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8 Best Ball Bust & League Winner Candidates: NFC North (2022 Fantasy Football)

Jul 23, 2022
T.J. Hockenson

Hockenson will be a solid low-end TE1 this year, but he lacks the upside to finish in the top five.

Several factors go into building a winning best ball team. One of those factors is identifying which players will let your team down and bust. Another is knowing which players have league-winning upside, especially in the later rounds. To help you build an elite best ball roster, I will identify the most likely bust candidate and potential league winner for every NFL team.

Today I break down the NFC North teams: the Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

The average draft position (ADP) used for this article comes from Underdog Fantasy.

CTA

Potential Bust Candidates

N’Keal Harry (WR – CHI): ADP 214.7

The Bears lack many appealing fantasy players, and the ones they have are getting drafted at an appropriate ADP. Some might consider drafting Harry with their final selection after his trade from New England to Chicago. However, that would be a mistake. After being a first-round pick in 2019, Harry has fallen off the fantasy radar. He has only four touchdowns in three years and has never had a season with over 310 receiving yards. Despite the Patriots lacking elite wide receivers the past two years, Harry has averaged only 3.1 fantasy points per game. The Bears have one proven wide receiver in Darnell Mooney. Yet, Harry is behind the curve in learning the Chicago offense. He is not worth a pick in best ball drafts.

T.J. Hockenson (TE – DET): ADP 88.5

Hockenson was a popular breakout tight end, given a lack of proven pass catchers in Detroit. Unfortunately, he struggled and ended the year as the TE15 as he dealt with injuries. When Hockenson’s season was cut short by injuries, Amon-Ra St. Brown stepped up and won fantasy championships for many players. He projects as Jared Goff‘s go-to receiver this season. Furthermore, the Lions re-signed Josh Reynolds and Kalif Raymond, then added DJ Chark before trading up during the NFL Draft to select Jameson Williams. Hockenson will be a solid low-end TE1 this year, but he lacks the upside to finish in the top five. Fantasy players are better off waiting a couple of rounds and drafting Zach Ertz instead.

Aaron Jones (RB – GB): ADP 17.3

After the Packers lost their top two wide receivers from last year’s team, many are excited to draft Jones this season. While Jones is not a traditional bust, his ADP is too high given the presence of AJ Dillon. Jones averaged 3.6 fantasy points per game more than Dillon last year. However, that was a result of his six receiving touchdowns. Dillon had more rushing attempts, yards, and touchdowns than Jones. He also ate into Jones’ work in the passing game. Jones will be a reliable fantasy running back this season. However, his upside is limited, thanks to Dillon.

Irv Smith (TE – MIN): ADP 122.4

The last time Smith played in an NFL game was almost two years ago. He missed last season after suffering a knee injury in the preseason. Smith averaged only 6.4 fantasy points per game in 2020 despite an 11.6% touchdown rate. He has never had a season with over 40 receptions or 375 yards. More importantly, Kj Osborn stepped up last year with Smith out of the lineup. While he should have some fantasy value this season, Smith is the 11th tight end drafted on average. He should not be anywhere near the top 12. Pass on Smith at his current ADP. Instead, draft Robert Tonyan or Gerald Everett two rounds later.

Potential League Winners

Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI): ADP 161.6

Even though he was a sixth-round pick, Herbert was a productive fantasy player last year. He averaged 12.3 fantasy points per game in the four games David Montgomery missed. Furthermore, he was the RB16 during those four weeks. At the very least, Herbert is one of the top handcuffs in fantasy football. Yet, he could have more value this season. Chicago’s new offensive coordinator, Luke Getsy, came from Green Bay. Last year, they used a two running back situation. Getsy could decide to use both Montgomery and Herbert this season as a 1-2 punch. Take a late-round chance on Herbert.

DJ Chark (WR – DET): ADP 153.6

Last year was a waste for Chark as he missed most of the season. The last time Chark was a difference maker for fantasy teams was in 2019. He averaged 7.9 targets and a career-high 12.6 fantasy points per game that year. More importantly, Chark averaged 1.6 fantasy points per target that year compared to 1.2 fantasy points in the rest of his career. Now in Detroit, Chark will have a chance to return to his old self. The Lions lack reliable wide receivers other than St. Brown. Meanwhile, the rookie Williams likely won’t be ready until the second half of the season. If he can quickly build a rapport with Goff, Chark could turn into a league-winning wide receiver.

Romeo Doubs (WR – GB): ADP 214.8

I have been one of Doubs’ biggest fans all offseason long. Despite losing their top two wide receivers from last year’s squad, the Packers didn’t draft a replacement until the middle rounds when they grabbed Christian Watson and Doubs. Meanwhile, Doubs had over 2,100 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns in his final 20 games at Nevada. He won’t turn into the next Davante Adams, but Doubs could become the new No. 1 wide receiver in Green Bay this season. Furthermore, there have been several reports so far this offseason of Doubs impressing during camp. If he continues to impress the coaching staff, Doubs’ ADP will continue to rise.

Kirk Cousins (QB – MIN): ADP 113.5

Cousins has put together back-to-back top 12 fantasy seasons. Furthermore, he has ended the year as a QB1 in five of his seven years as a starter. More importantly, new head coach Kevin O’Connell has opened up the offense, and the Vikings should be one of the more pass-happy teams this season. Cousins has thrown 30 or more touchdowns in three of the four years he’s been in Minnesota, including 33 or more in back-to-back years. While he lacks the flashy name value of other quarterbacks in this range, Cousins has a chance to finish top five despite limited rushing production.

CTAs

If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant, which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.

Mike Fanelli is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @Mike_NFL2.

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