Today we take a preview of the NFC North teams. There are 3 solid QB’s and each team has solid RB’s as well.
Bears – Jay Cutler
Cutler’s your solid #2 starter with #1 upside some weeks. His INT numbers are a little high, so his value could be higher if he were to cut down those numbers. Week #1 Cutler faces the Bills, and many daily fantasy sites have Cutler priced just inside the top-10 QB matchups that week. The Bills lost S Jarius Byrd to the Saints this off-season and have some other issues in the secondary. Cutler likely rates to be a solid play week 1 if you don’t target one of the elite QB’s.
Lions – Matthew Stafford
Stafford is ranked as the third highest highest priced QB’s on the site I play on behind Brees and Manning. He faces the NY Giants in week #1 who have many new faces starting for them on defense this season. Some feel the NY Giants secondary might be okay, but the defensive line might not apply enough pressure on the quarterback or be able to stop the run. I think Stafford’s upside is almost baked into his price – so you need a 300+ yard 4+ TD game to get much value. However, I like his week #1 matchup and will likely start Stafford during the season because the secondary didn’t get much better this off-season; which should lead to more shoot-out type games where Stafford can fill up the stat sheet.
Packers – Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers got cooked last season and the Packers hit the skids after he was injured. He returns to a team that is essentially the same, minus WR James Jones. The Packers open the season on Thursday night – against the Seahawks … so likely you’ll avoid playing him week 1. However, the Packers face the Jets and Lions the following weeks – making Rodgers nearly a must start.
Vikings – Matt Cassel – Teddy Bridgewater
These two QB’s will need to prove to me they can put up numbers before I ever think about starting one of them. Purely a gamblers play if you have one of these guys in early in the season.
Bears – Matt Forte – Ka’Deem Carey
Forte is one of the most consistent running backs in the NFL both on the ground and catching the ball. If Forte stays healthy, his production should be similar to last season unless Carey emerges in his rookie season. That seems unlikely now, given that Carey is starting out the season as the 4th string RB … but will likely get touches as the season rolls around. Any injury to Forte – and that would leave the Bears scrambling to find a permanent back besides Carey … and could lead to Cutler airing the ball out most games.
Lions – Reggie Bush – Joique Bell
This is the most intriguing starting backfield in the NFC North for sure. It’s possible (but probably not recommended) that you could start BOTH these guys in your daily lineups. That will be hard not to do week #1 – as we’ve gone over earlier … the NY Giants defensive line is considered weak, so starting Bush or Bell is a good play. Monitor the health of these two during the preseason, as they both tend to get nicked up during the season. I like either one if one were to get hurt or miss games. If they are both healthy, you can nearly roll the dice or flip a coin considering they both have value in the high powered Lions offense.
Packers – Eddie Lacy
Barely played in the first 3 games and finished with over 1,100 rushing cards. He’s not a huge threat out of the backfield to catch the ball, but that might tick up a bit this season with Aaron Rodgers around. The team doesn’t have a tremendous amount of depth behind Lacy – so he’s a solid starter nearly every week. You’ll likely avoid him week 1 of the daily fantasy football season because the game is on Thursday + they face the Seahawks.
Vikings – Adrian Peterson
AP is one of the best running backs in the history of the NFL. Period. So let’s examine his week 1 matchup since we know he’s the guy in Minnesota. The Vikings face the Rams … who have a nice defensive line that rushes the passer almost as good as any team in the NFL. After that, the talent level falls off with mediocre LB’s and a rather weak secondary. Personally, I think the Vikings will want to run the ball and the Rams will want them to throw because they feel they can reach the QB & force turnovers. We’ll see how it plays out, but either way AP will be a top play week 1.
Bears – Brandon Marshall – Alshon Jeffery
Similar to Joique Bell & Reggie Bush … you could probably get away with starting both Marshall AND Jeffery most weeks. Marshall is fairly consistent and scores enough TD’s to warrant starting him nearly every week. The Bears face Buffalo, which if you read about Jay Cutler above – have a somewhat shaky secondary. Marshall should be on your target list week #1. The other option in Chicago is Alshon Jeffery, who EXPLODED having 2 games over 200+ yards receiving and finished the year with over 1,400 receiving yards (that was more than Brandon Marshall). Jeffery is actually cheaper than Marshall on the sites I play on … which is probably more to do with name recognition than ability. Like Marshall, you can start Jeffery nearly every week. I actually think the duo is more effective if both are healthy & playing well. After this, the talent level falls off, but these two are about as good as it gets in the NFL.
Lions – Calvin Johnson – Golden Tate
You can start Johnson nearly every week … especially at home. Week 1 the Lions face a NYG team that has some new faces in the secondary, but Stafford should have time to throw the ball. Golden Tate is a new addition, who might be able to show his talents off a bit in Detroit and likely will be single covered with the attention going to Megatron. I think Tate is a gamblers start week #1 since he’s never really proven he can be a consistent fantasy play. After that the talent level falls off, and until a third WR proves they can be a threat, most of the touches will go to the RB’s, CJ, Tate and the TE.
Packers – Jordy Nelson – Randall Cobb
Nelson had an outstanding season last year … and got a new contract this off season. He’s likely a solid play most weeks, but you’ll avoid him week #1 against the Seahawks on Thursday. Cobb is a name everyone knows, but his production hasn’t always lived up to the hype. Last year he missed some game, and of course missed Aaron Rodgers. Against a weak defense, Cobb is worth a look, otherwise he’ll have to prove he’s a consistent target to warrant starting him any higher than a cheap #3 WR.
Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson – Greg Jennings
Patterson had essentially one good game last season as a WR. He does have some value in the return game (if the team still lets him return) and could be used on reverses & quick-hitch type pass plays. I think with the status of QB, Patterson is purely a gamblers start at WR until he proves he a legitimate threat. You could actually gamble and play him week #1 as your third WR against a team with a weak secondary. Jennings had only 4 TD’s and a few good games last season, and is only a desperation #3 WR at best. After that, I don’t think the Vikings will be good enough offensively to even consider starting anyone else at WR.
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Bears – Martellus Bennett
Bennett is effective at times in PPR formats, but lacks the consistency to be considered anything but a pick-and-pray type play at the TE spot. He dipped teammate Kyle Fuller in practice & looks like he’ll get suspended. Avoid him most weeks unless the Bears are playing a soft D and you want to punt your TE spot but have some upside potential.
Lions – Eric Ebron
Rookie. Was an effective daily fantasy play in college football last season. Could be a gamblers play early on in the season … but I’ll wait until he proves he can be a big part of the Lions passing game before starting him.
Packers – No One
Honestly, you’ll avoid anyone at the TE spot until one of the actually wins the starting job. It’s thought that Brandon Bostic has the edge, but likely won’t emerge as a big time daily fantasy threat even with Aaron Rodgers at QB.
Vikings – Kyle Rudolph
Rudolph is okay … and is only a desperation play (like if you have no other choice) at this point. If his reception numbers were to rise, he’d be a pick-and-pray type play at TE.