The Franchise will be giving you a fantasy football preview every week for all the NFC and AFC divisions counting down to Week 1 of the 2016 NFL regular season!
The Minnesota Vikings came away with the division title last season, their first NFC North title since 2009. A bit of a surprise considering the Packers dominance of the division over the previous four years. There are a lot of good rivalries and fantasy value in this division. The Vikings are coming back with an excellent running attack but need to get more production out of their passing game. The Packers offense is back healthy and reloaded to win the division after their struggles last season. Detroit will now be working without Megatron, Calvin Johnson, in their offense. The question is how Matthew Stafford will respond with his new targets. The Chicago Bears have a lot of questions to answer with offense and leadership of Jay Cutler. The Bears backfield has a committee of players and the receiving corp is looking to get back healthy for Cutler. Let’s start our preview with the divisional champion, Minnesota Vikings.
Mike Zimmer has done a good job going into his 3rd season as the Vikings head coach. The Vikings have been known as a defensive team under Zimmer. Norv Turner is now in his third season as the Vikings offensive coordinator. Turner has inherited a great running game with Adrian Peterson and a top 5 offensive line. But Turner hasn’t inherited a great group of wide receivers to help his new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. The Vikings will need to develop a better passing game to make another push toward winning the NFC North again.
Teddy Bridgewater is in his third season with the Vikings. His completion percentage over his first two seasons was 65%. Bridgewater is a quarterback who can make all the short throws but his weaker arm strength makes him hesitant to throw the ball downfield to his receivers. The Vikings were 30th in the NFL for completions over 20 yards. Bridgewater is a “game manager” quarterback who relies on the run game, makes short, conservative passes, and tries not to take risks throwing the ball downfield for turnovers. Minnesota was 31st in the league in passing yards with only 2,928. Bridgewater had the worst volume of pass attempts with 447 and averaged just 202 yards per game. The Vikings offense is built around running the ball with Adrian Peterson and controlling the clock. Bridgewater does have the ability to scramble and run the ball which helps some of his fantasy value. Overall, Bridgewater doesn’t have much fantasy value as a low-end QB2. He would be an option for two-quarterback leagues but you’re mostly banking on him with a good matchup. Bridgewater’s ADP is going right around the 11th-12th round. NFL veteran, Shaun Hill is the backup for the Vikings. Hill is going into his 15th season in NFL now landing back in Minnesota where he started his career in 2002. Hill had different stints as the starting quarterback with the Detroit Lions and the formerly St. Louis Rams. He has a career completion percentage is 62% with 49 TDs, 30 INTs, and an 85.2 passer rating. Hill is more willing to throw the ball downfield if he ends up getting the opportunity, but no fantasy value to show.
Hard to believe, but Adrian Peterson is going into his 10th season in the league at age 31. Peterson finished as the NFL’s leading rusher last season with 1,485 yds. He is still one of the most physically imposing running backs in the NFL and doesn’t look to have any regression. Most people have the idea that 30-year-old running backs just don’t have much value and are a risk in fantasy with their bodies starting to break down because of the wear and tear of being an NFL running back. Peterson seems to defy this logic. He finished just behind DeVonte Freeman last season as the top fantasy scoring running back. Yes, Peterson is not as explosive as he used to be a few years ago but he still has the ability to make great runs for long touchdowns. The Vikings have one of the best offensive lines in the league and Mike Zimmer’s offense is designed to give Peterson the ball. In standard formats, Peterson will get the volume that you need to be a top 5 fantasy running. Peterson is not a high volume pass catcher which bumps him down in PPR formats. Peterson is projected as a top 5 overall fantasy pick but you may find him in the mid to late 1st round in PPR formats. If you draft Adrian Peterson, you’ll definitely want to draft Jerick McKinnon as a handcuff. Peterson does have a track record of injuries with his tough running style and physicality. Most fantasy experts believe Jerick McKinnon is the best running back handcuff in the league. McKinnon is a gifted athlete with great speed and elusiveness. In Jerick McKinnon’s limited work volume, he averaged 5.2 yards a carry. He will be the primary third down back who will get some targets catching the ball and get some carries when Peterson needs a breather. McKinnon has an ADP at the 12-14th rounds. If you drafted Peterson, you might want to reach a little earlier for McKinnon around the 11th round. Matt Asiata has worked his way back in the depth chart as the 3rd string running back. If Peterson gets hurt, look for Asiata to be the goal line back who will stick his nose in for some touchdowns. Don’t look for Asiata in your fantasy drafts.
