The Fantasy Points staff recently welcomed NFL Insider Adam Caplan to talk about the NFC East as part of our Virtual Town Hall Series. We highly encourage you to check out the entire conversation by accessing our Fantasy Points YouTube page and the Fantasy Points podcast feed.
Adam joined John Hansen and company to break down the NFC North from front to back to help us get a deeper understanding of every roster heading into the summer. John has been holding these closed-door meetings with Adam for the last 15+ years. The Fantasy Points staff is proud to let the public peek behind the curtain during these exclusive meetings! Here are the notes we compiled from the NFC North conversation.
Brett Whitefield (BW): A lot of Justin Fields’ issues were processing defenses coming into the league, and he still has a lot of those issues on tape. They found a QB-heavy run scheme to open up passing lanes for him last year. He didn’t have many great options at receiver last year. Darnell Mooney is a meh player, but adding D.J. Moore could elevate him to the next level like we saw Stefon Diggs do for Josh Allen. Fields has all the parts to be a star. It looked like he might be a Prius after Year 1 but the Bears could have a Ferrari after this year.
Graham Barfield (GB): I’m in on Fields at his ADP. We’ve seen these young QBs get their stud WR and it immediately elevates their game. This Bears defense is going to be awful again, so he’s going to have to play in shootouts (John projected Chicago last and bumped up Fields’ attempts).
BW: D’Onta Foreman is an early-down prototype. Roschon Johnson does everything well, and they got him in the fourth round. Roschon is the long-term replacement for David Montgomery. Khalil Herbert benefitted from snaps when Chicago spread teams out last season, which meant he faced fewer defenders in the box. Herbert hasn’t done the dirty work in pass protection to this point, and Roschon is the best pass protector in the class.
BW: The Lions essentially have the same group at receiver as they did last year since Jameson Williams wasn’t really part of their offense last year. Sam LaPorta could play some of the Amon-Ra St. Brown in the slot, and St. Brown wants to play more on the outside to get a bigger check when it’s time to get his second contract.
Adam Caplan (AC): LaPorta will play in the slot, and they like James Mitchell from Virginia Tech. They could use a little more 12 personnel when Jameson is out and more 11 personnel when he gets back.
GB: This was the shootout team for fantasy last season. Detroit’s defense is better, but they should give up points once again. The Lions don’t really have a lid lifter at wide receiver while Jameson is suspended.
Joe Dolan (JD): The Lions had two backs finish in the top 20 for fantasy, and they moved on from both of them. They signed David Montgomery to a significant contract, and they used the #12 on Jahmyr Gibbs. They both can pay off at their current ADPs.
GB: Eight of the last nine RBs picked inside the top 15 have had RB1 seasons in their first two seasons.
BW: They want to run to the rock. It may be cliche, but Dan Campbell really does want to run the ball. They love their running backs, and we’ll see a heavy diet of both.
AC: The Panthers might have hired Ben Johnson if he didn't back out of the running for the job. The Lions knew he was a good coach by how well he handled his promotions.
Green Bay Packers
AC: I’ve heard good things about Jordan Love. They’ll run the old-school West Coast offense that Matt LaFleur has wanted to run. Love did a good job processing the offense last off-season, and he played well in a limited sample against the Eagles. This isn’t a bad receiving corps, it’s just a really young group.
BW: They drafted Love five pass catchers, so they know they have to get better for their young quarterback. Christian Watson is more of a big-play receiver. He doesn’t profile as a volume receiver. Romeo Doubs is more of a #3 option, which means Jayden Reed could be Love’s volume receiver in the slot.
GB: The Packers could have some growing pains on offense with all of their youth, but they’ll be better than people think.
AC: They haven’t figured out what to do with Dalvin Cook’s contract. They don’t want to cut him coming off shoulder surgery since it would result in an injury settlement. Alexander Mattison would be the guy if Cook isn’t in the equation.
BW: Mattison isn’t this extraordinary player who is going to hold off everyone behind him. DeWayne McBride and Ty Chandler would be in the mix behind him if Cook is out of the picture.
GB: Jordan Addison is such a good fit for the Vikings. They want receivers who can play all three positions, and he fits the bill. T.J. Hockenson’s presence in the middle of the field unlocked Justin Jefferson even more in the second half of last season. You have to pay a bit of a premium to draft Kirk Cousins at his ADP this season for a QB who won’t run, but Cousins is set up for another huge season.