For NFC North position battles in 2015, you aren’t going to find anything that will leave you drooling.
More likely to overtake Packers for NFC North Crown? RT-Vikings FAV-Lions pic.twitter.com/q5yxy76FaG
— Fantasy Fever (@FantasyFever_FB) May 22, 2015
The Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are teams operating with players in their prime or are developing future stars. For the Packers, Brett Hundley will not edge out Aaron Rodgers for a starting role. Rookie Kevin White will not be sidelined for Eddie Royal in Chicago, Calvin Johnson will play until he is 100 and still get the best of would-be-defenders and the Vikings will finally depart from their sad and stagnant quarterback rotation for the first time in years.
The NFC North position battles are not great for fodder and speculation like Johnny Manziel vs. Josh McCown or Geno Smith vs. Ryan Fitzpatrick, but there are a few situations you will want to keep an eye on for 2015 Fantasy Football leagues.
Remember, Fantasy Football is all about opportunities so some backups are an injury away from becoming a player you race to claim off of waivers . Even though most of the starting roles are locked down in the NFC North, I do think there is an exciting opportunity for Fantasy Football players to take advantage of in Detroit.
Without further ado, here are the NFC North position battles that you will want to keep an eye on this offseason.
2015 NFC North Position Battles
Detroit Lions RBs: Joique Bell vs. Ameer Abdullah
My perception of Bell is that he generally follows one strong performance with a poor one. Since I don’t like to just make assumptions, however, I did a little research using fellow staff member Bob Lung’s, “Consistently Consistent-RB” article. You can find the breakdown of how Bob calculates a quality game here.
From the data, Bell totaled the 11th-most quality performances through the past three seasons. So in terms of consistency, the 28-year old back has been fairly reliable for Fantasy Football owners in the past few seasons.
Having said that, Bell will turn 29 in August and recently had surgery in January to clean up his knee and Achilles’. Also, drafting Abdullah in Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft is not a huge display of confidence in the Lions’ aging back.
— Joique Bell (@JoiqueBell) January 16, 2015
While the Lions had to stitch together a rushing attack with Bell, Theo Roddick and Reggie Bush, Abdullah is the explosive playmaker who can be a one-man show. The rookie back is a little cannon ball who can take it to the house on any play if defenders don’t wrap him up. Bell may enter the year as the starter, but Abdullah is too much of a stud to be kept on the sidelines.
One area of concern is his blocking as a smaller back, but he is praised as a quick learner. I would pay close attention to what beat writers and reports from training camps say about his blocking ability and pass protection, but outside of the protection department I think Abdullah will be the starting running back for the Lions by the end of the season.
Green Bay Packers TEs: Andrew Quarless vs. Richard Rodgers
I had to do a little digging to find out when the last time a tight end on the Green Bay Packers was Fantasy relevant. The year was 2012, and Jermichael Finley posted 767 receiving yards with eight touchdown catches.
The Packers will most likely split time once again between Quarrels and Rodgers, but it appears that Rodgers has the edge to carve out a more significant role. That doesn’t automatically make him Fantasy relevant, however, and this is one of the NFC North position battles that will not register on most Fantasy Football players’ radars.
The tight end position will be relied on more if Nelson or Randall Cobb become injured, and depending on certain matchups Rodgers could become a sneaky pick in daily leagues if the Packers are able to get him three receptions per game.
Minnesota Vikings WRs: Mike Wallace vs. Cordarrelle Patterson
With a second year under Teddy Bridgewater’s belt, Fantasy Football players are wondering who will be the biggest beneficiary of the second-year quarterback.
Wallace has yet to return to his glory days in Pittsburgh in terms of Fantasy production, but he has quietly put up solid football numbers. Despite hauling in less than 900 receiving yards, Wallace still caught 10 touchdown passes. The 28-year old receiver has been knocked for seemingly giving up on plays and it will be interesting to see how he connects with Bridgewater.
Patterson was a third-round pick in 2014 on FantasyFootballCalculator.com, and he was one of the biggest busts of the season. Reportedly, his route running has improved and he is in better shape. I’m still not sure that the Vikings know how to utilize Patterson’s athletic abilities but Patterson is in a nice spot to challenge Wallace if the former Dolphins’ receiver falters.
Chicago Bears QBs: Jimmy Clausen vs. David Fales
I met Jay Cutler. His job is mine
— Jimmy Clausen (@notjimmyclausen) June 6, 2014
The Bears do not own exciting NFC North position battles.
If Jay Cutler does self destruct during the season you will still be able to find Clausen or Fales on the waiver wire. If you are planning on drafting Cutler you are probably a bit of a gambler anyway, so you aren’t going to lose sleep over who enters the season as the Bears’ backup quarterback.
While it isn’t really a position battle, I think it’s important to handcuff Matt Forte this season with rookie Jeremy Langford. Forte may be a little fresher than some running backs his age because of his huge role in the passing attack but he is climbing up there in years. While Langford has a few hangups, he is praised for his pass protection and soft hands. That doesn’t mean he can replicate Forte’s numbers if the veteran back becomes injured, but it does mean he has similar traits to Forte that could help Langford succeed in the Bears’ offense.
Make sure to check back with the So-Called Fantasy Experts next week, as we cover everything you’ll need to know about the AFC East for your 2015 Fantasy Football season.
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