside pick, but he offers a high floor when healthy, especially for PPR leagues. View Thielen as a reliable yet unspectacular fantasy option whose best years are likely behind him.

Let‘s dive deeper into the factors impacting Thielen‘s 2023 outlook and whether it‘s worth investing a mid-round pick in the 10-year veteran. This guide will cater the analysis to different fantasy football player archetypes – the addict, comparison shopper, and picky manager – to provide the most well-rounded perspective.

Offensive Personnel Outlook

The Vikings boast continuity across their offensive skill positions:

  • QB: Kirk Cousins
  • RB: Dalvin Cook, Alexander Mattison
  • WR: Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn
  • TE: Irv Smith Jr.

This unit has played together for multiple seasons now. Their familiarity and chemistry, especially between Cousins and Thielen, suggest an efficient passing offense in 2023. Having playmakers like Jefferson and Cook prevents defenses from overfocusing on Thielen.

Thielen‘s Vital Fantasy Stats

Let‘s recap Thielen‘s vital fantasy stats over the past two seasons:

2022 Stats

  • 716 receiving yards
  • 6 receiving touchdowns
  • 11.7 PPR fantasy points per game

2021 Stats

  • 1,031 receiving yards
  • 10 receiving touchdowns
  • 14.1 PPR fantasy points per game

Thielen posted a stellar 15.4 PPR fantasy points per game in 2020. His significant 21% target share and 22.8% overall target rate demonstrate his heavy usage within the Vikings‘ passing offense.

While Thielen‘s raw totals dipped last season, he remained efficient on a per-target basis. When healthy, he profiles as a rock-solid WR3 in PPR leagues.

Early Expert Consensus Fantasy Rankings

The early expert consensus ranks Thielen as the WR47 and the 124th overall player heading into 2023 drafts. This modest ranking slots him in the late WR3 or high-end WR4 range, likely due to age and injury concerns.

However, I view Thielen as currently undervalued by the consensus. His ranking presents an opportunity to draft him at a discount as a high-floor WR3.

Factors Impacting Thielen‘s 2023 Fantasy Value

Now, let‘s analyze the crucial factors that will determine Thielen‘s fantasy football value and expected production for 2023:

Continuity in Offense

The Vikings are running back their same offensive personnel and scheme. Thielen benefits from this continuity with Cousins and within coordinator Klint Kubiak‘s system. This familiarity ensures he remains heavily involved.


At 32 years old, Thielen is approaching the latter stage of his career. Advancing age makes declining efficiency and physical skills more likely. Thielen posted his lowest yards per reception (9.9) and yards per target (7.8) marks since 2016 last season. Age-related attrition could continue dragging down his numbers.

Injury History

Thielen has battled nagging injuries recently, including sprained ankles last season. While not a major long-term concern yet, mounting injuries are a red flag for receivers over 30. Any aggravation of his ankles would significantly dampen his fantasy outlook.

Target Competition

Despite being the nominal WR2, Thielen faces target competition from Irv Smith Jr. and K.J. Osborn. Smith profiles as the #2 option after Jefferson, while Osborn earned a solid 22% target share himself last season. Thielen will fight for looks, especially near the red zone.

Early Schedule

The Vikings face the Packers, Eagles, and Saints during the critical fantasy playoff weeks of 14-16. Green Bay ranked 10th in passing defense DVOA last year, while Philadelphia was an elite 3rd. This late schedule isn‘t ideal for Thielen‘s fantasy production.

Positional Stability

Coordinator Klint Kubiak retained play-calling duties for 2023. The Vikings also return all their top skill position players. This continuity bodes well for Thielen maintaining a similar target share as 2022. He knows his role well in a stable offense.

Preseason Rapport with Cousins

By all accounts, Cousins and Thielen have picked up right where they left off last season. Their seamless chemistry and ball distribution during preseason games signals Thielen will remain a featured part of the passing game.

Thielen‘s Fantasy Outlook for Different Manager Types

Now, let‘s examine Thielen‘s fantasy value for 2023 tailored to different manager archetypes:

The Addicted Manager

Thielen offers reliability and a high floor week-to-week but not tremendous upside for "addicted" managers.

Positives: His reception and yardage totals should remain consistent when healthy. He brings a safe floor during bye weeks or as an injury fill-in.

Negatives: Injuries and declining age limit his ceiling. As veterans like Thielen decline, obsessed managers constantly look to upgrade and chase youth/upside.

Verdict: He‘s a holdover option you‘ll likely replace by midseason for a waiver pickup with more upside.

The Comparison Shopper

For the manager who analyzes every option before drafting, Thielen brings value at his ADP compared to similar veterans like T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, and Cole Beasley.

