We're back to the fantasy football podcast again this week. This time, we take a spin around the NFC North. We start our trip in Green Bay, discussing all the fantasy awesomeness to be had there. Then we look at the Lions and try and figure out if they're better this year or not.
Listen to the Fantasy Football Podcast: 6/9/15, NFC North Spotlight
We looked at all of the key additions and departures to all the teams. The Vikings get Adrian Peterson back, which isn't technically an addition, but it will certainly make a difference! Finally, we finish off in our hometown and talk about the Bears. The new regime has tried to put their stamp on this team, but they're still handcuffed with the same old QB. Can they succeed?
Update: Dave and I did manage to decide on a bet. He'll be taking Eddie Lacy and I'll take Adrian Peterson for season long points. We're wagering pizza!
Following the NFL during the offseason can be a long and tedious pursuit, interrupted by brief moments of excitement when your team signs someone. Now that most of the moves have been made, there’s little left to do but wait for training camp and preseason to start. With our downtime, we’re looking at each team, one division at a time, to look at the fantasy impact of each relevant player on each team and how their value has changed with the team’s changes. This time around, it’s the NFC North.
(Listen to the Fantasy Football Podcast: 6/9/15, NFC North Spotlight)
Green Bay Packers:
Randall Cobb, (4 years for $40 mil)
Scott Tolzien, (1 year, $1.35 Mil)
Kyle Sebetic, Safety, from the Giants (their ONLY FA signing this offseason)
Ty Montgomery WR, (3rd round draft pick)
Jarrett Boykin, (Panthers)
Matt Flynn, (Patriots)
DuJuan Harris, (Vikings)
Brandon Bostick, (Vikings via waivers)
The Packers never seem to add many, if any, impactful players through free agency. Nearly their entire roster is built on draft picks (I believe at one point last year, their only player they didn’t draft was Julius Peppers). The Pack had a trip to the Super Bowl already booked, but Russell Wilson had other plans for them.
Fantasy-wise, there isn’t a whole lot changing on the Packers. The only notable departure is Jarrett Boykin, who was only a WR3 of questionable weekly output last year. Expect Rodgers, Cobb and Nelson to all return to the top 10 of their positions (maybe top 15 for the WR’s, but Nelson and Cobb did finish 2nd and 6th last year, respectively). Look for Davante Adams to pick up the WR3 work, and I wouldn’t expect much production out of the TE position, as is tradition in Green Bay lately.
Eddie Lacy is once again a first round talent, and despite his slow start to last season, still finished 6th overall for points, finding the end zone a satisfying 13 times. Last year, the top 4 fantasy players on the Packers were probably better than any 4 you could find on any other team. In standard scoring, Rodgers & Nelson finished 2nd and Cobb and Lacy finished 6th. That is reminiscent of the Broncos from the 2013. While that team did have a slight drop-off, they did not disappoint when it came time to tally up the points at the end of the year. I expect that Green Bay will be able to repeat their success of last year.
Jeremy Ross WR, (re-sign)
Lance Moore WR, (signed to 1 year contract)
Ameer Abdullah RB, (2nd round pick)
Haloti Ngata DT, (acquired in trade from Baltimore)
Reggie Bush, (cut, now on SF)
Ndamukong Suh, (left as a FA, signed with Miami)
The Lions made the playoffs last year, but were the victim of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo making ridiculous highlight reel plays (which they fell victim to the following week). It’s hard to say that they have made enough moves to help even improve their team, let alone pass the Packers for the division in 2015.
Matt Stafford will still be a solid QB1, Calvin Johnson will feel like a steal when he’s not the first WR off the board in your draft (he’s still WR1 talent) and Golden Tate should probably wind up starting every week. Tate had 99 catches last year, with Megatron (71 rec) missing only 3 games (though he was a decoy in a few he did play).
