clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Panthers WR Adam Thielen: Fantasy football draft profile for 2023 NFL season

We break down the outlook for Carolina wideout Adam Thielen heading into the 2023 NFL season.

GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 01: Adam Thielen #19 of the Minnesota Vikings participates in warmups prior to a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on January 01, 2023 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Following a nine-year career as one of the focal points of the Minnesota Vikings' passing attack, Adam Thielen is moving into the next stage of his career after joining the Carolina Panthers in the offseason. With the No. 1 overall pick in Bryce Young under center, Thielen will be called upon as a source of security as the former Alabama signal-caller transitions to facing NFL-level competition.

2023 Fantasy Football: Adam Thielen Profile

Recap of 2022 season

Despite coming off his lowest receiving total since the 2019 season, Thielen still caught 70 receptions for 716 receiving yards and six touchdowns through 17 games for the Vikings. He finished second in receiving behind Justin Jefferson and averaged 21.7 PPR fantasy points for the season. He finished as WR30 with 180.0 PPR fantasy points for the 2022 season.

Updated Panthers outlook

Thielen will step in as one of the more experienced wideouts in a receiving room that boasts DJ Chark and Terrance Marshall Jr. While Carolina was known for its ability to run the ball last season, the hope is that the addition of Thielen, coupled with drafting Young as their franchise quarterback, provides a boon to a passing game that ranked 29th in the league last season (176.2 passing YPG).

Best case scenario

At 32 years old it’s safe to say the days of Thielen being a true WR1 are long behind him, as his last 1,000+ yard receiving season came during the 2018 season. Still, he’s logged over 700 receiving yards in four of the last five years, and that came with an ascending Jefferson playing alongside him in Minnesota. Now in Carolina, the best-case scenario is that Thielen proves to be a reliable security blanket for Young, hopefully recording at least 70 receptions once more.

Worst case scenario

Thielen managed to play in all 17 games last season, but now that he ascends into a more primary role with the Panthers, can he be trusted to be healthy throughout the year once more? An injury bug coming his way, or an increased reliance on the ground game to help Young transition in year one could severely hamper his fantasy ceiling.

Prediction

Given the ongoing questions around Young’s ability to stay protected in the pocket, I’m tempering my expectations for a big season for Thielen, especially if Carolina opts to run the ball plenty as a means of taking a heavy playmaking load off Young. Around 15.0 PPR fantasy points per game seems likely with his newfound quarterback, but if Young has a spectacular rookie campaign, perhaps we see Thielen total as many as 20.0-plus PPR fantasy points again in 2023.