08 Aug Fantasy Football Pre-Season Primer: NFC North
By: Mike Stromme – @stromme_93
This article is all about the NFC North Division, however you can find my article on the NFC South division here and the NFC East here. We also discuss the NFC South and AFC south Divisions on our NFL Podcast which can be found right here.
As of right now, free agent signing Mike Glennon is the projected starter. The other free agent QB signing, Mark Sanchez is number two on the depth chart and the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, Mitch Trubisky is the third QB on the depth chart. In other words: nothing to see here, folks!
While it’s sexy to think that the first QB to come off the board in this year’s draft can be the saviour upon arrival, the notion is a little far from reality. And the reality surrounding Trubisky is that he’s only started 13 games at QB at any
level above high school.
I’m interested to see how the Bears bring him along this preseason. Even NFL scrubs playing on the second and third units are stronger than most of what he’s seen in the ACC.
He’s a bit of a project, don’t expect Trubisky to be this year’s Dak Prescott. That being said, for those in dynasty formats, this is a situation to keep an eye on.
A move (or non-move, I guess in this instance) that grabbed my attention was the lack of public attention the Detroit Lions payed to free agent WRs Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin.
While I think both options would have fit the role Anquan Boldin carved-out for himself last season, the non-move tells me that the fit for that red zone/short yardage role has been figured out in-house.
Now the real question is, who’s getting those targets? Is it Eric Ebron? Is he finally going to live-up to the hype that was bestowed upon him after being drafted in the first round? Is it going to be Theo Riddick in some sort of RB/WR hybrid role? Or, is it rookie WR Kenny Golladay?
Golladay, a 6′-3″ WR out of Illinois, was selected in the 3rd round of this year’s draft. I’m interested to see if he can fill that short-yardage/red zone void left by Boldin.
Green Bay Packers:
The QB and WR positions are all but set and we all know the characters involved in that play. However, there are a few other things to keep an eye on from a fantasy perspective in Packerland.
First, the backfield; more specifically, who’s taking which role? Ty Montgomery, the incumbent, appears to be the public darling after seizing the role last season. The converted WR finished the year 80-471-3 rushing with 44-348-0 on 56 targets. Not bad, for a first time back.
While Ty-Mont had a nice year in a small sample size, there’s some buzz that rookie Jamaal Williams will be the guy to push Montgomery for first-team reps. Williams profiles as more of a traditional running back than Montgomery, and could push him for goal-line and clock-churning work. Given Montgomery’s previous experience as a receiver, he could play within the pass-catching role James Starks used to fulfil; which will be an asset in PPR formats. Should be interesting to see how this situation pans out.
Also, keep an eye on the TE situation; more specifically, the use of multiple TE sets. Not only did the Packers sign Maretellus Bennett in the offseason, the brought in Lance Kendricks, formally of the Rams. Now, on the surface this isn’t overly noteworthy, but Aaron Rodgers brought it up himself during OTAs.
This time last year, this offense was in complete chaos. QB Teddy Bridgewater
sustained a freak knee injury during OTAs, which lead to the team landing Sam Bradford in a trade just days before the start of the season. Bradford would make his Vikings debut in Week 2. In Week 9, OC Norv Turner steps-down from his position, leaving playcalling duties to TE coach Pat Shurmer after the team let a 4-1 start slip away. HC Mike Zimmer also battled many health issues that caused him to spend quite a bit of time away from the sidelines. Minnesota would finish the season 8-8.
What I would like to see is what Sam Bradford and this offense can do with a full training camp with all of his weapons. He’s played under OC Pat Shurmer in both 2010 in St. Louis (his rookie season) and with the Eagles in 2015 (however, some would dispute how much Shurmer had to do with that offense, given the presence of Chip Kelly). This is the first time in Bradford’s career where he’s had some sort of continuity in an offense without getting hurt or traded. Hopefully, the eight-year QB has (finally) found a home in Minnesota.
Also, there’s plenty of talk surrounding rookie RB Dalvin Cook. Both OC Pat Shurmer and HC Mike Zimmer have praised the rookie’s skill set in nearly every aspect of playing the position. Let’s see what he can do.