As autumn fades into wintry darkness and the north freezes over, the game of football exemplifies its purest form. The NFC North is as storied a division as any in the National Football League, with four legacy NFL franchises and their hearty fans’ guttural chants echoing through frigid Lambeau and Soldier Fields each season. The Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings each have a signature place in NFL lore.
Dynasty managers need not tread lightly in this “black and blue” division. Once again, the skill-position talent is prominent, leading into the 2022 season. There have been exoduses of a few star players, most notably Davante Adams to Las Vegas, but the NFC North is still teeming with good dynasty kingmakers and values alike. So here are the fantasy-relevant skill players in the division for dynasty purposes.
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC North
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC South
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC East
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: AFC West
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC South
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC East
- Team-By-Team Dynasty Roundup: NFC West
Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers 2022 Draft Recap
|North Dakota State
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Aaron Rodgers (QB – GB) Stock: Neutral
- RB: Aaron Jones (RB – GB) Stock: Neutral
- RB: A.J. Dillon (RB – GB) Stock: Up
- WR: Christian Watson (WR – GB) Stock: Up
- WR: Allen Lazard (WR – GB) Stock: Wayyyy Up
- WR: Romeo Doubs (WR – GB) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Sammy Watkins (WR – GB) Stock: (Who knows?)
- TE: Robert Tonyan (TE – GB) Stock: Up
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: A.J. Dillon sets the NFL ablaze in the second half and produces RB1 numbers.
It has been a curiously precipitous drop in dynasty value for Rodgers this off-season. He did just sign a mega extension worth $50 million per year. On the other hand, the 38-year-old has an out after each of those three years and just lost the best wide receiver in the NFL to trade. The future will have a gold jacket waiting, but dynasty managers must be in a win-now mode to invest in the twilight of his illustrious career.
Green Bay was set to give the reins of this backfield over to Dillon but instead brought Jones back on a team-friendly deal. Dillon is entering the final year of his rookie deal, looking to break out and earn a more lucrative second contract. Jones is the better receiver and has a penchant for the big play. Dillon is significantly younger, with a cleaner injury history and a body built for causing business decisions on the tundra. Their average draft position (ADP) is similar, but I lean toward Dillon.
The crater left behind from the Adams trade is impossible to fill. The picks acquired in the deal landed the Packers Watson and linebacker Quay Walker. I envision this offense transitioning to a more run-heavy approach with fewer wide receivers in the formation. Watson is the wild card. He is a freak athlete but lacks polish throughout his route-running repertoire.
On the other hand, Lazard stands to gain the most from Adams’ departure as he is trusted and battle-worn with Rodgers. Doubs is an intriguing rookie from Nevada who brings a vertical element from either the outside or slot. Watkins, if healthy, is a very talented risk/reward investment who is younger than you think. Finally, I pay no mind to Randall Cobb, Amari Rodgers, or any others for dynasty until they prove they can provide the prospect of two to three years of production.
Let’s be clear. Tonyan’s injury opened a door for Josiah Deguara. The problem is that DeGuara is a converted fullback and does not possess the receiving skills that Tonyan provided for Aaron Rodgers. Assuming Tonyan will be ready to start the season after ACL surgery, he figures to see a huge bump in dynasty value in the wake of Adams leaving. I believe his touchdown total in 2020 was not a fluke and could be repeated in the future.
Detroit Lions 2022 Draft Recap
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Jared Goff (QB – DET) Stock: Up?
- RB: D’Andre Swift (RB – DET) Stock: Up
- RB: Jamaal Williams (RB – DET) Stock: Down
- WR: Amon-Ra St. Brown (WR – DET) Stock: Down
- WR: D.J. Chark (WR – DET) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Jameson Williams (WR – DET) Stock: To The Moon
- TE: T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET) Stock: Up
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: D’Andre Swift is prodigious, to the tune of a top-5 RB.
We might still see this as a lame-duck season for Goff if the Lions sign one of the various “floaters” still available on the quarterback market. If Goff is indeed the starting quarterback for Detroit in 2022, he will need to succeed with the current weaponry so that the 27-year-old can be marketable going forward. He is currently no more than a QB3 in Superflex formats at this moment.
The real gem here is Swift. He is a top-10 lock in dynasty and appears in many top-five RB lists. Dan Campbell still loves the versatility and toughness that Williams brings to the team. Remember that Williams got more work in health than expected last season before getting dinged. Swift is an every-week start at RB, while Williams is a depth piece/handcuff.
Kalif Raymond, Josh Reynolds, and Quintez Cephus briefly flashed last season. However, they are pushed even further down the relevance chart with the arrival of Chark from Jacksonville and first-round pick Williams. Even though the Sun God was prodigious down the stretch in 2021, he will likely see his workload relegated back to moderate slot-only possession work. Chark has a lot to prove as more than a downfield contested-catch artist. The Alabama rookie is recovering from a torn ACL but figures to be the second coming of DeSean Jackson. Nevertheless, there is plenty to be excited about in the Motor City.
The injury bug hampered star tight end, Hockenson. In dynasty, he is still one of the top guys in this barren wasteland of a position. He is still only 24 years old. Don’t let his missed time last season make you forget how stinking good he is at every facet of the receiving game.
