NFC North Fantasy Picks and Preview
Updated: Aug 18
When comparing the different divisions in the NFL from a fantasy perspective, one thing is certain, the NFC North is not nearly as exciting as some of the other divisions. Having said that, there are definitely some gems in this division that could help you win your fantasy league. Here is my fantasy breakdown by position.
1. Matthew Stafford: Lions
2. Aaron Rodgers: Packers
3. Kirk Cousins: Vikings
4. Mitch Trubisky/Nick Foles: Bears
The casual fantasy player will look at these rankings and see Aaron Rodgers at #2 and wonder how one of the best QB’s of all-time could be in that position. While there are few QB’s you would rather have on your team, with the game on the line, Rodgers’ fantasy production has slipped greatly over the past few seasons. Rodgers doesn't sling it down the field like he used to and it seems like the Packers have turned into a run-first team under Matt LaFleur.
Matthew Stafford on the other hand, plays on a team that has struggled to run the ball, since the beginning of his career. Stafford was a top 10 QB in 5 of his 8 starts last season, before a back injury ended his campaign. The Lions have attempted to shore up their running game this season, but I don’t see any reason for Stafford’s numbers to decline in 2020. Consistency is the name of the game and Stafford will bring that to your team.
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Kirk Cousins is one of the harder quarterbacks to figure out in the fantasy world. Some weeks he can light the world on fire with 300 yards and 3-4 passing TD’s, while at other times, he will look like no more than a backup. I like Cousins as no more than a spot starter if the matchup is right.
As far as the Bears QB spot goes, it has been a hot mess for the last few years under Mitch Trubisky and I don’t see that changing in 2020. The Bears have added veteran QB Nick Foles to help shore up the position, but he is not a guy that you ever want to play in fantasy. He was a disaster in Jacksonville last season and is a stay away for me.
1. Dalvin Cook: Vikings
2. Aaron Jones: Packers
3. David Montgomery: Bears
4. D’Andre Swift: Lions
5. Kerryon Johnson: Lions
6. Tarik Cohen: Bears
7. Alexander Mattison: Vikings
8. Jamaal Williams: Packers
Dalvin Cook is a flat-out stud when he is on the field. The issue has always been staying healthy. If you draft Cook, you need to go into the season with the expectation of him playing 12-13 games. Alexander Mattison proved to be a capable backup in 2019 and can be a plug and play if Cook misses any time.
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Aaron Jones returns as the Packers bell cow back after putting up 1,500 total yards and 19 total touchdowns in 2019. While he might see a regression in TD’s, the Packers will be a run-first team, going forward, so Jones should be in line for another strong season. Jamaal Williams is a solid backup and third down back but is nothing more than that unless Jones mises any time.
David Montgomery came into 2019 with massive and probably unrealistic expectations. His season was a disappointment, but I look for him to bounce back in 2020. With the Bears passing game being a mess, they are going to want to run the ball early and often. I look for Montgomery and Cohen to be heavily involved and both should bounce back from down years in 2019.
The Lions RB situation received a huge boost in the draft, with the Lions adding D’Andre Swift. Swift should provide stability in the RB room. He is a dual threat back that could eventually turn into a stud in this league. Most importantly he provides insurance for the oft-injured Kerryon Johnson. Johnson has shown flashes early in his career, but has been sidelined, more often than he has been healthy. I lean towards Swift between the two.
1. Davante Adams: Packers
2. Kenny Golladay: Lions
3. Adam Thielen: Vikings
4. Allen Robinson III: Bears
5. Justin Jefferson: Vikings
6. Anthony Miller: Bears
7. Marvin Jones: Lions
8. Allen Lazard: Packers:
9. Danny Amendola: Lions
10. Marquez Valdes-Scantling: Packers
Wide Receiver is a position of strength in the NFC North and the top 4 are as good as you will find in any division. This group is lead by Davante Adams, who is a top 3 WR in the game. Everyone in the world expected the Packers to draft a WR in the 1st rounder. Instead they drafted their QB of the future. Targets will come in bunches for Adams this year, who is especially valuable in a PPR setting. Outside of Adams, less proven options, Lazard and Valdes-Scantling should get plenty of opportunity to shine. Both excelled in spot opportunities last season, but it remains to be seen if they can do it consistently.
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The Lions top 2 WR’s are very solid, with Kenny Golladay leading the way. Golladay put up 1,100 yards and 11 TD’s in 2019. He did most of his damage in the first 8 games of the year, when Matthew Stafford was under center. With Stafford healthy again, Golladay should be in line for a huge 2020. Marvin Jones is a very solid #2 option and has displayed good chemistry with Stafford. I look for an uptick in Danny Amendola’s numbers in 2020, as his chemistry develops with Stafford.
Adam Theilen is now the clear cut #1 in the Vikings offense, with Stefon Diggs departing. Theilen has always been a workhorse and the primary target for Kirk Cousins and I look for that to only increase. Justin Jefferson adds an explosive weapon to this offense, but I’m curious to see how he fits in this offense alongside Theilen, as they both excel in the slot.
For as bad as the QB situation is in Chicago, they are strong at WR. Allen Robinson III is a stud, who would be even better if he ever played with a good QB. Anthony Miller is one of my favorite sleeper plays this year in fantasy and is someone I frequently target in daily fantasy.
1. TJ Hockenson: Lions
2. Jace Sternberger: Packers
3. Irv Smith Jr: Vikings
4. Kyle Rudolph: Vikings
5. Jimmy Graham: Bears
To say this position group is underwhelming is probably the understatement of the century. Plain and simple, I would look elsewhere when filling your TE spot, with the possible exception of TJ Hockenson. Hockenson showed flashes last year but would disappear for long stretches and had trouble staying healthy. If the Lions figure out how to use last year’s number 8 pick, he will be worth owning in most leagues.
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I’ve never been a fan of selecting defenses early in fantasy drafts, but I would be more than comfortable owning the Bears or the Vikings. Both defenses are extremely solid, while the Bears have the potential to reach the elite level that they were at just a couple years ago. Having said that, I recommend waiting until the last few rounds of your draft, while hoping to catch lighting in a bottle.
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While the NFC North is certainly not one of the more exciting divisions in football, there are certainly a number of good options that can help you win your league. The division is very solid at both the RB and WR positions and could provide your team with steady, yet unspectacular play at the QB position.