As the “debate” rages on over who should be the Minnesota Vikings’ starting quarterback for the rest of this season, another debate is being put to bed.

 

Case Keenum has earned the right to start on your fantasy football team, BUT only so long as coach Mike Zimmer starts Keenum on his real football team.

Again this week, Zimmer said Keenum is his starter but that he remains week to week with that decision.

Michael Rand nailed it when he said Zimmer “will stop getting asked who’s the starting quarterback” when he names a starter for his team.

Zimmer’s unwillingness to do so – he of course doesn’t have to and it is likely to his benefit not to – is one of the few knocks against owning Keenum (but it is quite a big one).

Just look at his last four games, where the Houston product has averaged 288.5 passing yards, 2.25 passing touchdowns and almost 10 rushing yards per game (hey, that extra point each week makes a difference – I lost a matchup by two tenths of a point last week).

In those four games Week 8 through Week 12 according to FantasyPros, Keenum has scored the seventh most points by a quarterback – trailing three who played five games vs. Keenum’s four with the Vikings’ Week 9 bye.

The most impressive of those performances, given the opponent, came in the 24-7 victory over the Rams in Week 11. He was 27-for-38 for 280 yards and a touchdown.

One week later, the Hall-of-Fame-bound Drew Brees went 22-for-32 for 246 yards and a touchdown against those same Rams, who rank as the NFL’s No. 9 pass defense (212.7 yards per game).

Say what you will about Keenum’s pedigree as a player – it’s hard to shed the stigma of being an undrafted player in one year – but he’s getting the job done on the NFL and fantasy fields.

And that is more than can be said for many quarterbacks at this stage of the season.

Moving forward Keenum should be considered roughly a top-12 play.

Quarterbacks who are still ahead of him: Tom Brady, Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz, Cam Newton, Brees, Kirk Cousins, Matthew Stafford, Ben Roethlisberger, Dak Prescott, Matt Ryan and Philip Rivers (not for what he’s done but for the favorable schedule he has to finish the season).

After that, I can be talked into listing Keenum adjacent to that group.

If you’re just not buying into Keenum’s production, fine.

But he does have the receives (Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and Kyle Rudolph), reliable run game (Jerick McKinnon, Latavius Murray) and a strong offensive line to protect him and continue to help pad his stats down the stretch.

Regardless of if you buy in, the recently named NFC Offensive Player of the Month has matchups vs. top-10 pass defenses each of the next three weeks to prove one of us right.

Want to talk more fantasy football? E-mail Mike at mike.nelson@startribune.com or heckle him on Twitter @mike_e_nelson.

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