Minnesota Vikings 2022 Draft Recap
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN) Stock: Up
- RB: Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN) Stock: Neutral
- RB: Alexander Mattison, Kene Nwangwu, Ty Chandler (RB – MIN) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Justin Jefferson (WR – MIN) Stock: Up
- WR: Adam Thielen (WR – MIN) Stock: Neutral
- WR: K.J. Osborn (WR – MIN) Stock: Up
- TE: Irv Smith Jr. (TE – MIN) Stock: Up
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: Irv Smith returns from injury to immediately establish himself as a TE1.
Captain Kirk has made himself a living in the NFL. Wins are not a quarterback stat, but Cousins is sitting at a career-winning percentage of exactly .500. For fantasy, he is an enigma. He has been gifted with one of the best young wide receivers in the NFL, one of the best undrafted players in history, a star running back and a good offensive line. All of that adds up to the 33-year-old as a safe QB2 for dynasty with weekly QB1 upside (if you can stomach his random spats of horrendousness).
Cook is still an elite running back. If he stays on the field, he is one of the best in the game. Many dynasty managers have him on the “sell” list, but not me. He is too undervalued at this juncture. Mattison has improved from a below-average emergency play to a decent handcuff but has zero value when Cook is healthy. Nwangwu is a dynamite playmaker but may be pushed to only special teams with the selection of polished rookie Chandler. This year, all three reserve runners will be vying for the handcuff role in training camp.
Jefferson is my dynasty WR1, which is a common refrain in the dynasty world. He is an elite technician and has dominated the NFL since he first set foot on an NFL field. It would take a literal Godfather trade offer to separate me from Jefferson in dynasty. There aren’t very many players who match massive production with youth. Thielen is long in the tooth, but the touchdown regression that has been supposed for a couple of years hasn’t happened. He is likely to remain undervalued in dynasty because managers are largely ageist. Osborn stepped into the slot admirably last season when Thielen missed time. It did help that Irv Smith was out, but I expect the new regime to put Osborn in various spots to maximize his abilities.
Smith is simply a gifted receiver. The 23-year-old was slated to finally be free of Kyle Rudolph‘s shadow in 2021 before season-ending meniscus surgery. His backup, Tyler Conklin, has moved on in free agency, and none of the depth additions from this off-season pose any threat to Smith whatsoever. The wheels are all the way up on Irv going forward. He is athletic and figures to excel in the Tyler Higbee role for new head coach, Kevin O’Connell.
Chicago Bears 2022 Draft Recap
|Velus Jones Jr.
|San Diego State
Dynasty Stock Watch
- QB: Justin Fields (QB – CHI) Stock: Up
- RB: David Montgomery (RB – CHI) Stock: Up
- RB: Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI) Stock: Up
- WR: Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI) Stock: Up
- WR: Velus Jones Jr. (WR – CHI) Stock: Neutral
- WR: Byron Pringle (WR – CHI) Stock: Neutral
- TE: Cole Kmet (TE – CHI) Stock: Slightly Up
Bold 2022 Dynasty Prediction: Justin Fields is easily a top-12 QB, with a half dozen top-5 weeks.
I absolutely love Fields. His fantasy production was solid down the stretch last season, despite literally everything in the world working against him. Matt Nagy is GONE (hallelujah!). Every person with a football IQ above potato knows that Fields is best suited for an RPO scheme that simplifies his reads and stretches the field. Nagy refused. In fact, Nagy often called for five-man blocking schemes in obvious blitz situations, leaving his talented rookie to get teed off upon.
A new day is dawning in Chicago. Matt Eberflus is a noticeable upgrade over Nagy. The only problem is the new front office has prioritized a cap rebuild instead of adding weapons for Fields on the outside. It might be another year before we see the full potential of this future star.
This tandem is not flashy at all. They are, however, Chicago Bears football personified. Monty and “11-toes” are both hard-nosed power backs with surprising agility and receiving skills. Monty is still only 24 years old, but don’t tell your dynasty league mates. He is as undervalued as any RB in the league. Herbert stepped in beautifully for Montgomery as a rookie last season, even rushing for more than 100 yards against the vaunted Buccaneers. I value Montgomery as a high-end RB2 and Herbert as a high-end RB3, much earlier than the consensus.
What a mess! The unit that lost its heart to the Super Bowl champion Rams has filled the void piecemeal. Mooney has been a revelation in the production department despite his draft capital and operating in a moronically-run offense. He should see another leap this year under McConnell. New GM Ryan Poles had a go-go gadget reach on geriatric rookie Jones, who played alongside JuJu Smith-Schuster at USC in 2016. Pringle was added from the Chiefs, along with an island of misfit journeyman receivers. If the answer for this team at wide receiver isn’t Mooney, he isn’t on the team yet.
Gone are the days of the Pace/Nagy brigade of seemingly half the 53-man roster playing tight end. They finally are free of Jimmy Graham(pa) and a half-dozen other roster cloggers. Kmet season, right? Griffin is a decent receiver, and I expect this Eberflus offense to run a good deal of 12-personnel with the shortage of talent at wide receiver. Kmet is the most appealing asset here, but his cult following has inflated his value past where I’d like to acquire him. Watch out for Griffin to linger in the TE2 conversation.
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