The RB situation is still sketchy, though removing Bush at least removes one of the more knee-jerk options that were available. Joique Bell, Theo Riddick (3rd downs) and Ameer Abdullah will probably split most carries to start the season, with the stronger back, if one emerges, getting a larger percentage of the carries as the season goes on. This is going to change a lot, but with a pass first team like the Lions, I wouldn’t waste too high of a draft pick on one of their rotating RB’s. The one exception to this is if Bell keeps sliding into the doghouse. If so, go for Abdullah, but remember, temper your expectations on rookies!
Their TE’s Pettigrew, Ebron and Fauria can be fun, but none are THE guy, so stay away from them as every week starters. Their D/ST should still be strong, adding Ngata and losing Suh, but I prefer streaming D’s anyways, so don’t draft them high.
Matt Asiata RB, (re-sign 1 year)
Shaun Hill QB, (2 year 6.5 mil, #2 guy now)
Mike Wallace WR, (via trade with Miami)
Du Juan Harris RB, (FA via GB)
Brandon Bostick TE, (waiver via GB)
MyCole Pruitt (TE) and Stefon Diggs (WR) are their highest offensive (fantasy) draft picks, from the 5th round
Christian Ponder, (OAK)
Greg Jennings, (released, signed by Miami)
The story of the Vikings early in 2015 is all about the return of Adrian Peterson. I know I wouldn’t want to line up opposite Purple Jesus after he’s been kept out of football for an entire year. He’s probably in the best shape and health of his life and will make an immediate impact on this team, greater than all of their signings combined.
Last year’s rookie QB, Teddy Bridgewater, will have a few more tools at his disposal and should take another step from last year. His rookie campaign was average – throwing more TD’s than INT’s does show promise going forward. Bridgewater won’t enter August as a QB 1 or 2, but could easily finish the year as a strong QB2, possibly approaching or exceeding the Andy Dalton Line.
AP is clearly the only RB to bother with on the team. I don’t even think I’d entertain a handcuff in this case, as superhumans don’t tend to get hurt like us mortals. Their WR core is much more of a toss-up. Between Mike Wallace, Charles Johnson, Jarius Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson and the field, I really have no good feel for who will emerge as the consistent WR on their team. It could wind up looking like the Seahawks where none of them are viable fantasy options, due to a conservative passing game and spreading the ball around when they do throw it. Kyle Rudolph at TE might end up being the best receiver on the team stats-wise.
John Fox, (head coach) and Ryan Pace, (GM)
Zach Miller TE, (1 year extension, played well in 2014 preseason, hurt in the preseason)
Jimmy Clausen QB, (1 year extension)
Jacquizz Rodgers RB, (1 year, from Atlanta)
Kevin White WR, (1st round, 9th overall)
Eddie Royal WR, (Reunited with Cutler)
Mark Trestman (good riddance!)
Brandon Marshall (even gooder riddance!)
The Bears have many issues they’re carrying over from 2014, but they will look like a different team in 2015. Any time a new regime takes control, they give everything a make-over, especially when the previous season was a disappointing (too light?) 5-11.
Jay Cutler has been on the team for 6 years now, and he still feels like he needs to somehow win over Chicago fans to feel comfortable. If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s not happening. Cutler is the best QB the Bears have the opportunity to start this year, and probably next year too, so just get used to it and hope he doesn’t lead the league in INT’s again. Fewer passes should help Cutler, as in 2015 he had his most pass attempts since he joined the Bears in 2009.
The Bears instantly addressed the departure of Brandon Marshall in the draft, picking Kevin White from West Virginia 9th overall. He should be able to have a near immediate impact and could be going in redraft leagues as a WR3/WR4, but we’ll see how he fits in a few preseason games first. Alshon Jeffery immediately moves into a WR1/WR2 position, and Marquess Wilson has some fantasy value as well.