The Vikings wide receiver corp is one of the worst in the NFL, for many different reasons. Mike Zimmer wants his offense to run the ball well so that there won’t be much a dependence on his young quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater. Consequently, there isn’t much volume coming for the Vikings wide receivers. Second, the Vikings wide receivers don’t have much NFL experience. The Vikings tight end, Kyle Rudolph was the leading receiver in touchdowns last season with 5. That’ll give you some perspective. Last year’s rookie, Stefon Diggs, was the leading wide receiver with 52 receptions for 720 yards and 4 TDs. Beat reporters in Minnesota are saying that Diggs has been turning some heads in the training camp so far. But always take the training camp and preseason hype with a big grain of salt. Diggs is going at a 10-11th round ADP right now. He has shown some flashes of talent and ability but being in a run-oriented offense doesn’t help with the upside for fantasy value. I would suggest taking him later than his current ADP in both standard and PPR formats. Minnesota drafted Laquon Treadwell from Ole Miss to get some much needed depth. He is a tall, physical wide receiver who came from playing SEC teams and made big catches during his time at Ole Miss. Treadwell did not have a good NFL combine though. He is trying to win the WR2 spot against Charles Johnson who in his 4th season with only 40 catches and 602 yards to show. Treadwell should end up grabbing the WR2 spot after the preseason comes to a close. You should find Treadwell in the 12th-13th round ADP range. Jarius Wright doesn’t present much fantasy value with only 24 catches, 422 yards, and no touchdowns last season. Then there’s Cordarrelle Patterson. Talk about a guy who dropped off the face of the fantasy football planet. After totaling 80 catches for 863 yards and 4 touchdowns his first two seasons, Patterson just had 2 catches for 10 yards last season. Geesh.
As mentioned, Kyle Rudolph was the Vikings leading touchdown pass catcher last season. He certainly has a good chance to do that again. Rudolph is a big target that the Vikings like to find inside the red zone but that is it. To put this plain and simple, he’s a touchdown dependent tight end in the worst passing team in the league. At best, a TE2 with little upside and a knack for injuries. Pick him up off waiver wire as a bye week fill in. The Vikings drafted MyCole Pruitt last year in the fifth round. He’s a mobile tight end who could fill in well if Rudolph gets injured again. No fantasy value here.
The Vikings were 7th in D/ST fantasy scoring last season and project to be in the top 10 of D/STs again this season. Minnesota created more defensive depth in their secondary adding Captain Munnerlyn and Michael Griffin to the roster. The Vikings also emphasized their defense in the draft getting second round pick, Mackensie Alexander, from Clemson at cornerback and fifth round pick, Kentrell Brothers, from Missouri at linebacker. Minnesota was a top 10 defense in sacks and have a great linebacker corp that can create pressure. Look to get the Vikings D/ST with one of the last picks in your fantasy draft.
Green Bay Packers
The Packers look to be one of the better rebounding teams in the league this season. Green Bay fought some injuries and different circumstances that resulted in underperforming. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL last during last year’s preseason and Eddie Lacy came into the last season out of shape and overweight. If the Packers can get both back healthy and in good playing condition then the Packers will have a good chance to win the NFC North. Since Mike McCarthy has been the Packers head coach, Green Bay has dominated the NFC North with a 37-11 record. The Packers have the benefit this season of the easiest schedule in the league. The Packers offense should reload and make a great fantasy impact this season.
Aaron Rodgers had a “down” year in fantasy last season finishing as the 7th top fantasy scoring quarterback with 3,821 yds, 31 TDs, and 8 INT. Rodgers didn’t get any help with the loss and lack of playmakers in the offense. Rodgers main target, Jordy Nelson, was out for the season tearing his ACL during a preseason game, Eddie Lacy was unfit to play, Randall Cobb struggled being the #1 target when Nelson was out, and Devante Adams was absolutely terrible filling in for Nelson. Not to mention that Rodgers’ offensive line was banged up with injuries which created more pressure on him. Rodgers grades well for touchdowns, but just hasn’t put up the great numbers like he had four to five years ago. He still has some mobility to slide around in pocket and deliver the ball. He will occasionally get a rushing touchdown or two. I expect Rodgers to bounce back this season to be a top 3 fantasy quarterback. His ADP is going right in the late 2nd round. If Rodgers happens to slide down into the 3rd round, go grab him and you’ll get great value. The Packers drafted Brett Hundley in the fifth round last season. He has the backup job should Aaron Rodgers get hurt. Hundley had a great preseason last year throwing 69 percent completion percentage with 7 TDs and 1 INT. He is also a great runner who can scramble out the pocket and run for first downs. If Hundley happens to get an NFL start as the Packers quarterback, he would be a good waiver wire pickup and streaming option.
