It didn’t take very long for the NFL quarterback carousel to kick into high gear as the top targets on the market — Kirk Cousins and Case Keenum — found new homes on Tuesday. While the deals won’t become official until later this week, it’s not too early to discuss the fantasy ramifications of Cousins agreeing to terms with Minnesota and Keenum set to leave the Twin Cities for Denver.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings released both Keenum and Teddy Bridgewater (who is expected to sign a one-year deal with the New York Jets) and set their sights on Cousins. Thanks to a reported three-year, $84 million contract that is fully guaranteed, Cousins is set to join the team that lost to Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game. Cousins has a pair of top-tier wide receivers to throw to in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs as well as a reliable tight end in Kyle Rudolph. Running back Dalvin Cook is recovering from a torn ACL but the pieces are in place on offense (and certainly on defense) for Cousins to help this team take that next step needed to get to the Super Bowl.
Case Keenum, QB, Denver Broncos
Coming off of a career year with Minnesota, Keenum accepted the Broncos’ offer of a two-year contract as the Vikings decided to go in a different direction. After replacing an injured Sam Bradford, Keenum was able to hold off Teddy Bridgewater and ended up going 12-4 as the starter (including playoffs) for NFC North champion Minnesota. Keenum posted career-best numbers across the board and put together a stretch from Weeks 8-15 in which he threw at least two touchdown passes and had 225 passing yards in each game. He also totaled just five interceptions during this stretch. Quarterback play has been a glaring weakness for Denver since Peyton Manning retired and Keenum will have two of the top wide receivers in the league to throw to in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
Early Fantasy Outlook for 2018
In terms of fantasy value, Cousins is the better option for 2018. The biggest reason being he has a better track record. Cousins has three seasons of 4,000 passing yards whereas Keenum’s 3,547 in 2017 represented his career high. Both quarterbacks will be 30 years old at the start of the season, so age shouldn’t really be a factor here. Cousins also has thrown at least 25 touchdown passes in each of the past three seasons while Keenum had 22 last season and a total of 46 in six total seasons (41 games played). It seems like the obvious choice to take Cousins over Keenum, but where does the latter rank now? Cousins is a QB1 in Minnesota with potentially even more upside than he had in Washington given the weapons he’s inheriting. Keenum is a high QB2 with the potential to be an every-week starter by midseason.
— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.