Top 5 Player Picks From Each Team: NFC North
If I was drafting today, These are the guys I prioritize, in order, from each NFC North team.
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- Jordan Howard – Howard has top 5 rusher written all over him this season, following a breakout year that would have put him there had he started from week 1. With so many question marks at receiver, and potentially a rookie under center, the Bears are going to lean heavy on Howard throughout the season.
- Cameron Meredith – Meredith is the closest thing the Bears have to a no.1 receiver, which sounds a little absurd. He definitely had his moments in 2016, but it’s too early to say that he’s capable of leading the way. Maybe that’s why the Bears keep adding WRs to the mix.
- Markus Wheaton – After a few promising years in Pittsburgh, Wheaton is in Chicago to assume the role of the primary slot receiver in Chicago – as are Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz. Wheaton seems to have a leg up on the competition for now, and should he keep the job it will be a busy one full of checkdowns.
- Kevin White – White could very well lead the Bears in receiving, but he’s just as likely to lead in most minutes logged on the bench due to his infamous injury history – the kid has missed 28 of 32 potential starts since entering the league two years ago.
- Kendall Wright – Wright has always been a good receiver, he just doesn’t always play nice with coaching staffs. I could have just as easily put Victor Cruz in this spot, but Wright has been healthier in recent history and offers similar upside.
- Ameer Abdullah – The Lions have faith in Abdullah and they showed it in their draft picks, as they neglected to add a single rookie to their backfield. Word out of OTAs is that he looks explosive, which is great news following an injury riddled sophomore year.
- Golden Tate – Someone has to lead the Lions in receiving, and it might as well be Tate. He doesn’t do much in the way of TDs, but he’s coming off a 1,000 yard, 90 catch season in an offense that caters to his style of play.
- Eric Ebron – Ebron gets better every year it seems, and the addition of two blocking tight ends in the offseason frees him up to play more of a role in the passing game. Look for Ebron to stay heavily involved in the redzone in addition to possibly being the second leading pass catcher on the team.
- Matt Stafford – Stafford is soon to be the highest paid player in football, and I suppose that’s fitting considering he’s been a model of consistency in passing yardage, if not TDs. Jim Bob Cooter’s offense doesn’t especially play to Stafford’s strengths in my opinion, but he’ll do well enough to stay in the top 10.
- Kenny Golladay – Yeah, I could have put Marvin Jones or Theo Riddick here, Riddick is probably safer to be honest, but Riddick is mending from two wrist surgeries and we’ve seen what Jones can do. Time to give the rookie a chance. Golladay has 4.5 speed and size that would make Megatron raise an eyebrow. He’s also been tearing up OTAs, getting open at will and catching everything that comes his way. He has upside for days.
Green Bay Packers
- Aaron Rodgers – 2016’s TD leader, Rodgers has a rock solid receiving corps in place and a running back that excels in catching passes. He now has Martellus Bennett to increase his embarrassment of riches. Expect another league leading year from Rodgers.
- Jordy Nelson – Nelson was tops in receiving TDs in 2016(14), and though he’s a bit long in the tooth, the fact that he did what he did last season after missing a season to a torn ACL, gives me little reason to doubt him.
- Davante Adams – Adams only had 2 fewer TDs that Nelson in 2016 on the way to being a top 10 fantasy receiver. Bennett will eat into his redzone looks, but Adams is just hitting his stride as the 1b to Nelson’s 1a.
- Ty Montgomery – Montgomery is going to have to look over his shoulder all year for rookie Jamaal Williams, but his versatility and familiarity with the Packers offense will keep him on the field often enough to maintain his role as a key cog in the works.
- Martellus Bennett – The black unicorn has a new home in Green Bay and no Gronkowski to get in the way. He could have his best year as a pro ahead of him.
- Stefon Diggs – Diggs was plagued by groin issues throghout most of 2016, but he still managed a respectable 903 yards on 84 receptions. He only had 3 TDs, but the Vikings didn’t score many of those in general last year. If Diggs can stay in shape, he should lead the Vikings in catches and yards, even with Adam Thielen nipping at his heels.
- Adam Thielen – Thielen actually lead the Vikings in receiving yards last year, and his biggest games came while Diggs was also on the field. He may be a better value than Diggs in a lot of leagues, as he’ll come cheaper and offer similar upside.
- Dalvin Cook – I’d have placed Cook at the top of the list if not for the presence of Latavius Murray in this backfield. Murray is useful inside the 5 if nothing else, and he’s going to limit Cook’s TD upside. That being said, Cook is electric from afar and will get his fantasy stats one way or another.
- Latavius Murray – See above. Murray is not a special player, but he is great on the goal line.
- Sam Bradford – If the Vikings o-line can hang tight, Bradford might actually be of some use this season. He had an excellent TD to INT ratio last year of 20 to 5 and close to 4,000 yards. Having Cook in the backfield should give him more time too.