Eddie Lacy was overweight and out of shape last season which resulted in fantasy owner frustration after his first two seasons where he averaged 97 yards a game. Lacy had significant drops in targets from the passing game last season and finished as RB24 in standard scoring and RB34 in PPR. Lacy says that he feels more explosive and faster after losing weight in the offseason. He gave benefit to his weight loss from the popular fitness regime, P90X. If Lacy can keep his weight down, then look for him to be a top 10 fantasy running back. The tough part about drafting Eddie Lacy is his fantasy floor. There’s no consistency to show and if he is back in shape does he return to the old Eddie Lacy that was worthy of a first round pick in fantasy a few years ago. Lacy’s ADP is in the late 2nd to 3rd round. James Starks is the backup who will see some time as the third down running back. Starks knows the Packers offense well and is used as a pass catcher with 43 catches last season. Starks has been known to fumble the ball. Last season he had 5 fumbles on 191 touches. Starks is getting older at age 30 and could get lose some snaps to young running back, John Crockett. Starks is a very late round flyer who would be a good handcuff if you draft Eddie Lacy. John Crockett got some carries during the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions and showed some upside.
Much to Aaron Rodgers and the Packers delight, Jordy Nelson is back healthy after tearing his ACL during a preseason game last season. Nelson has recently been taken off the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list and should be good to go starting Week 1. Nelson has a great connection with Aaron Rodgers and if healthy, can be a consistent top 5 fantasy wide receiver in the league. Nelson is great target on the deep passes and inside the red zone with good body control and playmaking ability. Prior to last season, Nelson averaged 92 catches and 1,417 yards in the previous two seasons. The guy who should benefit with Nelson’s return is Randall Cobb. Cobb struggled having an underwhelming season with 79 catches, 829 yards, and 6 TDs. In Cobb’s previous season he had 1,287 yards and 12 TDs. Fantasy owners had a lot of frustrations with Cobb because they were expecting him to get more production with Nelson out the whole season. Cobb seemed to be out of position being used as WR1 because of Devante Adams struggle and didn’t work in his normal area which is the slot. I expect Cobb to have a great bounce back fantasy season. Cobb’s value should be right in the 4th round range. After Nelson and Cobb, there is a four way split between Devante Adams, Jeff Janis, Ty Montgomery, and Jared Abbrederis. Devante Adams was one of the worst fantasy picks last season given his ADP value in the 4th round with him filling in Jordy Nelson’s spot. He finished as WR83 in fantasy leagues. Woof. Jeff Janis showed up in the fantasy world during the NFC Divisional playoff game at Arizona registering seven catches for 145 yards and two TDs, which made him the first player in franchise history to record seven-plus receptions, 140-plus receiving yards and two-plus TD catches in a postseason game. Janis looks to be a Jordy Nelson prototype who has good size and leaping ability. The hype for Janis hit a bump this week as he will be out 4-6 weeks after surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand. Ty Montgomery played in six games last season with 15 catches for 136 yards and 2 TDs. Montgomery’s role in the Packers offense was expanding before he got an ankle injury against the San Diego Chargers and was put on season-ending injured reserve. Montgomery should work his way back into getting some targets from Aaron Rodgers. He will also factor into the kickoff return game as well. Jared Abbredaris had 9 receptions for 111 yards last season and is currently the backup WR2 to Randall Cobb on the Packers depth chart. He should get a few receptions this season but he’ll be fighting for targets with all the receivers around him. Abbredaris will also get time as a kickoff returner in special teams. All of these four receivers aren’t draftable right now but keep them on your radar during the season as some of them will be good waiver wire pickups and streaming options.
The Packers signed free agent, Jared Cook, this offseason to add depth with Richard Rodgers at the tight end spot. Cook has had an underwhelming NFL career for the size and speed that he possesses. Cook has only had one season as a TE1 in fantasy over his seven year career. Cook has gone 19 straight games without scoring a touchdown and had the most drops in the league at the tight end position last season. A change of scenery and a top NFL quarterback to throw to you should help. Cook is still a deep threat in the middle of the field for Aaron Rodgers. He is projected to be a TE15 draft pick going in the 11th to 12th rounds. The odd thing is that Richard Rodgers is the TE1 on the Packers depth chart and doesn’t project to be drafted in fantasy leagues. But Jared Cook is the TE2 on the Packers depth chart. This tells me that most people expect Jared Cook to take over Richard Rodgers spot. Rodgers finished as the TE10 in fantasy last season with 58 catches, 510 yards, and 8 TDs. I would be very hesitant to draft a Packers tight end, but if I had to draft one I’d go with the upside of Jared Cook.
