Home > Uncategorized > NFC North Fantasy Preview: Adrian Peterson Attempts to Become Even More Awesome

NFC North Fantasy Preview: Adrian Peterson Attempts to Become Even More Awesome

Minnesota Vikings: I got the No. 1 overall pick in my league’s draft on Thursday night. Of the 50 or so mock drafts that I did to prepare (I have a lot of time these days), I don’t think I ever selected out of the No. 1 spot. There is really no need to. You know how this should go already. There are reasons to not draft Adrian Peterson at No. 1 — he fumbles a little too much, he gets nicked up, Brett Favre may steal a few TDs, he doesn’t have the receiving skills of a Forte or Jones-Drew — but you would just be nit-picking. Just look at what he did against Houston and know that he is working to improve some of his weaknesses. He’ll be fine for another beyond-terrific season.

Purple Jesus is ready to roll once again

Purple Jesus is ready to roll once again

And if you don’t lock up Chester Taylor as a handcuff to Peterson, don’t sweat it. Just make sure you get some other prominent backup running backs (i.e. Ahmad Bradshaw, Donald Brown, Leon Washington, Darren Sproles, etc.)

Maybe I was a bit over the top on my initial projection for Brett Favre. Sorry, I was just a bit giddy. I would probably lower the TDs by a few, but you should feel very comfortable with him as your second quarterback. By now, you should know that a certain amount of risk and plenty of interceptions come with him.

Everyone should have been avoiding Vikings receivers before Favre came to town, but now Bernard Berrian looks like a fantastic No. 2 receiver in fantasy. He has been shut down by a hamstring injury, but it sounds like he is progressing well and is on track to play this weekend. His speed matches up very well with Favre’s arm, and you know Favre will take a bunch of chances down the field, no matter how many defenders are in the area.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe had a very solid preseason and he looks like a tremendous safety value for Farve, who has always used his tight ends well. Best yet, Shiancoe is a player who you can get very late in your draft.

And look, I made it through two sentences about Shiancoe with a penis joke. I’m proud of myself.

Percy Harvin is an intriguing player because he has so much speed and agility, and he can play wide receiver and running back. But he’s nothing more than a pure secondary option on this team right now and I am not as high on him as others are. We know that Harvin is usually very high on many things. If you take a flyer on Harvin, fine. But I don’t think he will be a consistent producer at all this year. Same goes for WR Sidney Rice for yet another year.

Detroit Lions: One word: MEGATRON! I mean, you just can’t watch stuff like this enough. Calvin Johnson is obviously being held down by his surrounding parts in Detroit because I do believe he is the best fantasy wide receiver. Larry Fitzgerald is great, Andre Johnson is outstanding, but there isn’t a target in the game right now that is so unguardable. Calvin is so good that I have to use fake words, like unguardable, to describe him. He is being drafted behind Steve Smith and Randy Moss in some leagues, and that’s just unfathomable. Have fun owning him this year.

Doing my school proud since 2008

Doing my school proud since 2008

But yes, around Johnson, there isn’t much. One of the other bright spots is running back and follow UCF alumnus Kevin Smith. I think he is a great bargain in drafts because he’s an unquestioned starter who could combine to for 1,500 total yards and 8-10 touchdowns, and he can be had in the middle of the third round. He is going to have a very good season, and that’s a very unbiased opinion. Smith’s production can only be curbed (other than injury) by the Lions’ own ineptitude on defense. They may give up so many points that the running game may be phased out during some embarrassing losses.

In those blowouts, Matthew Stafford should be able to rack up a ton of garbage points against relaxed defenses. Stafford represents the beginning of a new era for Detroit — hopefully different from the Joey Harrington era. Does he deserve to start right away? Probably not. Daunte Culpepper didn’t play badly in the preseason and these numbers aren’t exactly impressive. But what do the Lions have to lose? More games? That’s  Stafford is a good No. 3 fantasy quarterback, nothing more.

Green Bay Packers: This team is loaded with fantasy goodness. There really aren’t a lot of questionable players here, so the conversation will be short. Greg Jennings is a stud. He doesn’t have the name value of a Steve Smith or Reggie Wayne, but I think he will be better than both of them this season. Donald Driver isn’t a sexy pick, but if you like 1,000 yards and five touchdowns from your third wideout, he’s a good play.

Somewhat overlooked in fantasy, feared in reality

Somewhat overlooked in fantasy, feared in reality

Ryan Grant got off to a bad start last year and was bogged by a hamstring injury, but he really rediscovered his form from 2007 after a week 8 bye and ended the season with 739 rushing yards in the season’s final nine games. He is completely healthy now and is another guy, much like Kevin Smith, that is a good value in the third round.

You’ve heard that maybe young, high-profile quarterbacks should spend a year learning on the bench before they are thrown into the NFL fire. Well, Aaron Rodgers was on the bench for basically all of the first three years of his career. All that waiting must have done something as Rodgers was revelation for the Packers last season. And he’s been almost flawless this preseason. With Peyton Manning starting to decline just a bit and Kurt Warner having some definite injury concerns, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Rodgers end up as a top-3 QB in fantasy this year. I’m almost expecting it.

The Packers didn’t use the tight end much last season, but if you are looking for a deep sleeper tight end, consider Jermichael Finley. At 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, he is extremely athletic and has the tools to be a very good producer. The Packers now just need to use him. And hey, at least Finley believes in himself, to say the least.

Chicago Bears: Can Matt Forte do it again? A lot of rookie running backs have successful seasons, but not many of them are second-round picks out of Tulane and even less produce with so much consistency. That’s 15 of 17 games with at least 10 fantasy points in standard leagues. With Cutler around, the Bears may run a tad less than last season, but he can make up for that with 60-70 receptions. I think he has fewer questions surrounding him than with Maurice Jones-Drew and Michael Turner, and I think he is the second-best player in drafts.

Did someone say big breakout year?

Did someone say big breakout year?

Now with quarterback Jay Cutler, it’s a little different. He has a bazooka attached to his right shoulder and is pretty fleet with his feet. But he’s no longer in Denver and more importantly, he isn’t playing with Denver’s defense. Each game won’t be a 30-point shootout. Cutler can sling it, but in Chicago, he won’t be slinging it that much. He still has some very good options available, but the chances to get them the ball will be lessened. I don’t think he will throw for 4,000 yards, but he should still be a good bet for 25 touchdowns and plenty of interceptions as well.

The Bears don’t have a receiver with the blend of skills that Brandon Marshall has, but put together, it’s a very nice group that is not getting enough respect. Devin Hester has quit fielding kickoffs so that he can concentrate more on becoming a better WR. His ability to hit the “home run” (I hate that term in football) fits Cutler’s strengths perfectly. He will be streaky and not a great choice in PPR leagues, but he is a nice pick. Earl Bennett caught nine touchdowns from Cutler in 2005 while the two were at Vanderbilt and he has gotten a ton of rave reviews in training camp. Of course, Forte is a developed receiver as well, and if you have tight end Greg Olsen, good things should be coming your way early and often this season.

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