Over the course of four weeks, I will take a stance and plant my flag for certain players in 2019 – good or bad. Many of the opinions will either be my feelings on ambiguous situations or debunking assumptions that have gone too far. I will look at each fantasy skill position in this four-part series. Today we begin with Kirk Cousins.
The QB position is one of the more stable and predictable positions in the NFL. There seems to be a TON of talent hanging toward the back end of the draft. The vets we have relied on for so long are still available in rounds eight or later. Often you will see guys like Philip Rivers, Big Ben, and Tom Brady hanging around until 9th+ round (1QB). This screams like a year to wait at the position. You could nab these players very late, yet get similar production compared to the QBs going much earlier in the draft. But what if you could wait even later to draft your QB1?
I have to plant my flag with someone, and that someone is Kirk Cousins of the Minnesota Vikings. What in the world? It’s not common to see many people tout Kirk Cousins in the fantasy community. So why is this the player of choice?
If I asked you which ONE quarterback has been a QB1 the past four seasons, who would you choose? The common answer is Drew Brees. Some might guess Philip Rivers. Others would forget the Tom Brady suspension or the Aaron Rodgers collarbone. However, one answer that is often left out is Kirk Cousins. Yes, Kirk Cousins is the ONLY QB to finish in the Top-12 in fantasy points each season since 2015.
Cousins checked in at QB9 in 2015, QB5 in 2016, QB5 again in 2017, and QB9 in 2018. All this man does is produce in the face of criticism, whether it’s sexy on the football field or not. I’m not saying Kirk Cousins belongs in the upper-echelon of the NFL QB conversation. I’m not saying he is a fantastic playmaker or has the ability to extend plays with the likes of Rodgers or Wilson. But I am saying that Kirk Cousins does a lot of things well and putting up fantasy points is one of them.
In addition, Kirk is great under pressure which alleviates the current concern of the offensive line. Throughout his career Cousins has played behind sub-par pass-blocking lines and has successfully learned how to navigate. In fact, per Pro Football Focus, Cousins was one of the most pressured QBs in the NFL this past season. He was pressured on 260 drop backs, behind only Watson at 281, with the next closest at 228. However, he managed to finish 1st in adjusted completion percentage (with at least 100 drop backs) at 75.9% in those situations.
Cousins also managed to finish 2nd in the NFL in adjusted completion percentage overall behind only Drew Brees. For someone who attempted the 6th most passes in the NFL, this kind of accuracy will produce fantasy points. Especially when you have route technicians like Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen catching your passes.
For these reasons, I am planting my flag with Kirk Cousins. He can provide a great return on investment for redraft fantasy players. Commonly ranked around his ADP (QB20 here at TFA), Cousins comes off the board as QB21 behind Jimmy G., Lamar Jackson, and Josh Allen. Cousins could be the perfect candidate to employ a punting strategy to build depth at more impactful positions.
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