The Packers finished as the 13th D/ST overall and a top 10 defense in sacks and interceptions last season. Green Bay’s D/ST is projected to be in the middle of the pack, no pun intended, again this season. There are a few Pro Bowlers with Julius Peppers and Clay Matthews who can pressure the quarterback and create turnovers. The Packers secondary has some veteran leadership with Sam Shields and Morgan Burnett. The Packers first round pick, Kenny Clark, looks to get some time on the defensive line behind Mike Daniels. Micah Hyde has made an impact as the Packers punt returner with 3 TDs from the 2013 and 2014 seasons. The Packers fifth round pick, Kenny Clark, should get the opportunity as the kickoff returner with his 4.4 speed. His 40 yard time was the third best among wide receivers in the NFL Combine. The Packers D/ST is one to go for in your drafts. The ADP for the Packers D/ST is going around the 13th-14th rounds.
The Lions are coming off of a 7-9 season under their head coach, Jim Caldwell. The Lions were started out poorly in the first half of last season but showed some turnaround in the second half thanks to a change at offensive coordinator with Jim Bob Cooter. Best coaching name in the NFL. Hands down. After Jim Bob Cooter got promoted to offensive coordinator, Matthew Stafford and Lions offense began to click better. The Lions finished the second half of the season at 6-2. That record can be skewed because the defenses the Lions played during the second half were not very tough. The Lions should benefit from an easier schedule this season. Gone are the days of Megatron, Calvin Johnson. How will Matthew Stafford and the Lions offense move on from here? That is the big question.
Matthew Stafford is known to be a gunslinger who likes to throw the ball all around the field but last season became a more efficient passer. He had a 67 percent completion percentage with more touchdown passes and fewer interceptions. With Jim Bob Cooter’s offense, he’s completing shorter passes and less yards per completion at 10.7 but still get around 4,200 yards passing. The shorter passing for Stafford should expand into this season without having Calvin Johnson anymore. Stafford finished as the 9th best fantasy scoring quarterback last season. He is getting very undervalued in drafts right now. Different fantasy ADP results have guys like Marcus Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, and Tyrod Taylor ahead of Matthew Stafford. All of those quarterbacks were lower in passing offense and fantasy scoring last season than Stafford. His ADP is going in the 13th-15th round range. Dan Orlovsky is the Lions backup but doesn’t present much value if called upon. Orlovsky is going into his 10th season as an NFL backup quarterback and has a career completion percentage of 58 percent.
There is not much value going for the Lions backfield. Detroit was the worst rushing offense in the league last season only averaging 83 yards a game and only 7 TDs scored. Ameer Abdullah is the featured back in the Lions offense. He did not live up to the 4th-5th round fantasy value he was drafted at last season finishing as RB42 overall. He finished with just 143 carries for 597 yards and 2 TDs last season. Much of the demise in the Lions running game is a combination of youth with Abdullah being a rookie and having one the worst offensive lines in the league. The Lions offensive line is having some growing pains with their young first round draft picks, Laken Tomlinson and Riley Reiff. Now they have added another first round draft pick to their offensive line this season with Taylor Decker out of Ohio State. There is still a lot of development needed to help the Lions get a running game and protect Matthew Stafford. Ameer Abdullah is a fast running back who can make people miss and go for long runs. The negatives for Abdullah is that he doesn’t have much size to break tackles and has a tendency to fumble the ball. His ADP is currently going around the 11th round. Theo Riddick is the designated third down back who will get a great volume of passes coming his way. Riddick had 80 catches on 99 targets and 3 TDs to finished as RB18 in PPR leagues. If you are in PPR format league, Riddick has great value around 13th round and has a better floor than Abdullah. Riddick isn’t a great runner and his fantasy value is mainly in PPR. The Lions picked up Stevan Ridley from the Jets in the offseason. Ridley doesn’t bring much value with his liability as a pass catcher and his blaring fumble issues. He could see some time if Abdullah starts to struggle from week to week. Zach Zenner is an undrafted back out of South Dakota State who looked great in last year’s preseason games. He has good size at 223 pounds with ability to break tackles. You might be searching for him on the waiver wire later in the season.
