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Why? Why is it so hard for analysts and fantasy players to give Kirk Cousins any respect?

By this point in time he must be feeling like Rodney Dangerfield. Yes, he is going to a new team with a new offense. But this is where the hardship stops.

Despite obvious upgrades across the field and a better overall situation, Cousins' ADP this season (QB8 at 7.12) has remained almost identical to last season (QB9 at 8.02). Is he still being undervalued and underappreciated as a franchise QB in fantasy football?

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He has better receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen than he ever had in Washington. He has a reliable tight end in Kyle Rudolph who, while not as talented as Jordan Reed, is at least healthy. We know Cousins loves using the tight end position as seen with Reed and Vernon Davis. Now he has a tight end, who along with Jimmy Graham, has the most touchdown receptions from the position over the last two seasons in the NFL. That’s right. Kyle Rudolph has more touchdown receptions over the past two seasons than even Travis Kelce or Rob Gronkowski.

When it comes to the running game, while Dalvin Cook is an enigma at the moment based on his start to the season last year before his injury, he is a better player than any running back Cousins ever played with in Washington over his time there. The likes of Alfred Morris, Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson pale in comparison talentwise to Cook, which should be apparent this season in Minnesota. With an offensive line in Minnesota which is comparable to the solid line in Washington, the last thing to worry about for Cousins is his blocking either.

When it comes to the defensive side of the ball, enter the Skol. Minnesota is a legit, elite defense. They are in the conversation with Jacksonville as the best in the NFL. This is a far cry from the dregs of the Washington defense, which at times could not get out of its own way. The Vikes offense should find itself in better position to score and keep opposing defenses guessing.

Kirk Cousins perennially threw for over 4,000 yards in Washington, where in 62 games played he averaged 261 yards per game, including five games in which he came into the game in relief. His touchdown to interception ratio is not great at slightly less than 2:1 with 99 touchdowns to 55 interceptions, but this can be directly attributed to his lack of superior talent surrounding him. Talent which is there with the Vikings in the form of Cook and Rudolph as well as Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. He got the most out of his surrounding cast that he possibly could in Washington, including the likes of Terrelle Pryor and Josh Doctson. This was in a division in which the playing style is more old school - running the ball and tossing short passes to get down the field.

Now, in moving to a division which is more open with the likes of Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford, it will be imperative for Cousins to throw. He should easily continue his production of 4,000 yards and could hit the 5,000-yard mark with the weapons surrounding him, and as mentioned the wide-open nature of the division.

His QB8 finish in 2017 should be his floor moving forward and with this said he is being criminally undervalued in fantasy drafts where he should be going as a top-five quarterback option. Currently being taken in drafts as the eighth quarterback off the board, he is being taken at his floor and will easily outperform this draft position by the end of the season. While some quarterbacks have a roller coaster of possible weekly outcomes based on things such as rushing attempts, Cousins, who can run some when called upon, still has the stability of the pass others may not have.

Look at a player the likes of Cam Newton, if he does not get the rushing work on a given week, there is no way for him to finish top 10 for the week. The same goes for a player like Deshaun Watson, who not only counts on his mobility, but also is coming off of a major knee injury. If an unproven Watson is going as the second overall quarterback off the board, Cam Newton is going fifth, and Carson Wentz, who isn't even playing in Week 1, is going seventh ahead of Cousins, we should be willing to take a shot on Kirk Cousins. At least he has the proven track record to back up his draft position.

 

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