Compared to those peers, Thielen posted far superior total fantasy points and fantasy points per game in 2022. He outproduced them despite being 3-5 years younger. This age advantage makes Thielen the superior value pick of this veteran WR tier.

Verdict: Thielen brings the best production and value combination of comparable veteran wide receivers. He‘s worth drafting over similar options.

The Picky Manager

For discerning, cautious managers, Thielen brings certainty. He lacks upside but offers a reliable baseline of production thanks to his role.

Positives: Excellent fit for PPR leagues; high reception totals pad his floor. Has consistently finished around 800-1,000 yards and 6-10 touchdowns over the past four seasons when healthy. Durability prior to last season mitigates injury concerns.

Negatives: Injuries are creeping up on him. Age makes statistical decline likely. Lacks upside of younger receivers.

Verdict: Thielen brings the consistency, high-floor production, and certainty that picky managers covet, especially in PPR formats. He assuages risk while offering less volatility week-to-week.

Statistical Player Comparison

Let‘s quantitatively compare Thielen‘s 2022 production to two receivers with similar ADPs – Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods.

PlayerReceptionsYardsTDsYPRPPR PPG
Adam Thielen70716610.211.7
Brandin Cooks57654211.59.9
Robert Woods46557312.18.1

Thielen holds the reception and PPR fantasy point per game edge over Cooks and Woods. His higher volume and TD totals offset slightly lower big-play potential. This comparison shows Thielen‘s steadiness. Cooks offers more volatility, while Woods comes off a major injury.

Expert Opinion on Thielen‘s 2023 Fantasy Value

  • Matt Harmon (Yahoo): "Thielen remains one of the league‘s craftiest veterans at creating separation and winning at the catch point."

  • Mike Tagliere (FantasyPros): "He may have had a down year due to injury, but he‘s still the 1B to Justin Jefferson in what projects to be a top-12 scoring offense."

  • Patrick Daugherty (Rotoworld): "Even if Thielen‘s best days are behind him, he still figures to soak up targets as the distant No. 2 in one of the league‘s best passing attacks."

The consensus agrees Thielen remains valuably involved in Minnesota‘s elite passing offense as the clear second fiddle to Jefferson. When healthy, Thielen offers rock-solid WR3 production, especially in PPR leagues.

Injury Implications

Thielen dealt with nagging ankle injuries throughout 2022. While he never missed significant time, the pain appeared to hamper his trademark quick cuts and acceleration.

Thielen did undergo minor ankle surgery in the offseason. Early reports suggest he‘s recovered well and will be ready for Week 1. However, at 32 years old, Thielen‘s mounting injuries present concern, especially for an aging receiver reliant on precision route-running.

Fantasy managers should monitor his injury status closely leading up to the season. If Thielen‘s ankles impede him again, it would substantially dampen his upside and likely suppress him to WR4 levels in fantasy lineups.

Projecting Thielen‘s 2023 Outlook

Let‘s synthesize all the above factors into a projection for Thielen‘s 2023 outlook:

Floor Performance

75 receptions, 800 yards, 6 TDs

This stat line represents Thielen‘s safe floor if he stays healthy. It would mirror his typical output from 2019-2021 and rank him around WR40. He‘d be a serviceable WR3/flex option but disappoint relative to draft position.

Ceiling Performance

90 receptions, 1,100 yards, 10 TDs

Thielen could approach this upside ceiling if he avoids injury and sees increased red zone usage. It would make him a high-end WR2 and huge draft value. However, this degree of production is unlikely given his age and target competition.

Most Likely Outcome

82 receptions, 950 yards, 7 TDs

This projects as the most probable outcome for Thielen. It would be an improvement over 2022 thanks to better health while still showing signs of decline with age. He‘d finish around WR30, making him an unspectacular yet usable fantasy WR3.

The Verdict on Thielen‘s 2023 Fantasy Potential

Adam Thielen should provide solid WR3/flex production in 2023, albeit likely dipping from peak career levels. His status as the clear #2 receiving option in Minnesota ensures adequate targets and receptions, even though he faces growing competition.

Thielen‘s early schedule is also favorable. And when healthy, he remains one of the league‘s smoothest route runners and best technicians at the catch point.

However, Thielen is unlikely to recreate his WR1-level heyday from 2017-2020. Advancing age and injuries make statistical decline probable. View him as a reliable yet boring fantasy option – not an exciting upside pick but a high-floor play.

Overall, Thielen brings helpful experience, continuity, and PPR upside to warrant fantasy consideration. But he carries more risk than upside compared to younger options.

In summary, for the right manager and draft slot, Thielen‘s 2023 potential is worth a mid-round investment. Just approach him with measured expectations compared to prime production levels earlier in his career when making your pick.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.