NFC North Fantasy Overview and Price Check

With the dust finally settling on a long and rather active offseason for the NFC North, we finally have a somewhat clear view at what the starting lineups will look like come September 10th. 

I’ll start with the Chicago Bears strictly for alphabetical purposes, and clearly not because they have the most exciting fantasy outlook this year. I’m not completely out on drafting Bears this year, and some of the hate could lead to some nice values late in drafts.

  • QB: Mike Glennon/ Mitchell Trubisky                                            ADP: Undrafted.                              Projection: 3,600 yards 25 TDs 15 Ints. Price Check: Perfect. Unless you’re in a Dynasty league then look Trubisky late.

Positive Spin: Trusting Bears GM Ryan Pace at his word here and projecting Glennon to play a majority of the season. Glennon has been around the league awhile and has the tools and knowledge to give the Bears receivers consistent enough play week in and week out. Although if they are struggling for wins as they did last year I’ll find it hard to believe they don’t give their hopeful franchise quarterback a look. 

Negative Spin: The odds are slim either of these options are even rosterable in normal 12 team leagues. An offense that is supposed to be fueled by the run game and a lack of any big-time receivers caps whoever ends up being the starter in Chicago. 

  • RBs: Jordan Howard and the rest…     ADP; 7th RB off the board and 14th overall. Projection: 1,250 yards 7 TDs on 270 carries. With 40 receptions for 380 yards and 2 TDs. Price Check: A bit rich for my blood.

Positive Spin: When I said he was a bit rich for my blood I meant a tiny bit. Jordan Howard is one of the safest RBs in fantasy this year. Now that’s not saying much with the running back position this year being a blood bath, but without much talent challenging him for carries he will be the definition of a workhorse. A great interior O-Line for Chicago fits perfectly with Jordan Howards tough running style. Kadeem Carey would be my pick for a handcuff and newly acquired Benny Cunningham has definite PPR upside if he’s not beat out by young electric Tarik Cohen. Drafting any of these guys besides Howard seems like a stretch at this point and with so many names if Howard went down realistically it would turn into a 4 headed monster aka fantasy hell. 

Negatives Spin: I worry Chicagos offense will hold Jordan Howard back from his 10+ TD potential and with him not being super involved in the passing game his upside is capped. For this reason I have Howard below guys like Demarco Murray and Devonte Freeman who are both currently going after Howard in the early 2nd round. Both Murray and Freeman are on better offenses and highly productive in the passing game.

  • WR 1: Cameron Meredith, Kendall Wright. WR 2: Kevin White, Victor Cruz.     WR 3:  Markus Wheaton, Reuben Randle. ADP; Cameron Meredith is going in the top of the 9th round as the 42nd WR off the board and Kevin White is going in the middle of the 12th as the 53rd WR. Projections: Cam Meredith: 70 receptions 950 yards 5 TDs. Kevin White 60 receptions 800 yards and 4 TDs. Markus Wheaton 45 receptions 450 yards and 3 TDs. Price Check: Nice late round depth adds. Could end up being steals.

Positive Spin: Cam Meredith was the 29th best receiver last year in points per game and is only going into his 3rd season in the NFL. He fits the mold of a #1 WR at 6’3″, and put up a very impressive success rate vs zone coverage at 84.2% according to Matt Harmons Reception Perception. Kevin White has all the potential in the world and his last injury wasn’t a soft tissue issue so he should come back strong. Both of these guys could come into their own this year if Glennon shows consistency. No Alshon in town means there’s a whole of a true #1 Wide Receiver.

Negative Spin: Health is in issue for every receiver the Bears have on the roster. It’s as if they are expecting all there receivers to play a maximum of 4 games, and thus explaining why they added so many veteran WRs. Depth isn’t a bad thing but I don’t see anyone standing out of this group. All very “meh” receivers fighting for limited targets in a run first offense. With their projected number 1, Cam Meredith, missing the rest of OTAs it seems like a start of a very rocky season for the Bears. Cam could easily lose his starting spot with the missed time from his thumb injury and become unusable.

