You wouldn't know it by looking at early fantasy football draft results, but Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen was cruising along as a productive fantasy option last season, averaging more than six catches and 62 receiving yards per game through 11 of them, and with a cool 10 touchdowns. He was playing at a WR1 level, on his way to 100 receptions and 1,000 yards. Then he got hurt. Hey, football players get hurt.
Now we see Thielen going nowhere near even WR3 range in early drafts. It's easy to understand some of the reasoning for this discouraging lack of respect, since Thielen is coming off an ankle injury that truncated his season and required surgery. He is entering his age-31 season and, oh, Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are obviously the top two options in this productive offense. But still, Round 9 in early ADP? Really? No, that makes little sense. Thielen is somehow being forgotten in drafts.
Fantasy managers love the young, ascendant wide receivers and often forget about the older, proven and productive options who may have suffered a setback or two in recent seasons but may easily return to prior levels. This article can be, and probably is, written every summer, with a few modifications to the names, and this writer often raises his hand to write it. Thielen going outside the top 40 wide receivers in early drafts hardly jibes with his value. He was a top-10 PPR wide receiver in 2018 and 2020, and well on his way to a 2021 repeat until injury intervened.