2014 Fantasy Football: Don’t Give Up On RB Jerick McKinnon

If you dropped a player to stash running back Jerick McKinnon on your bench, or even threw convention to the wind and started him in Week 3, you aren’t a happy fantasy football manager right now.

In my article last week, I reviewed why fantasy football player should be very high on McKinnon. For a quick rundown, at the 2014 NFL Combine, McKinnon had the most bench press reps for running backs, the second fastest 40-yard dash time and the second highest vertical jump. When you combine all of those aspects together, you have a very impressive physical specimen. Unfortunately in Week 3, however, McKinnon was unable to unleash his abilities against the New Orleans Saints. Fantasy players need to understand that this was mainly due to his lack of involvement, as he finished the day with just two rushing attempts and two receptions

Early in the year, Dr. Roto, Senior Fantasy Sports Expert for Scout.com, actually quoted some very thoughtful fantasy football advice from an unlikely source: Mr. William Shakespeare. To summarize, Dr. Roto stated that just because we know the previous history of a player, it doesn’t mean that player is tied to his past in terms of performance. Between coaching changes, injuries and the addition or loss of key players, an NFL team is a creature who is constantly evolving, and as fantasy football players, we can’t box our decisions in with bias and preconceived notions.

If you only judge McKinnon by his Week 3 performance and not by his potential, you would be right in not having an optimistic outlook for the 22-year old running back. If you want to take a leap from being a mediocre fantasy football to a great one, you need to have patience and find the right opportunities to buy players when everyone else is selling. Taking a shot on McKinnon is the type of move that will take you from average to great.

In Week 4 and Week 5, the Minnesota Vikings will face the Atlanta Falcons and the Green Bay Packers respectively. The Falcons, are the not-so proud owners of a defense that ranks 20th against the rush, and the Packers’ defense ranks 29th, and is currently allowing an average of 156 rushing yards per game.

Working in McKinnon’s favor, is the fact that Teddy Bridgewater will become the new field general. For the long term, I am very high on Bridgewater, and I think it was very smart of the brass in Minnesota to not rush him into anything. What I like about the rookie quarterback, is that he is not only open to advice, but he is proactive in his continued improvement and is able to execute on what he learns.

Of course, Bridgewater is likely to face the woes of a rookie in his first week as a starter. There will be some mistakes, but he is a solid quarterback who can competently run the offense. I’m not basing Bridgewater’s whole career off of what he can do in one game, but what I am going to do, however, is look for the potential the 21-year old quarterback may show in his first start. If Bridgewater can help build a more well-rounded offense, that should not only help the aerial attack to average more than 173.7 passing yards per game, but it should help McKinnon find success as well.

I’m not pigeonholing the Vikings’ offense to Weeks 1-3, and I am not passing on McKinnon because of his low workload and lack of fantasy stats.

Whatever happens to Adrian Peterson, he will eventually become replaced at some point. That is why, I am looking at who McKinnon could become for this Vikings’ offense, not at what he did this past weekend.

Categories: Fantasy Football

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