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Adam Thielen, Kyle Rudolph's Fantasy Outlook After Stefon Diggs' Injury

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2018

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 09:   Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the football against  Leonard Floyd #94 of the Chicago Bears in the third quarter at Soldier Field on October 9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
Jon Durr/Getty Images

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Stefon Diggs is inactive Sunday against the Detroit Lions because of a rib injury, leaving fantasy owners pondering how the value of fellow wideouts Adam Thielen and Laquon Treadwell and tight end Kyle Rudolph might be affected going forward. 

Thielen was already a top-end WR1 with Diggs healthy, and his upside increases slightly without Diggs available. His already high usage should improve, though it's possible that defenses will be able to focus on shutting him down more without the threat of Diggs to worry about. Nonetheless, he remains a WR1.

Adam Levitan @adamlevitan

Stef Diggs missed 2 games last year. Target share in those: Thielen 38% (!), Rudolph 24%, Treadwell 11%.

The same could be said for Rudolph, who has always gotten the majority of his fantasy value from touchdown receptions in the red zone. Even if Rudolph does see more work, his absolute upside is the type of performance he gave in 2016 (83 receptions for 840 yards and seven scores).

Keep in mind, though, that in Rudolph's six other professional seasons, he never reached 60 receptions or 550 receiving yards. His 2016 campaign feels like more of an outlier than a true upside, leaving him as a potential low-end TE1 but not a player likely to replace Diggs' production.

As for a sleeper play, Treadwell has the opportunity to see a bigger bump in value, though given his lack of production to this point, assuming he'll suddenly emerge as a dangerous threat is a risky game to play. Treadwell has followed up a wildly disappointing sophomore season with a mediocre third campaign. 

Without question, Diggs' absence leaves a void at wideout, and Treadwell is among the candidates to fill that void. That makes him worthy of a speculative addition, especially in deeper leagues, but until he produces, there's little reason to start him.

It's just as likely a player like Aldrick Robinson could see the bump in production. Until one of Minnesota's other wideouts steps up, Thielen is the only player in that group with rock-solid fantasy value.