  • TE: Zach Miller, Dion Sims, Adam Shaheen. ADP; Undrafted   Projection: 60 receptions for 550 yards and 4 TDs. Price Check: Not a terrible 2nd TE but I don’t recommend drafting a backup TE.

Positive Spin: In 5 of 10 the games Zach Miller played in last year he put up double digit fantasy points. He has shown big play ability and hopefully has his first year of QB consistency. He could easily end up being a top 10 TE you pick up in week 3 of waivers.

Negative Spin: More injury plagued weapons for the Bears with Zach Miller. He has struggled to stay healthy for a full season and now has a solid veteran in Dion Sims behind him. Sims will likely be blocking most of the time but the young super specimen Shaheen is sure to call for some targets. Shaheen is far from a finished product and I don’t see him contributing enough this season to make him worth rostering tho. TEs rarely have great rookie campaigns but that doesn’t mean they won’t have success in the NFL, and Adam Shaheen looks to be another guy to fit that mold. Possible future “Baby Gronk” but I don’t see it happening this year.

Bears Bottom Line: Outside of Jordan Howard there’s not much to be excited for this upcoming season fantasy wise. Cam Meredith could win you a few weeks this year if you spot start him in great matchups, but with WRs with previous NFL experience such as Victor Cruz and Kendal Wright soaking up targets his upside isn’t very high. Not having full faith in who your starting QB will be is a situation I tend to stay away from in fantasy.

Flawless visual transition into our next team the Detroit Lions. This is a Roster filled with useable fantasy pieces, but lacking a true game changer for your team. That’s leaves a lot to talk about so let’s get into it.

  • QB: Matthew Stafford ADP; Currently going in the back of the 10th round as the 15th QB off the board. Projection: 4,400 yards 28 TDs 10 INTs. Price Check: Great value. Going behind QBs with much bigger question marks.

Positive Spin: Stafford has been one of my favorite late round grabs at QB the last couple years. In his 2nd full season in the Jim Bob Cooter offense Stafford could show even more efficient play (Over a 65% Cmp% last two years). The Lions added an elite pass protector this offseason in TJ Lang and hope to have a healthy Ameer Abdullah this year. A more electric offense could lead to a top 5 QB performance this season from Stafford. He’s going off the board outside of a number 1 QB and that’s a great deal on someone as consistent as Stafford.

Negative Spin: He’s only thrown 30 TDs twice in his career, and hasn’t been over 4,400 yards in the last 3 seasons. The Lions are still without an elite WR 1, ever sense the retirement of Calvin Johnson, which is when Stafford really shines. 

  • RB: Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick    ADP; The 27th and 31st RBs off the board respectively. Abdullah a mid 6th round pick and Riddick and mid 7th Projection: Abdullah: 180 carries for 810 yards and 5 TDs with 35 receptions for 250 yards and 1 TD. Riddick: 90 carries for 400 yards and 1 TD with 75 receptions for 500 yards and 4 TDs. Price Check: Love Riddick that late and Abdullah price is about as high as I’d take him.

Positive Spin: If you couldn’t tell by my projection I have Riddick outscoring Abdullah in PPR. Riddick is a target magnet and James Robert Cooter loves to throw the ball in the flats making this a match made in heaven. Abdullah is going to get every chance to be the lead dog in this backfield and if he runs with that he could end up as a RB 1 at the end of the season. We’ve seen flashes of Abdullah being elite, now he just needs to stay healthy and consistent.

Negative Spin: Neither Abdullah nor Riddick is a prototypical 3 down RB. They will be splitting carries with each other and likely a goal line man such as Zach Zenner. This limits their upside and TD potential significantly. Pass heavy offense with multiple RB options could lead to some really dud weeks for the running game overall. 

