Two stints in each St. Louis/Los Angeles and Houston later, Case Keenum found himself entering the 2017 season as Sam Bradford’s backup in Minnesota. It took the fragile veteran all of one game to wind up on the shelf, paving the way for Keenum to showcase his talents in a favorable environment.
The Minnesota Vikings had a competent offensive line and strong cast of targets, led by Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. The running game was dynamic in the first month with rookie Dalvin Cook, and the drop-off wasn’t as severe as many expected when he suffered a season-ending knee injury.
Keenum had flashed at times in his career, never looking wholly incompetent or out of place in the NFL. That said, probably zero people on this planet expected him to carry Minnesota as he did and post quality numbers.
Even though he looked every bit the part, a sluggish postseason likely spelled the beginning of the end of his Minnesota tenure. Kirk Cousins became a free agent, and the Vikings opted to let Keenum test the open market, resulting in a fresh contract with the Denver Broncos.
Interestingly, the situation in Denver looks an awful lot like the setting in which he thrived with the Vikes. The Broncos focused on improving the offensive line play, and this passing game boasts a pair of strong weapons in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Denver has potential at tight end in Jake Butt and Jeff Heuerman, while the backfield may prove to have been upgraded with Devontae Booker and rookie Royce Freeman. Wideouts Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton were added in the NFL draft — both have drawn praise from Keenum.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave has been able to get the most out of passers in past stops, most recently the 2016 offensive explosion by Derek Carr. Keenum has already taken to the system and has demonstrated leadership qualities. The journeyman’s quick release and accuracy should help make the transition smooth.
Safety keeps quarterbacks on the field, but it generally does little to endear them to fantasy gamers. Keenum was cautious with the ball in 2017, rating well in “interceptable passes” (30th) and dangerous throws (26th), according to PlayerProfiler.com. He was 20th in pass attempt distance traveled and 16th in air yards per throw. All other notable metrics were mediocre, at best: red zone attempts (19th), deep ball throws (19th), passing yards per game (12th) and attempts per contests (17th).
Fantasy football takeaway
Keenum finished last year with just the 20th-most fantasy points per outing. He will need to throw more than his 22 touchdowns of a year ago to jump into starter territory. It’s entirely possible, especially with the cast of weapons in the Mile High City. However, in such a deep quarterback class, there is no reason to make that leap of faith.
Keenum is a late-round backup choice and has been drafted, on average, in the middle of the 14th. His ceiling is most likely capped at 4,000 yards and 27 touchdown passes, and a fair estimate puts him around 3,700 yards with 24 TDs.