It remains to be seen if Martellus Bennett is going to throw more tantrums for whatever reason. If he settles down, he could be a TE1 in a league where the drop off after the first 5 or so TE’s is very steep. If not, Zach Miller might emerge as an option, since Cutler does seem to like throwing to the TE. Matt Forte will continue to carry the load for Chicago, and even though he felt overvalued last year, he finished 4th overall for RB scoring. Is he the new Frank Gore (a guy who should be dropping off, but never does)?
The last two seasons have brought early exits for me in the survivor pool league. (Hey even Sex Panther only works 60% of the time every time). I hope to turn it around this year by offering kings blood to the football gods. Also I joined a second and theoretically easier elimination pool where I will be able to pick a team multiple times. I will be referring to the leagues from here on out as single entry(for the league I can only use a team once) and unlimited entry for the other. Each week throughout the season I will give my picks and offer up the reasoning for my choices. And if I am wrong I will explain why the NFL is stupid and my team is the real winner.
So week one is a tough one. All I have to go on is the pre-season, which I watch little to none of every year, trends being established at the end of last year, and off-season moves.
For my single entry pick I am going with the Miami Dolphins over the Washington Redskins on the road. Washington is quickly becoming the laughing stock of the league with their terrible Quarterbacks, insane coach Jay Gruden and meddling owner Daniel Snyder. My early money is on Gruden to be the first head coach firing of the season.
The Dolphins bolstered their defense with the biggest free agent signing of the off-season in Ndamukong Suh, who they hope will make a big impact this season. Also they traded for wide-out Kenny Stills to provide a deep threat for blossoming QB Ryan Tannehill. The Dolphins could sniff a playoff berth this year, especially with the soft first 6 games of the season vs: Skins, Jags, Bills, Jets, Titans, and Texans. They will be looking to come out of the gate hot by first rolling over the hapless Redskins.
On the unlimited entry pick I have to go with the Green Bay Packers, a team I have a feeling I will be picking a lot this year. Vegas has them as the pre-season favorites to win the Super Bowl. Aaron Rodgers has a 12-2 record vs the Chicago Bears and should improve upon that come Sunday in a game they are favored by 7 points. (the 2nd biggest spread of the week after the 7 ½ pt favorite Patriots) While I think the Bears will seem more like a football team this year with the hire of real life head coach John Fox, it just won't happen on Sunday.
Good Luck this year, and drink five for the start of the NFL season tonight when the Steelers take on the Patriots!!
The survivor pool I was in still has 84 of the initial 871 entrants, meaning it will likely extend into the post-season, barring a wacky week of upsets. I don't know if it is a tough slate of games this week, or if it just seems that way because the Cleveland Browns are off. Last week, the Giants predictably dismantled the Browns, continuing their 15-game losing streak and giving me another win.
This week there aren't many sure things. Seattle and New England are the weeks two biggest favorites, and I really don't trust Seattle against the Panthers. The Patriots are a lock at home against the Jared Goff led Rams, so if you haven't used them that's your pick. I, however, do not have that luxury, having picked the Pats earlier this season.
My next choice for the week would have been the Denver Broncos on the road against the pathetic Jacksonville Jaguars. Denver needs this win bad and an Oakland loss in the near future to make sure they don't get left behind the pack. However, when it was announced that Trevor Siemian would be out with a foot injury and rookie Paxton Lynch would make the start, I wasn't so sure. I think that Denver's defense still provides enough for them to get the win, but I will shy away from them since it is on the road.
Which leads me to this week's pick, the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers finally looked like himself last week and this week he gets a Houston team led by Brock Osweiler, who, unfortunately for the Texans has also looked like himself. Detroit faces a tough match up in the Saints this week and with a Packer win and Lions loss the two will be tied for the division lead. Green Bay will not let this opportunity slip by.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!
Peterman completed 6-of-14 passes for 66 yards with five interceptions. Wow, Buffalo. Nice work. In this episode, we'll be touching on the Bills' and NFL fantasy players going forward as well as the other highs and lows of Week 11 and what they mean to your fantasy squad.