Cordarrelle Patterson finished his 2013 rookie season strongly, with six total touchdowns and 375 rushing and receiving yards over the final five games, and he wound up second in the league in all-purpose yards (2,020) while earning a Pro Bowl selection as a kick returner. Norv Turner will take over as offensive coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings this year, which is good news for Patterson having a bigger role in his second season.
Patterson was not used much offensively early in his rookie season, and his numbers reflected it with 21 catches for 196 yards and a touchdown over the first 10 games. Turner reportedly started drawing up plays for Patterson virtually immediately upon being hired, so there is a plan in place to make him a featured part of the offense.
Patterson had 12 rush attempts last year (10 in the final five games), so he may still see extra touches in that capacity this year. Assuming he keeps his duties as Minnesota’s primary kickoff returner, he’ll see extra opportunities to accumulate fantasy points in that role too.
Only one of Patterson’s four receiving touchdowns last year was caught more than 10 yards down field, and he was targeted 22 times behind the line of scrimmage (per Pro Football Focus). So he clearly has some work to do in order to become a more complete wide receiver.
The Vikings may still have a fairly run-oriented offense this year with Adrian Peterson as the centerpiece, so Patterson’s production has a good chance to be inconsistent week-to-week.
Patterson is a popular breakout candidate in fantasy circles this year, and rightfully so with an offensive coordinator in place that will find a way to use him effectively right out of the gate. Patterson should pile up plenty of yardage as a multi-purpose weapon, but as the Vikings get into scoring territory I think he’ll take a back seat to Peterson and tight end Kyle Rudolph. A relative lack of red zone looks (10 targets in 2013) stands to hold down Patterson’s fantasy upside a bit, but otherwise I like him as a WR2 or WR3 with nice potential in PPR leagues this year. It should be a rare dynasty league that Patterson is still available in, but if you’re in such a league it makes sense to go to great lengths to get him on your roster this year.
Bye Week: Week 10
Projected Round: Seventh Round
Auction Value: $7 (ESPN.com)