Offseason Fantasy Fix: The NFC North Remembers
Last week I wrote about how Adrian Peterson was going to be one of 2017’s biggest busts. In case you haven’t heard, he’s old. Age 32 seems to be an inflection point which signals the decline of even the best RB’s, it’s when LaDainian Tomlinson went from 11 fantasy points per game to 6.5, and when Ahmad Green went from 6.5 to 2.7, and AP is about to turn 32. He averaged 1.9 yards per carry last season, and I don’t expect that this next season is going to fare much better for him, regardless of where he ends up, but especially if he ends up back in Minnesota.
The fact that I’m talking about AP again should tell you how uninteresting I find the NFC North’s offseason prospects, perhaps not something I should be admitting if I’d rather have you read the rest of this article, but here we go anyways!
The Bears were the 3rd worst scoring offense in football last season, so it goes without saying that their offense needs an overhaul. It comes as no surprise that a team that struggled to score that much looks to its QB, as the city of Chicago seems to be wholly done with Jay Cutler, though whether or not they’ll find a suitable replacement is up for debate. Recent talk centers around Jimmy Garroppolo, for some reason, I say that because the Patriots have said they’re not going to trade him, which is code for “you’re going to leverage your franchise’s future to get this guy from us”.
Aside from QB, Chicago has some decent pieces in place, their O-line isn’t terrible, Jordan Howard has proved himself to be a capable fantasy producer, and the combination of Cameron Meredith and Kevin White (if he can ever stay healthy), have shown flashes of greatness that might just be good enough for the Bears to roll with, though I’d expect that they’re smart enough to know that they need a new WR1 in the same way as they need Matt Barkley to not lead their team in passing yards in 2017 (that happened last year).
With the lions seemingly ok with their offense, for the most part, the focus in Motor City is the defense. That’s boring though, so we’re left to speculate about their offense. The Lions seem to be a quality running game short of being an elite NFL offense. It’s like the rest of the NFL knows that they have an offense that passes a lot not just because OC Jim Bob Cooter wants to, but because they kind of need to. Ameer Abdullah could break out next season, I think it’s a real possibility, but expect the Lions to play around in Free Agency, and definitely the draft, when it comes to RB depth.
Other than that, the Lions could be in the market for a TE, but that seems to not be their priority. They’re expected to make moves at LB and in their secondary, which hopefully will decrease the need for them to get into shootouts, further highlighting the need for them to be capable of running the ball.
The Vikings need help on offense. I cannot name a single offensive skill position for the Vikings that’s staffed by a player I’d call “absolutely startable on any other NFL team”. The Vikings defense is incredible, they have that going for them, but one of Teddy Bridgewater and/or Mark Sanchez are going to be leading this team next season, putting them on shaky ground, at best.
Adrian Peterson is set to go to Free Agency, a smart move considering that they don’t have the cap room to support his $18M 2017 salary, but it does leave them with a gaping hole at RB. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon do not a quality backfield make, same goes for Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs at WR, but that’s not their biggest problem. The Vikings offensive line was rated as one of the worst in football last year, so expect them to be making big moves with their big men as they try to resign AP.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers. Finally, a team that isn’t terrible. Or maybe they just delight in the fact that they only really have to be the best team in the NFC North. Either way, the Packers actually don’t have that many “holy crap they’d better sign someone” positions, at least not on offense. The Packers aren’t known for making many big moves in free agency, save for depth and the occasional role player, which leaves us without much to talk about here. Eddie Lacy and James Starks are free agents this year, so we’ll have to see if the Packers stick with Ty Montgomery as their starting option, perhaps looking to the draft or free agency for depth. From a fantasy perspective, Eddie Lacy is probably better off in another uniform, put him in a place like New England where we won’t have to worry about whether he’ll be a top-10 RB or not (he won’t).
Jarred Cook? Is he worth mentioning? Well, now I have, they might re-sign him. Don’t say I haven’t done anything for you, Jarred.
Hello! My name is Jack Moore. I like fantasy football, writing, and writing about fantasy football. Thanks for reading!