Every season certain players fly up fantasy draft boards based on media hype or coach speak, but it’s not always realistic given their situation. Last year we saw Stefon Diggs become one of those players when his ADP rose to 28th overall by the start of Week 1. Kirk Cousins’ was about to begin his first season in Minnesota and the two of them had very little time to build rapport.
Typically the relationship between a quarterback and their top outside guy takes longer to blossom than someone that plays the slot. Right out of the gate we saw a different pass catcher become the top target for the Vikings’ signal caller and the whole world was hooked on a Thielen. Thankfully Kirk is a big fan of 90’s hip-hop. He walked up to the Jukebox, threw in a quarter and changed that tired old tune into a much more exciting one. From that point on, the whole team was gettin’ Diggy with it.
Not a Will Smith fan? Fine, let’s turn to the data.
Those who were paying close attention noticed that the tides began to turn after the Vikings’ bye week, and Diggs became the player we all drafted him to be. Apparently, it was too late for some people because his performances fell a bit under the radar. Diggs currently carries a fourth-round ADP, while Thielen is being drafted as the WR10. This fancy table below indicates that’s a big mistake. Take a look at their side by side production, starting with Week 10:
It’s clear that Thielen was a high producing safety blanket through the first ten weeks, but a safety blanket nonetheless. Something changed halfway through the season and Diggs became his go-to guy when the Vikings needed a big play. History tells us this will continue and drafting Thielen before Diggs could end up being a pick you regret. As the Ballers recently discussed on the early top-20 WR rankings podcast, these Vikings WRs will be a hotly debated issue come draft time.
I get it, you may prefer one of the ‘safer’ guys early on.
Fair enough, let’s look at the other guys in his ADP range. I’m happy to explain muh-self as Jason would say. Typically in this range of your draft, you are looking at a high-end WR2 that makes a living in the end zone, or a reliable PPR option that might not have quite as high of a ceiling on a week to week basis. This type of decision can make or break your draft since these guys may be drafted as your second receiver, but they have the potential to end the year in the top ten. Diggs fits this same type of mold as he has genuine top-five upside.
A reasonable explanation as to why he’s being overlooked is because his role isn’t as clearly defined from a fantasy perspective. Some weeks Diggs looked like the top red-zone threat in Minnesota, and other weeks he played more like a short range option underneath. Regardless of the true purpose of his talent, the talent itself is undeniable. It’s easy to think of Diggs as a coin flip week to week, but it’s a smarter move to see him as a unique combination of elite abilities. Since the Vikings Week 10 bye, Diggs had more touchdowns than Mike Evans, more receptions than Amari Cooper, and more targets than Keenan Allen – who are all being drafted ahead of him. If the second half of 2018 indicates what 2019 will look like, Stefon Diggs might just be the steal of your draft.