Kirk Cousins’ Fantasy Football outlook for the 2022 NFL season
Kirk Cousins has had a rather interesting career. He’s never really been a top 10 quarterback, but he’s managed to earn himself massive contract after massive contract. Cousins has already earned nearly $200 million throughout his playing career despite being a relatively average quarterback.
In the fantasy football sector, Cousins has largely kept a similar profile. Cousins has been a solid backup quarterback who can fill in when needed, and occassionally he has the upside to be a top-tier starter. He’s not the greatest fantasy quarterback ever, but there are always worse options than Cousins.
Heading into the 2022 campaign, Cousins should retain his status as one of the top QB2 options in drafts. But could he be set to take a leap this season in a new offense led by head coach Kevin O’Connell? Or could Minnesota decide to let Dalvin Cook take on a larger workload on the ground, limiting Cousins’ productivity? Let’s take a look at Cousins’ fantasy outlook for the 2022 season and see what should be expected of him during the Vikings upcoming campaign.
Kirk Cousins’ 2022 fantasy football outlook
Cousins will be entering his age 34 season in 2022, but hasn’t really shown any signs of regression to date. He had a very efficient 2021 campaign (372/561, 4221 YDS, 33 TD, 7 INT) and helped the Vikings achieve most of their offensive success. But it always feels like Cousins’ play leaves something to be desired, both in the fantasy world and the NFL.
Cousins finished the 2021 season as the 11th best quarterback in terms of fantasy scoring, which is where he always seems to finish. Cousins hasn’t been a top 10 quarterback since 2017, but he’s posted six top 12 quarterback campaigns in the past seven seasons. Cousins has always seemed to be a borderline starter, and that stat proves that to be the case.
The Vikings finally underwent a big change this offseason, firing longtime head coach Mike Zimmer and hiring Kevin O’Connell. Whereas Zimmer was a more defensive-minded coach, O’Connell is an offensive-minded leader. That should bode well for Cousins and the offense in 2022, as Zimmer could never seem to put all the pieces together to help Minnesota win games.
That was particularly frustrating for the Vikings because they have a lot of offensive talent. Cousins’ top two targets in Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen could both post 1000+ yard receiving campaigns if they can stay healthy. Jefferson in particular has become one of the top wide receivers in the NFL, and that top-tier pass-catching talent gives Cousins a pretty high floor.
Cousins also has a lot of support on the ground with his star running back Cook behind him. Cook is also backed up by Alexander Mattison, who is one of the best pure backups in the NFL. These two both take pressure off the passing game with their success on the ground, and again make life easier for Cousins.
The most challenging piece for Cousins may be adjusting to O’Connell’s offense. It should be something he can do, but it will take time. There’s also the possibility that Cook could garner even more carries out of the backfield after being somewhat underused by Zimmer at times, but given the pass-catching talent in Jefferson and Thielen, that seems unlikely to happen.
Cousins may take a step back in the overall quarterback rankings as a result of some other young options popping up ahead of him, but he still is about as consistent as they come at quarterback. Cousins should easily be a top 15 option, with his ceiling again being a borderline top 10 QB.
There’s a chance Cousins could breakout under O’Connell’s lead, but it’s tough to see that being possible for Cousins. He’s largely established his floor at this point, and hasn’t really shown any signs that he may be able to break through his ceiling at this point. Even with all the talent surrounding him on offense, it’s tough to fully get on board with Cousins being a weekly starter at quarterback for fantasy owners.
Cousins should be available towards the end of most drafts, and in some cases he may even end up going undrafted. Cousins is a solid QB2 to have on your bench in case anything happens to your starter, and depending on matchups, he may be a safe bet to start on some weeks.
But there’s no sense investing a high draft pick on Cousins when he will be available in the later rounds. He’s probably going to be there for the taking in the final three rounds if you want him, but there shouldn’t be a ton of urgency to select him given the other options you will have at quarterback. Cousins is a safe backup choice, but you may not need to draft him to land him, making him a potential free agent steal early in the season.