Case Keenum: 325 completions on 481 attempts (15 games)
WR Group: 182 Receptions
RB Group: 75 Receptions
TE Group: 67 Receptions
Kirk Cousins: 360 completions on 540 attempts
WR Group: 195 Receptions
RB Group: 80 Receptions
TE Group: 85 Receptions
We more or less know what new QB Kirk Cousins is from his time in Washington. The bigger question mark is new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, who doesn’t have much NFL experience at calling plays (hard to count the 2015 Browns given the disparity in talent compared to his current situation). Theoretically his roots are in the west coast offense, but he’s said that he’s more than willing to adjust his strategy to fit the players he has. This will be a tricky thing in Minnesota as they have a high end TE in Kyle Rudolph, two high end WR’s in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, and a young RB with 3-down potential in Dalvin Cook. While this all would normally point to a massive fantasy points bonanza, you also have to consider the change of pace back Latavius Murray – who is a solid early down thumper – and the stingy defense that will often allow Minnesota to play from ahead. All things considered, I would expect Cousins to throw a little more than Case Keenum/Sam Bradford did last year, so somewhere around 540 attempts. Cousins’ accuracy took a bit of a dive last year when the injury bug essentially left him with the second team offense, but the improved talent should buoy him back up to the high 60% range that he had the previous two years. Ultimately, I’m expecting somewhere around 360 completions this year.
Kirk likes to push the ball downfield and he likes targeting his TE. The WR group was already targeted heavily last year so they should get a similar share of the targets. The TE love affair, however, will likely drive up Rudolph’s target share; his numbers should look a little more like 2016 than 2017. If the TE group sees an uptick in targets and the WR group stays the same, then it follows that the RB group will see proportionally fewer targets and catches. The good news is that the uptick in overall passing volume should partially offset that in terms of absolute numbers, so there shouldn’t be too much fear for a RB regression as Cook returns.