  • WR 1: Golden Tate, Jared Abbredaris WR 2: Marvin Jones, TJ Jones WR 3: Kenny Golladay. ADP; Tate is going in the middle of the 5th as the 26th WR off the board. Marvin Jones is the 48th WR off the board in the bottom of the 10th round. Projection: Tate: 95 receptions for 1,100 yards and 4 TDs. Jones: 65 receptions for 700 yards and 5 TDs. Golladay: 35 receptions for 380 yards and 3 TDs. Price Check: Golden Tate still not getting the respect he deserves in PPR and Marvin Jones is worthy of a roster spot but not that early. 

Positive Spin: You can pretty much lock in 90 catches for Golden Tate after 3 straight seasons hitting that number. Even after last years horrific start, putting up 134 yards on just 17 receptions through the first 5 games, he rallied to get his 90 receptions and 1,000 yards. That early struggle definitely had something to do with Marvin Jones eating up all the targets and yards. In fact in that same 5 week span Jones led the NFL in receiving yards. Both receivers showed potential to be solid fantasy options. The question is can they do it at the same time? Also playing the Packers secondary twice a year doesn’t hurt.

Negative Spin: There’s no one on the Lions that is a sure fire starter every week in fantasy. I think Golden Tate is the closest and has a great shot of being a WR 2. I just don’t see any studs and the aforementioned Jim Bob Cootinator loves to spread the ball around.  

  • TE: Eric Ebron, Micheal Roberts  ADP; 12th round 6th pick as the 14th TE. Projection: 70 receptions for 850 yards and 5 TDs. Price Check: I clearly have him as a TE 1 so that great value.

Positive Spin: Just turning 24 this year Ebron has gone up in receptions every season he’s been in the league. Going from 25 to 47 to last years 61 receptions for 711 yards in only 13 games. He seems to have been given up on by the majority of fantasy owners which doesn’t make sense to me. Him having only had 1 TD last year probably has something to do with it, but that seems like an anomaly. Having 5 his sophomore season seems like a reasonable number for a guy as big and athletic as Ebron. 

Negative Spin: Injuries have plagued Ebrons career. He has yet to play a full 16 game season, and new 4th round draft pick Micheal Roberts could steal some red zone targets from Ebron. Roberts is out of Toledo and caught 16 TDs last year (6th most in FBS). If that’s the case and Ebron puts up pitiful TD numbers like last year he’ll be found on the waiver wire.

Bottom Line: The Lions are being overlooked at almost every position this year. Stafford not going as a top 12 QB, Riddick going a couple rounds later than he deserves, Golden Tate not being drafted as a WR 2, and Ebron going as a late round flyer. That’s a lot of value on one team. I could see myself owning more than one Lion on my fantasy teams this year.

Ok this visual transisiton is a little cheap, but I’m excited to talk Green Bay Packers. Following one of the most underestimated teams in the Lions, the Packers are possibly the most overestimated team in the division. When you have Aaron Rodgers people tend to get excited about the people he’s throwing too, but it all starts with him.

QB: Aaron Rodgers ADP; 1st QB off the board at the top of the 3rd round. Projection: 4,500 yards 41 TDs 9 INTs. Price Check: Yes he’s my number 1 QB, No I’m not taking him at the top of the 3rd.

Positive Spin: Gaining TEs Martellus Bennet and Lance Kendricks this offseason gives Rodgers an offensive roster reminiscent of the 2011 Packers when he won his first MVP. That season he had 4 guys with over 600 yards and 7 TDs, including TE Jermicheal Finley who may be the last super talented TE Rodgers has ever played with. If everything falls into place like it did that year I’ll definitely regret not taking Rodgers in the 3rd. 

Negative Spin: Hard to find a way to be negative about a season in Aaron Rodgers prime. Only way I can bash him is he’s being taken about a round too early for my liking. I see the reasoning because he outscored the #9 overall QB in fantasy last year Matthew Stafford by 100 points, but as the late QB truthers out there know you get to play the waiver wire and avoid bad matchups. When you draft a QB in the third your playing him every week no matter what.


