Studs and Duds: NFC North preview

By Brock Busick

Sports Blogger



Chicago Bears

Stud: Jordan Howard, running back

Jordan Howard is coming off a rookie season in which he rushed 252 times for 1,313 yards and six touchdowns for an awful Bears team that won only three games last season. The Bears may not be much better this year but that could be to the benefit of fantasy owners of Howard. Howard is the clear-cut top offensive player for Chicago and should be in for a hefty workload this season. In a league of running back committees, Howard is a true workhorse for his team. Look for Howard to quietly put up big numbers for the rebuilding Bears this season.

Dud: Kevin White, wide receiver

Oh, how badly I would love to see Kevin White stay on the field and healthy for a full season. After being the No. 7 overall pick of the Bears in the 2015 NFL Draft, White has played in a total of four NFL regular season games in his first two seasons as a pro. White suffered a stress fracture in his shin that kept him from seeing the field at all as a rookie. Last season, White hauled in 19 passes for 187 yards through the first four games before fracturing his fibula. White can’t avoid the injury bug, so do your best to avoid him.


Detroit Lions

Stud: Golden Tate, wide receiver

Golden Tate is a PPR monster. Tate has seen no less than 128 targets in each of his past three seasons and caught at least 90 balls each time while going over the 1,000-yard mark twice. On top of that, Tate is great in the YAC department and has been a consensus top-10 receiver in that category. Tate is probably a WR2 with potential to be a sneaky WR1.

Dud: Ameer Abdullah, running back

Detroit hasn’t had a true lead back in years, and I don’t foresee that changing this year. I’m always weary of drafting running backs who are part of a committee because of how unpredictable their touches can be from week to week. Ameer Abdullah’s ADP is much higher than fellow Detroit back Theo Riddick’s, but they will likely be seeing similar numbers of total touches. Let someone else in your league swing and miss on Abdullah. Riddick has potential to be a sneaky late round pick with good value, though.


Green Bay Packers

Stud: Aaron Rodgers, quarterback / Martellus Bennett, tight end

Aaron Rodgers was the obvious choice here and you can expect to see him put up huge numbers from the quarterback position once again. Martellus Bennett deserves honorable mention, though. Bennett and Rodgers seem to have clicked pretty well this preseason and that duo could be deadly this season. Bennett is Yahoo!’s No. 10 tight end, but I believe he’ll be making plenty of Lambeau Leaps and has top five potential in the Packer offense.

Dud: Ty Montgomery, running back/wide receiver

It was hard to pick a dud in Green Bay’s offense, but I’m not completely sold on Ty Montgomery. The former wide receiver is set to be the lead back for the Packer rushing attack to start the year after making the gradual transition to that position a year ago. Montgomery is overvalued and currently going in rounds four or five in most standard drafts. Stay away from him, especially in non-PPR leagues.


Minnesota Vikings

Stud: Dalvin Cook, running back

The rookie running back out of Florida State is poised for a breakout year in an improving Vikings offense. Dalvin Cook is the clear No. 1 back over Jerick McKinnon, while LaTavius Murray struggles to get back from offseason foot surgery. Cook is going in the first three rounds of fantasy drafts. Cook is a top-10 fantasy running back as a rookie. For everyone in keeper leagues, lock him up while you can.

Dud: Sam Bradford, quarterback

(Keith Allison, Flickr)

Game. Manager. Those are the words that come to mind when I think about Sam Bradford. Is he going to lose your team games? Not usually. Is he going to be efficient and throw a ton of short completions and keep the chains moving? Yes. But, sorry, Sam. Completion percentage doesn’t score fantasy points and that’s about the only stat on his line that jumps out as remotely impressive. Until Bradford can start making some big plays with his arm, he’s a dud.


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