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NFC North Player Analysis

Chicago Bears

 

QB Rex Grossman – **UPDATE** Broken ankle will sideline him again in 2005.  No need to draft him.

 

QB Other – Chad Hutchinson, Kyle Orton – **UPDATE** Chad started the final four games of the 2004 season for the Bears.  Kyle is a rookie and may get a shot especially if the Bears struggle.  I expect that Chad will start the season, but Kyle will take over 1/3 of the way into the season.  Neither player deserves consideration to be on your roster, but draft Orton if you are in a keeper league.

 

RB Thomas Jones – Jones had a very strong season last year.  So when the Bears drafted Cedric Benson as their first pick, the question marks popped up all over the place about Jones’ role.  But so far this pre-season, Benson has yet to sign a contract.  The longer he holds out, the better it is for Jones.  I would not base my fantasy team on him, but as a RB3 or potential longshot stud, drafting Jones could really pay off for you.

 

RB Cedric Benson – Cedric needs to sign a contract and get into camp soon or he risks losing an opportunity to be the starter for the Bears.  That being said, Benson still deserves a spot on your fantasy roster, especially in dynasty leagues.

 

WR Muhsin Muhammad – Muhsin was the top fantasy WR last season.  Unfortunately he left the Panthers as a free agent and his stock dropped.  He will not score as many TDs this season, but he will still have a solid year as the only real receiving option on this team.

 

WR Bobby Wade – Is penciled in as the second starter, but still needs to show he can use the talents he has.  No need to draft Wade or any other Bear wide receiver.

 

WR Other – Justin Gage, Bernard Berrian, Mark Bradley – None of the Bears backups should be drafted, but keep your eye on Berrian especially if Wade falters.  Given the chance he could have decent numbers. 

 

TE Desmond Clark – There are many other TEs in the league at this point, so hopefully you don’t have to consider Clark..

 

K Doug Brien– Was the hero and then the goat in the playoffs last season for the Jets.  Either way, you should be able to find a kicker other than Brien for your fantasy team.

 

 

 

Detroit Lions

 

QB Joey Harrington – Joey has yet to live up the expectations since he was drafted.  With the weapons around him, this should be his last chance to show he is ready to lead this team to the playoffs and beyond.  In deeper leagues, take him as your backup QB.

 

QB Jeff Garcia – Why would the Lions sign Garcia unless they are concerned about Harrington’s ability to lead this team?  If Joey struggles or gets hurt, Garcia will step in and with the offensive firepower look out.  No need to draft him just yet, but keep your eye on the waiver wire.

 

RB Kevin Jones – Jones has the skills and talents to justify the excitement that surrounds him.  Draft him late in the first round and don’t look back as Kevin has the potential to be a top 5 RB in 2005.

 

RB Other – Shawn Bryson, Artose Pinner – neither of these two will get much playing time, unless Jones gets hurt.

 

WR Roy Williams – Williams had a great start to the season last year, but then tailed off until the last few weeks.  He is part of a strong offensive unit and you should not hesitate drafting Williams.

 

WR Charles Rogers – We are still waiting for Rogers to break out, missing most of his first two seasons due to injuries.  The pieces are in place this year for him to finally show what he can do.

 

WR Mike Williams – Who saw the Lions drafting a third stud WR?  Well they did just that taking Mike Williams who sat out the entire 2004 season due to a bad NCAA rule.  This team should be capable of scoring a lot of points, and Mike will get his share.

 

TE Marcus Pollard – Marcus landed in a great situation, no longer having to share the TE duties and on a team full of talent.  The only question is:  are there enough TDs to go around?  You could do worse.

 

K Jason Hanson – Jason is a very dependable kicker, who unfortunately has spent his entire career in Detroit.  This year should provide more offense for this team and Hansen will benefit.

 

 

Green Bay Packers

 

QB Brett Favre – So begins another season, and Brett is still the quarterback in Green Bay.  Who knows how many seasons the ironman has remaining, but one thing is for sure.  Brett will be a solid starter for your fantasy team.  Expect the Pack to fall behind in many games, giving Favre and the rest of the team a chance to play catchup through the air.

 

QB Other – Craig Nall, Aaron Rodgers –  Rodgers was drafted to be the QB of the future, but the future won’t begin until Favre decides to retire.

 

RB Ahman Green – “Was second in the league in TDs scored last season and there is no reason to expect him to slow down.  He will probably be drafted 3rd behind Holmes and Tomlinson, but he could end up being the top fantasy RB at the end of the year.”  This is what I wrote last year.  Obviously Green disappointed everyone who drafted him and is receiving no love in this year’s rankings.  However, if you get a chance to draft him, you should do so and be very happy.

 

RB Other – Najeh Davenport, Tony Fisher – When given the chance, these two have shown that they can get the job done.  You should consider drafting Davenport if you take Green, as insurance.

 

WR Javon Walker – Contract problems aside, Javon will continue to be the main receiving target in Green Bay.  Take him as your WR1 without hesitation.

 

WR Donald Driver – If you don’t get Javon, Driver will make an excellent WR3.  There will be plenty of balls going around this year in Green Bay.

 

WR Robert Ferguson – As the third receiving option, Ferguson will get some chances but is only worth consideration in larger leagues.

 

TE Bubba Franks – Will get an occasional TD, but will frustrate you more than you can deal with.

 

K Ryan Longwell – Is one of the top kickers in the league and will get many opportunities to score.

 

 

Minnesota Vikings

 

QB Daunte Culpepper – The biggest question this offseason is:  How will Daunte do with Randy Moss catching passes in Oakland?  Well only time will tell for sure, but take a look at last season’s number.  Daunte had the best year of his career including 4700 Yds passing and 39 TDs.  Meanwhile Moss spent most of the season hurt and had his worst season receiving the ball.  While I don’t expect Daunte to repeat last season’s stats, I do think he will remain at the top with Manning as the best fantasy QB.  Draft him without hesitation.

 

QB Brad Johnson – Nice insurance if Culpepper gets hurt, but if he sees the field don’t expect much.

 

RB Michael Bennett – The starting job belongs to Bennett and he will get the majority of carries until he gets hurt.  You should be able to draft him in rounds 3-4 and if you do, he will not disappoint.

 

RB Other – Mewelde Moore, Moe Williams, Ciatrick Fason – Even with the Whizzinator sitting out the entire season, the Vikings still have the deepest bench for running backs.  Mewelde played well last season, but he isn’t the type of runner to be an every down back.  If Bennett goes down, don’t be surprised if rookie Ciatrick Fason gets a shot to be the every down back.  Any of these backs are worth drafting in deeper leagues.

 

WR Nate Burleson – With Randy Moss traded to the Raiders, Burleson will be given a chance to show what he can do.  The Vikings will score a lot and Burleson will get more than his share.

 

WR Marcus Robinson – His play was inconsistent last season, sometimes looking great and sometimes struggling.  He comes into this season knowing his place in the offense and should have a decent year.

 

WR Other – Troy Williamson and Travis Taylor both will get their opportunity for playing time.  Definitely draft Williamson in keeper leagues as he could cause Vikings fans to say “Randy Who”?

 

TE Jermaine Wiggins – Jermaine will benefit the most from the loss of Moss.  If you don’t get a shot at the top 3 TEs, consider drafting Wiggins and you will get some big games out of him.

 

TE Jim Kleinsasser – Missed most of last season with an injury, but is expected to be back.  With receiving threat Wiggins on board, Kleinsasser will get more of the blocking duty.  

 

K Paul Edinger/Aaron Elling – A position battle at kicker?  Yup, both of these guys will get a shot to win the job and so far it is an even race.  No need to draft either.

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