RB: Ty Montgomery, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones  ADP; Montgomery at 58th overall and the 22nd RB. Williams is going in the 13th round as the 54th RB off the board.  Projections: Montgomery: 155 carries for 720 yards and 4 TDs with 50 receptions for 340 yards and 3 TDs Williams: 150 carries for 615 yards and 3 TDs with 15 catches for 120 yards.   Price Check: I love Montgomery as a RB 2 this year so that’s a good value. Williams brings upside as a late round flyer/handuff.

Positive Spin: Montgomery showed flashes last season of a legit RB 1. If you need convincing go watch him embarrass the Bears defense in week 13 last year (16 carries for 162 yards and 2 TDs). Improved blocking at the TE position from last year will help get him to the outside and open up big holes down the field. As a former receiver obviously he has hands but now he’s had a full year to learn how to pick up blitzes which will keep him on the field and how to catch a screen pass and use his blocks. Injuries have also been an issue for Montgomery, which is why I recommend having his handcuff Jamaal Williams. Williams shows all the characteristics of a 1,000 yard NFL rusher and I think he’ll preform when given a chance. If that chance turns into a starter role with 15+ carries a game then you’ll have fantasy gold on your hands.

Negative Spin: The Packers offense is built to throw the ball and their defense is built to make them have to throw the ball. In the inevitable shootouts Green Bay will be in this year the run game could be forgotten. During the previously mentioned 2011 season, that looks a lot like this years roster, the Packers had two RBs rush for just 500 yards and very little fantasy value. Losing All-Pro RG TJ Lang to the Lions doesn’t help Green Bay’s run game either.

WR 1: Jordy Nelson, Geronimo Allison   WR 2: Davante Adams, (Yancy or Dupree) WR 3: Randal Cobb, (Davis or Janis)   ADP; Jordy is going 12th overall as the 6th WR off the board. Adams is going 36th overall as the 19th receiver. Cobb is going 90th overall as the 37th WR off the board. Projection: Jordy: 90 Receptions for 1200 yards and 12 TDs. Adams: 70 catches for 900 yards and 9 TDs. Cobb: 80 catches for 800 yards and 6 TDs. Price Check: Jordy Nelson is where he deserves to be. Adams is a high upside WR 2. Randle Cobb has such a low price he’s a nice add to your bench.

Positive Spin: *See Aaron Rodgers. But seriously this offense can and has suppprted 3 or more fantasy impact receivers. Jordy is another year off of that ACL tear and Adams took a big leap last year. If Adams takes a jump like he did last year again this year he may surpass Nelson as the Packers #1. While I doubt Cobb can return to his 1300 receiving yard self he still gets targets and is trusted by Aaron Rodgers. That trust can lead to one of Cobbs classic 3 TD games at any point.

Negative Spin: A lot of mouths to feed may mean some guys go hungry. Cobb and Adams were far from consistent fantasy performers last year, almost becoming a boom or bust guys. Adams was in the bottom 25% of the league when it came to beating man coverage last year according to Matt Harmons Reception Perception. Cobb is really only useful in your flex for friendly matchups.

TE: Matellus Bennet, Lance Kendricks       ADP; 77the overall as the 8th overall TE Projection: 55 receptions for 650 yards and 7 TDs.   Price Check: I can see the upside but he’s being over-drafted.

Positive Spin: He may be in the best situation in his career. The number 1 TE for a prolific Packers offense. He won’t be sharing the ball with Gronk (when he was healthy), and he won’t have Jay Cutler throwing to him. All this could lead to his most productive season yet, even more productive than 2014 when he had 90 catches for 916 yards. 

Negative Spin: Packers don’t use TEs and much as people like to think. Even when Rodgers had Jermicheal Finley he only ended up as the TE #10 that year. That’s the only top 12 TE season the Packers have ever had under Rodgers. Marty B could change all that but with so many mouths to feed I don’t see it happening. Real football terms he’ll make a huge impact opening up the field, just not fantasy wise.

Bottom Line: You have to pay name value if you want any Packers on your team this year. There’s no great values here, just players expected to perform and being taken near their ceilings. I’m not saying don’t take any Packers I’m just saying you’re not going to find many steals.