Jim Bob Cooter’s offense is fit for volume to his wide receivers. Golden Tate is one of Matthew Stafford’s favorite targets. Tate is an excellent pick in a PPR format with the high volume of passes coming his way, especially with Calvin Johnson gone now. He finished as a WR34 with 90 catches for 813 yards and 6 TDs. Tate’s yards per catch went significantly down last season to 9.0. This is a result of Jim Bob Cooter’s system for short, efficient passes. Tate still has the ability to get long touchdown catches but don’t rely on it. Tate plays a big role in the red zone and should factor more this season in that area. Detroit picked up Marvin Jones in the offseason to help replace Calvin Johnson’s spot as a tall target and downfield threat. Jones has mostly put up average numbers. He had 65 catches for 816 yards and 4 TDs with the Bengals last season. With the Lions offense being pass heavy, Marvin Jones hitting the 1,000 yard mark and 6-9 TDs shouldn’t be out the realm of possibility. Jones is getting undervalued right now with an ADP in the 12th-13th round. The 35-year-old veteran, Anquan Boldin, was signed by the Lions to add some depth and reliable pass catching. Boldin will be worked in the slot for the middle of the field and also in the red zone. Boldin’s value is going in the 15th round currently. Jeremy Kerley and T.J. Jones are fighting for the 4th wide receiver spot in the slot. T.J. Jones has showed some production as the WR3 late last season and into this preseason. Both Kerley and T.J. Jones don’t hold fantasy value.
The Lions are hoping that Eric Ebron can start producing at the value of a 10th overall draft pick a few years ago. Ebron has slowly been increasing his role every season in targets from 49 his first season to 69 last season. He’s been a big, athletic target for Stafford but his bug-a-boo has been drops. Over the last two seasons, he’s had 9 drops tying with the most for a tight end in the league. Ebron hauled in 47 catches for 537 yards and 5 TDs last season. Compare that to 25 catches for 248 yards and 1 TD in his first season. With Megatron now retired, Ebron should be a beneficiary for more red zone targets. He is being undervalued right now with his ADP going in the 15th round. If Ebron continues to make strides and cuts down on drops, he could be a TE1 before the end of the season. There isn’t much depth behind Ebron with guys like Matthew Mulligan, Orson Charles, and now new free agent pickup, Andrew Quarless. No value to show for these guys right now.
The Lions were 20th in D/ST fantasy scoring last season. There are some noticeable strengths to the Lions defense and some glaring weaknesses as well. Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah and Haloti Ngata man the defensive line with great pass rushing as the Lions were 7th in sacks last season. The linebacker corp is one of the weaknesses for Detroit to go with a bottom half secondary. Darius Slay has really come on the last few years at cornerback and was one of the top corners in the league last season. The opposite cornerback, Nevin Lawson, was one of the worst starting corners in the league in 2015. Glover Quin is an average safety and Rafael Bush is coming back off an injury after missing most of last season. Ameer Abdullah will be the kick return specialist while Golden Tate will handle the punt return duties. Both don’t have any career kickoff or punt return touchdowns. The Lions are not a draftable D/ST this season.
Its was a rough go for John Fox in his first season as the Bears head coach. Chicago finished just one game better at 6-11 than their previous but still another last place in the NFC North. The most head-scratching part about the Bears last season was their home and away record going 1-7 at home and 5-3 on the road. The highly known offensive mind of Adam Gase left his offensive coordinator role to become the head coach for the Miami Dolphins. In comes last year’s quarterbacks coach, Dowell Loggains, to take over as the offensive coordinator. The Bears are coming off last season 21st in total offense. Chicago has young depth at the running back spot to go with a veteran quarterback and a stud wide receiver. They just don’t play to their potential. The Bears have the third easiest schedule this season which should help their cause. But the Bears will have to somehow shore up their inept defense and a struggling Jay Cutler to make some sort of impact in this division.
Jay Cutler is Forrest Gump’s definition of life being like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. He can give you great fantasy value for a couple weeks and then put up duds the next. A boom or bust. Cutler has the arm to make all the throws and has been surrounded with great talent during his time in Chicago with guys like Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, and now Alshon Jeffery. But Cutler never seems to take his team over the hump. Cutler is 50-47 as the starter for the Bears. John Fox prefers to have a conservative approach for his offense by running the ball and limiting turnovers. This could keep Cutler from putting up high passing numbers as well as touchdowns. Cutler is a very late round quarterback who can be drafted as a streamer on bye weeks. He would be an option to draft in two quarterback leagues to be the QB2. His ADP is going at the 15th round. The Bears backup is Brian Hoyer. No. Just no.
