Links to similar discussions of other divisions:
Not that much is going to happen around NFL circles for the next month, save for a few trades and some third-wave free agent signings. That means it’s time to build up your drafting chops with best-ball drafts! What does each offense offer? I’ll break it down division by division. Let’s go to the NFC North, where we all remain on Aaron Rodgers watch.
Note: All ADP courtesy of Underdog
Offensive Outlook: Mitchell Trubisky has shuffled off to Buffalo, and he’ll likely be replaced by Andy Dalton to begin the season, and then first-round pick Justin Fields at some point later, probably later than we would prefer. We could see a return to the very efficient Matt Nagy offense we saw early in Trubisky’s career if the play calling and design is unlocked by Fields running ability and deep ball.
Fields should be a QB1 once he takes over a la Jalen Hurts 2020, but we could be waiting until the Week 10 bye, or even later if the Bears are winning in spite of Andy Dalton, not because of him. Fields fits in a team build that doesn’t include one of the first 10 or so quarterbacks off of the board, but his upside is already priced in. Dalton is only viable in deep superflex, best-ball drafts.
Fantasy drafters aren’t falling for Montgomery’s hot finish last year, but that has left him slightly underrated. When Fields eventually enters, that should help Montgomery and the offensive line gelled in the run game in December, so there’s a foundation of continued success. Montgomery is the best running back pick in his ADP range, but there are some very good wide receivers available around there, so whether to take him is a function of what position your team build needs more at that point. Cohen, once a PPR best ball secret weapon, is now just a spare part and probably won’t be helped when Fields comes in. Damien Williams has done well in Andy Reid’s offense, and that’s Nagy’s coaching tree, so there’s a chance his role won’t be fantasy relevant, but still large enough to affect the value of Cohen and Montgomery.
We would like Robinson better if the Bears didn’t draft Fields - Dalton knows how to feed a #1 going back to his days with A.J. Green. Fields could help the offense have more scoring opportunities and possession, but Robinson probably doesn’t measure up to the very strong group of wide receivers in the same ADP range. Mooney, on the other hand, is likely to be the most frequent deep target for Fields sometimes eerily accurate long ball. He’s an ideal WR4 or WR5 to pitch in ceiling games via big plays. Miller has survived this far into the offseason after lots of talk that he would be dealt, but he’s only of interest in ultra-deep drafts.
What do you have when you have two viable tight ends in a low volume low-efficiency passing game? Probably no viable best-ball picks. Kmet should get more targets and snaps, but Graham is still the most likely tight end to get red zone targets even if they are sporadic, so neither fits into a typical best ball draft plan.
Bottom Line: Fields and Montgomery have potential, but that’s already priced into their ADP. Mooney is the play that stands out from this offense.
Offensive Outlook: We don’t exactly associate Anthony Lynn with offensive breakouts, and we haven’t seen Jared Goff without Sean McVay pulling the strings, so we are expecting an underachieving offense here. The offensive line is set up to be a strong run-blocking unit and we know Lynn will use his backs heavily and there is no clear #1 receiver, so T.J. Hockenson is set up for his best year yet.
Jared Goff - 15+ round ADP
Goff could have some good garbage time game scripts, and that’s about the best you can say for him. He’s only of interest in superflex leagues or if you’re really desperate for a third quarterback.
There have been too many indications that Lynn is going to run something close to a full-blown RBBC for the ADPs of these backs to be this far apart. It’s tough to gauge how productive this backfield will be because this looks like a team that will be playing from behind, but also one that will run the ball with efficiency and use their running backs as receivers as much as any team in the league. All this points to Williams being an ideal RB4 type to supply bye/injury high floor depth and occasional big games and Swift being overdrafted.
The Lions have the cheapest WR1 in the NFL in more ways than one, and that’s appropriate. All of their wide receivers are end-of-the-roster gap-fillers. Breshad Perriman is an unreliable big-play receiver. Amon-Ra St. Brown fits at the end of a best-ball wide receiver that has injury or weekly boom/bust risk concentrated in earlier picks. Williams is actually the team’s #1 receiver and the best value of the top three. Cephus’ star is dimming, but he’ll have a chance to prove himself if Perriman or Williams goes down.
T.J. Hockenson - 5th/6th round ADP
Hockenson has a realistic chance to lead the team in targets, catches, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. That still might not be enough to put him in the top four tight ends. He’s going to be a high floor option with season-long and weekly upside, but also be materially less valuable in best-ball leagues than the tight ends going ahead of him. In other words, Hockenson will give you an advantage over teams that slough tight end, but you better build in a clear advantage elsewhere over teams that took an early tight end, because Hockenson isn’t going to have the wattage in this offense to equal them unless Jared Goff zeroes in on him like he did Tyler Higbee in December 2019.
Bottom Line: This is going to be a bottom third of the league offense, but could still create fantasy value if Jared Goff is better than Sean McVay thinks. Still, the only player who should be prominent in your draft plans here is Jamaal Williams.
Green Bay Packers
Offensive Outlook: Unclear. If Aaron Rodgers shows up before or early in the season, everything is going to be ok. If he has really played his final game for the Packers everything is not going to be okay. Packers' offensive pieces are available at a discount, but that won’t ease the pain if Rodgers misses significant time. Good luck projecting how to handle this because it hinges on human psychology, one of the most unpredictable forces in our lives.
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