One last incredible visual transition later and we’re talking Minnesota Vikings. Not too much buzz surrounding this offense this offseason, but there could be some diamonds in the rough.  

QB: Sam Bradford. ADP; Undrafted Projection: 3,900 yards 20 TDs 9 INTs. Price Check: Yup. Leave him on the waiver wire.

Positive Spin: He actually gets to prepare for this season unlike last year when he was traded right before the season started. You can’t underestimate what that could mean for Bradford. There’s no way their    O-Line could play much worse this year than last and new rookie RB Dalvin Cook could give Minnesota a more electric offense. 

Negative Spin: They didn’t improve their O-Line enough to totally change my opinion that they can’t protect Bradford. The Vikings could have a much improved offense and play extremely efficiently, but I still don’t see Bradford putting up the numbers to be a top 10 QB. Maybe a few weeks this season he ends up being a great spot start but that’s about all you can expect.

RB: Dalvin Cook, Latavious Murray           ADP; Murray is going 78th overall as the 30th RB. Cook is going 84th overall as the 35th RB off the board but rising fast.     Projection: Cook: 190 carries for 720 yards and 2 TDs with 40 receptions for 330 yards and 3 TDs. Murray: 160 carries for 610 yards and 6 TDs with 28 catches for 260 yards and a TD.                                                    Price Check: If you want super high upside go Cook as your 3rd RB and hope you strike gold. I’d say stay away from Murray until filling the last bench spots.      

Positive Spin: Bradford and the Vikings love throwing to the RB, and that’s Dalvin Cooks specialty. They had over 70 receptions by RBs last year and most of those will likely go to Cook. He was ultra productive in college and has the potential to be a top 5 RB.

Negative Spin: Bad offensive line and it was barely improved this offseason along with the RB committee make this an ugly situation. Murray vultureing the TDs and Cook taking the rest isn’t very exciting.

WR 1: Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell   WR 2: Adam Thielen, Jarious Wright      WR 3: Micheal Floyd ADP; Diggs at 78th overall and the 33rd WR. Thielen at 130th overall as WR 50. Projection: Diggs: 90 catches for 1,000 yards and 4 TDs. Thielen: 75 catches 950 yards and 7 TDs. Floyd: 30 catches 310 yard Price Check: Thielen is a great value in the 11th round. Digg has WR 1 potential and makes a good value as well.               

Positive Spin: Diggs has looked like a rising superstar at times and he’s in his second season with Sam Bradford. He has the rac ability to break any play for a TD and pure speed to get over the top. Thielen really came into his own as a former undrafted free agent in his second season. He showed real ability to score and if he takes another step forward could become a 10 TD a year guy.

Negative Spin: Not a high powered offense by any means. They want to be a run first team and rarely stretch the field. Injury concerns with Stefon Diggs and even Sam Bradford loom over this teams outlook. If they’re protection doesn’t improve expect another mediocre year for Vikings receivers.

 TE: Kyle Rudolph ADP; Going in the middle of the 8th round as the 9th TE off the board. Projection: 80 receptions 800 yards 6 TDs Price Check: I like his value but I wouldn’t reach much farther for him.

Positive Spin: It looked like a breakout season last year for the 27 year old TE. He led the Vikings in targets with 132 and finished with 83 catches for 840 yards and 7 TDs. He seemed to have an imediate connections with Sam Bradford and finished as the 6th overall fantasy TE. I expect that to continue into 2017

Negative Spin: Rudolph has had less than 500 yards receiving every year of his career until last season. I mentioned earlier that TEs are able to break out later in their career but there’s no guarantee they’ll stay consistent. Rudolph is not going to win you weeks like the Gronk and Jordan Reeds of the world. With him you just hope he puts up his 8-12 points and doesn’t screw you.

Bottom Line: The O-Line was so bad last year it puts doubts into every player on their offense. If that improves significantly watch out for some beastly Viking fantasy production. Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs show a lot of upside and could win you your league… I wouldn’t bank on that tho.

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