Matt Forte is now gone from the Bears. In comes mid-round backs Jeremy Langford, Ka’Deem Carey, and Jordan Howard to help with the running game. The Bears ran the ball a league-tying 424 times last season and with John Fox’s approach as head coach it doesn’t look to change. The issue with the backfield is the inexperience as well as a bad offensive line. Jeremy Landford looks to be the starter with his fast elusiveness but the stats he has so far doesn’t impress. He averaged 3.6 yards a carry last year in 148 carries. Langford was also one of the worst running for yards after contact with 1.13. Langford can catch the ball but didn’t help his cause with 7 drops versus 22 catches. John Fox does like to use a “running back by committee” approach which would limit Langford’s carries and fantasy value. Langford has looked good so far in the preseason getting the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd down snaps. He has been climbing up fantasy draft boards showing an ADP in the 8th. He should have great value as an RB2 in your fantasy lineup. Ka’Deem Carey should be the backup to Langford. Carey is not a speedy running back but a smart, decisive runner who can work with John Fox’s offense. Carey does have some ability as a pass catcher and should see some third down snaps. If you’d like to get handcuff for Langford if he struggles, then Carey is the one to get. He’ll be a late round flyer currently in your drafts. Jordan Howard is a big bruising back who can run the ball downhill for tough yards. Howard does not have good speed and isn’t a pass catcher. Howard could eventually see some goal line carries if Langford gets hurt during the season. He would only have upside if given goal line carries. Not a draftable back here.
Alshon Jeffery is the top receiver for Jay Cutler in the Bears offense. Jeffery is a great receiver who can be a top 10 fantasy receiver every season. Before last season, Jeffery was a top 10 PPR receiver in the previous two seasons. The biggest problem so far in Jeffery’s career has been his durability. This is why the Bears decided not to sign Jeffery to a long-term contract. Jeffery missed 7 games last season due to a number of different injuries. Chicago decided to put the franchise tag on Jeffery to keep him around for another season. Alshon Jeffery is a WR1 in all fantasy formats and should be a good pick in the late second to early third rounds. The Bears first round pick from last year, Kevin White, was out all last season with a fractured shin. He’s recovered well during the summer and is set to be the WR2 opposite of Alshon Jeffery. White has great measurables at 6’3, 215lbs with 4.35 speed. We just don’t know what to expect from White returning from that type of injury. White still has some route running development needed but should be a good pick in the 10th-12th round of your draft. Eddie Royal should get some time in the slot but doesn’t hold much fantasy value. Joshua Bellamy and Marquess Wilson are backups who could see the field if Alshon Jeffery’s history of injuries keeps recurring. Wilson filled Jeffery’s spot last season and had the Bears second most receiving yards at 464. You might find him going on the waiver wire during mid-season.
When Martellus Bennett got injured late in the 2015 season, Zach Miller was a great fantasy pickup to put in lineups. Cutler used Miller as his safety blanket during the rest of the season and had great performances. One of Miller’s highlights was a 5 catch, 107 yards and 2 touchdowns game against the Rams in Week 10. Now that Martellus Bennett has moved on to the New England Patriots, Miller should be targeted pretty well in the Bears offense. Miller will be teetering on a fantasy TE1 this season. He does have some injury risk but he’s getting undervalued right now in drafts going around the 14th-15th rounds. A guy who has been getting some targets in the preseason is former Kansas Chiefs draft pick, Tony Moeaki. He has been bouncing from team to team over the past three years. Moeaki is a big target but his NFL career has been marred by injuries. Rob Housler is another name that could see the field but no value.
The Chicago Bears were a bottom six D/ST last season. The Bears defense has been slowly rebuilding after they lost some their longtime veterans Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Charles Tillman. The front seven of the Bears defense is not great and ended up being a bottom 10 rushing defense. The odd part on this Bears defense is that they were a top 5 passing defense allowing just 225 passing yards a game average. Kyle Fuller improved big time last season at corner. Tracy Porter is on the opposite corner but his production has decreased the last couple years. The safeties have a lot of youth and lacks performance along with consistency. Chicago’s special teams wasn’t like it was before with Devin Hester going to the house almost every game. Marc Marini is the punt returner and only has two career return touchdowns. Deonte Thompson is the designated kickoff returner but doesn’t have any touchdowns to so far in his career. I don’t recommend drafting the Bears D/ST. Look for them as a streaming option throughout the season.