Fantasy Football: NFC North Winners & Losers from the NFL Draft
Although the NFC South will give them a run for their money, the NFC North could be the most well-rounded division in the NFC in 2018. Aaron Rodgers returns with a new weapon, 2017 red zone target leader, Jimmy Graham. The Vikings upgrade their quarterback position with Kirk Cousins. The evolving Mitchell Trubisky now has a real WR1 target, Allen Robinson. The Detroit Lions added goal-line bruiser LeGarrette Blount to the backfield. But these were all moves made in free agency. Let’s explore how each NFC North team made out in the 2018 NFL draft and determine which players came out as a winner and which lost fantasy value in the process.
Winners: Mitchell Trubisky
The Chicago Bears made a few splashes in free agency to improve their offense and they did not take their foot off the gas in the draft. The second round was good to Trubisky as the Bears drafted an offensive lineman and a wide receiver. James Daniels, a Center from Iowa, was selected as the 39th overall pick. Daniels can play any of the 3 interior positions and will have an immediate impact on this line as protection for Trubisky. The Bears then drafted help at wide receiver 12 picks later with Memphis WR Anthony Miller. He will serve as a great compliment to Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel as Miller rounds off the WR weapons for Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears were heavily focused on defense in this draft but the early moves they made to improve the offense should make for a much better season for fantasy purposes.
The Lions had the agenda of taking pressure off their franchise quarterback early in this draft. The wasted no time with their first pick, Center Frank Ragnow from Arkansas. Any time a team drafts a top O-line talent it’s got to work as an immediate confidence booster to their QB, in this case, Matthew Stafford. The Lions followed up in the second round with RB Kerryon Johnson from Auburn. It’s been obvious for a while that the Detroit Lions have needed a reliable, early-down back to balance out this offense. They finally (hopefully) have added that weapon to help take some pressure off of Stafford and the passing game. Detroit added another offensive lineman (Tyrell Crosby) in the 5th round. Overall, the Lions improved their offense and although it may have negatively impacted the backfield from a fantasy football perspective, it has helped the value of Matthew Stafford and his top targets Golden Tate and Marvin Jones.
Green Bay Packers
Winners: Davante Adams, Aaron Rodgers
Losers: Geronimo Allison
The Green Bay Packers used their first 3 picks to bolster their defense. They eventually added 3 wide receivers in this draft (J’Mon Moore – 4th round, Marquez Valdes-Scantling- 5th round and Equanimeous St. Brown – 6th round). This is actually good news for Davante Adams as none of these WRs are viewed as someone that should be the top receiver in Green Bay. It does potentially hurt Geronimo Allison‘s value, however, if one or more of these WRs emerge as a viable target for Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is a winner here as the offense has more weapons and the running game isn’t quite figured out yet. All of this could lead to more production from the quarterback that doesn’t need the help.
Winners: Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook
This offense is pretty much set. The Vikings didn’t have to make too many moves in the draft to improve. They did draft Pittsburgh OT Brian O’Neil at the end of the 2nd round to help solidify the line which helps Kirk Cousins and rRB Dalvin Cook. Other than that, there’s not much to be said when it comes to this draft and it’s fantasy implications for the Vikings. They have their star running back healthy, their WR duo of Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen were productive with Case Keenum, which should leave you salivating for their services with Kirk Cousins throwing to them. This could end up being the best offense in the league in 2018 and that’s saying a lot for a team in the same division as the Green Bay Packers.