- Steven Pintado
NFC North Division Review
Round four of the division reviews are here. We are going over the NFC North now in the surprises and disappointments. Also a quick early projection of the teams for the 2020 season/draft.
One of the biggest surprises for the Lions in fantasy was seeing Kenny Golladay take the next step in being a top-end fantasy wide receiver. For the season he finished as W 5 in a year three breakout season. Overall, his fantasy season looks great but he was a little inconsistent in terms of points-per-game. He had five games that he scored less than 10 fantasy points but also had five games where he scored over 20 points. Fantasy owners were thrilled getting a stud in the fourth-to-sixth round range in drafts. Matthew Stafford was having a bounce-back season as he was QB6 up until he went on IR in Week 10. He also had five games where he had three touchdowns-per-game.
You could say the Lions' season overall was a disappointment. Kerryon Johnson was the biggest bust for the Lions as he under performed and then went on IR for the second year in a row. He was only averaging 3.4 yards-per-carry behind a bad offensive line. His involvement in the passing game was nonexistent as he only had ten receptions in seven games. He wasn’t able to score more than 15 fantasy points in a game. TJ Hockenson's hype was another disappointment since he wowed everyone with a 150 yard game in week one. Everyone who spent up to pick him or traded for him was very disappointed. He disappeared the rest of the season and was only able to score over ten fantasy points just once. He had a horrible 56-percent catch rate and never lived up to his week one blow up game.
What to look forward to
Well, this offense needs Matthew Stafford back. The offense fell off once he went on IR. Stafford should be another late-round QB who’s ceiling could still be a top ten fantasy QB. Kerryon Johnson won't have that same sleeper status as he has had the past two seasons. He shouldn't be drafted any earlier than round four since he can't be trusted to finish seasons. Golladay will be interesting because he could put up similar numbers as of 2019 but you would assume his TDs will regress. His value should depend on Stafford. Marvin Jones could be a sneaky mid-round flier since he also was having a decent year before the injury. Hockenson will look to take steps in year two but it's a risk to take an unproven tight end in fantasy.
Green Bay Packers
There was no bigger surprise than Aaron Jones as he put up a top-three fantasy season. He had dominated the league with eight multi-touchdown games and scored 19 total touchdowns. He finally was able to be the lead back and showed why everyone thought Mike McCarthy was crazy not to play him more.
The Packers may have gone 12-4 but for fantasy, there were more disappoints than rewards. Aaron Rodgers, in terms of what he has given in the past, this season was a disappointment. He was a top six drafted QB in fantasy but finished outside the top ten. In eight games he scored 15 fantasy points or less, mostly due to the fact that he had no weapons for half the season. Former first-rounder Davante Adams was unproductive early on and missed a chunk of games due to injury. He rebounded late in the season but for a first-round pick, he wasn't able to help you early on. With and without Adams, the Packers had no other fantasy-relevant receiver as none of them were able to finish inside the top 70 of fantasy receivers. Guys like Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Gerrmo Allison were not startable and dropped in most leagues. Jimmy Graham had a few moments but you never felt safe to start him in most games all season.
What to look forward to
The Packers are hoping that in year two of Matt Lafleur's offense that they can turn into a high powered offense. Rodgers is getting into the later stages of his career now. You assume he is a top ten fantasy QB but with the recent rise in QBs and lack of talent around him is concerning. Aaron Jones will probably be drafted higher than he should since you would assume regression as he is coming with those 19 touchdowns. Adams should still be considered a top four receiver in fantasy as he should see over 100 targets being Rodgers' number one receiver. As far as the rest of the receiving core currently has no real fantasy value moving forward. Perhaps Allen Lazard could step up and provide fantasy value in 2020.
The 2019 Bears didn't have a ton of surprises for us in fantasy. The one player who stepped up was Allen Robinson. He had a top ten fantasy wide receiver finish in 2019. He was the true value of being a consistent receiver in fantasy. He never really disappointed you but he never was the one who helped you win games.
Mitch Trubisky failed to take that third-year jump and regressed. He finished outside the top 20 fantasy QBs after being a very inefficient season. The offense changed and the Bears didn't let Trubisky move around the pocket. He may have thrown for more yards but his completion percentage fell significantly in 2019. He did have a portion of the season where he did well but compared to last season, he regressed. David Montgomery was also a major disappointment after his preseason hype had him shoot up in drafts. He didn't show that same burst he showed during the preseason. Tarik Cohen also regressed after a solid 2018 season. His touchdowns dropped from eight to just three and he only managed three games over ten fantasy points. Anthony Miller never took that year two jump after a successful rookie season. The tight end position barely was able to spark anyone's interest in starting them
What to look forward to
The Bears are certainly looking to rebound after a disappointing season. Year four for Trubisky will be huge to see if he can be a quarterback in this league. He is a far better option in deeper leagues as in seven games he scored 20 fantasy points in them. Montgomery will probably be at a discount now and could be worth snagging as an RB2 if the O-line improves. Cohen is a better PPR option for owners but both runningbacks are limited in their roles. Allen Robinson continues to be a solid WR2 in fantasy but don't let his great season cause him to be over-drafted in fantasy. Anthony Miller is someone who you could take late as he does have upside, especially in the red zone. Trey Burton should be back as the starter and could be a sneaky late-round TE option. He was a guy coming off 600 yards and six touchdowns.
Dalvin Cook burst onto the scene and dominated the first half of the fantasy football season. He averaged 20 fantasy-points-per-game and had a career-high 13 touchdowns. He was one of the best second-round steals but unfortunately a second half injury made his season a little less great. Kirk Cousins and Stefon Diggs, while inconsistent during the season, had top-half finishes in their respective positions.
As far as disappointments, the Vikings put together solid players during the season. Cook's second-half injury definitely hurt fantasy owners during the playoffs. The tight ends had moments but never were a reliable option for us. Adam Thielen had a great start as a top ten receiver but injuries ruined the rest of his season. He wasn't able to get back on the field for the second half and keep owners disappointed.
What to look forward to
The Vikings should be healthy going into 2020 with their team back in full. Cousins could see some progression as he should have Thielen back for a whole season. Thielen and Diggs should be solid round three-to-five receivers who have that top talent. Cooks will look to avoid another injury season. Don't overdraft Cook with a top pick because he has yet to play 16 games during a season. He's a solid back of the first round or early second-round pick in games. Alexander Mattison will be one of the best handcuffs in the league. The tight end position will be interesting to see if Irv Smith Jr. can overtake Kyle Rudolph and show some fantasy value.