The NFL Draft inches ever closer to reality, and we have reached peak take. Last week, I explored three divisions and the best bets in the NFL Draft to bolster our fantasy football rosters. This week, I complete that look around the league with the remaining five divisions. This week, we look at a division that had one of the biggest rookie surprises last year, Justin Jefferson, as well as some of the weirdest drafts last season, the Green Bay Packers. Who should the teams in the NFC North take in the upcoming NFL Draft to make all of our fantasy football squads better?
Chicago Bears (8-8)
Picks: #20, #52, #83, #164, #204, #208 (SEA via MIA), #221, #228
Key Additions: Andy Dalton (QB), Damien Williams (RB)
Key Losses: Mitch Trubisky (QB)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Wide Receiver, Offensive Line, Quarterback
The Chicago Bears faced an addition-by-subtraction by jettisoning Mitchell Trubisky from their roster. There aren’t a lot of situations in the NFL where a team definitively improves by adding Andy Dalton as the starter, but here we are. The Bears are likely in their last right with Matt Nagy unless he turns this offense into a powerhouse in a hurry. And with Andy Dalton at the helm? It looks like Nagy will need to be gainfully employed elsewhere next season. Their other big offensive addition came in the form of Damien Williams, who last carried the football in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory in the before times.
The Bears still have a ton of holes around the offense, and it shouldn’t come as a shock that Andy Dalton and Jamaal Williams didn’t drastically change the face of the team. First, the Darnell Mooney Show hopes to take off in 2021, but outside of Allen Robinson and speculating on Mooney, the wide receiver room leaves a lot on the table. The Anthony Miller breakout just can’t get off the ground due to injuries, and he could be better served as a depth guy for a team at this point.
As for the rest of the needs… well, the quarterback situation is currently a one-year deal to Andy Dalton and a two-year deal with Nick Foles. Neither knock your socks off, and the Bears should go out and get a new quarterback. Unfortunately, all the good ones sit just outside of their reach on draft day, with Kyle Trask as the sixth quarterback getting top-fifteen pick buzz. Barring adding an actually good quarterback to this roster, the Bears had the #20 offensive line per Pro Football Focus last year and didn’t do a whole lot to get any better.
Detroit Lions (5-11)
Picks: #7, #41, #72, #101 (LAR), #112, #153
Key Additions: Tyrell Williams & Breshad Perriman (WR), Jamaal Williams (RB), Jared Goff (QB)
Key Losses: Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones Jr. and Mohamed Sanu (WR), Matthew Stafford (QB)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Pass Catcher
This one isn’t overwhelmingly shocking. The Lions had an above-average offensive line last season thanks to growth among their veteran players. They have one of the best young running backs in the league and got him a high-end backup by adding Jamaal Williams in free agency. Detroit also moved long-time high-end starter Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff, who authored three whole points in the Super Bowl. Goff isn’t the long-term answer there, but the Lions likely don’t end up taking a quarterback at seven. Unless they do?
Obviously adding Fields would be a coup for the Lions, but it’s far more likely they add a pass-catcher than a pass thrower in the draft. At seven they have a shot at at least one of Kyle Pits, Ja’Marr Chase, DeVonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle. If they go elsewhere in round one (or decide to restock the cabinet in one fell swoop), this draft has plenty of wide receivers available in the range of both #41 and #72.
Green Bay Packers (13-3)
Picks: #29, #62, #92, #135, #142, #173, #178, #214, #220, #256
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Corey Linsley (C), Jamaal Williams (RB)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Wide Receiver (!!!), Interior Offensive Line, Depth Running Back
The Green Bay Packers enter their second-straight draft in dire need of a wide receiver to play opposite Davante Adams. While I rather enjoy Davante Adams’ 2020 campaign, the likes of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard failed to wow me as viable fantasy football options. But what about snagging a guy like Kadarius Toney or Terrace Marshall or Elijah Moore at the back end of the first round? That should certainly help things for the Packers, who have a 26-6 record in the regular season over the last two years without a Super Bowl appearance for their troubles.
The Packers also lost Corey Linsley, one of the best centers in the league, to free agency. They had the second-best OL per Pro Football Focus last season, so they have a long way to go before this becomes a dire problem, but patching up the interior of the off
Minnesota Vikings (7-9)
Picks: #14, #78, #90 (BAL), #119, #125 (CHI), #134 (BUF), #143, #157, #168 (PIT via BAL), #199
Key Additions: None
Key Losses: Kyle Rudolph (TE)
2021 NFL Draft Fantasy Football Wish List: Offensive Line
The Minnesota Vikings are pretty much set everywhere for what they want to do in 2021 that helps our fantasy football teams. More than likely, they expend draft capital to help their defense. Unfortunately for our purposes, that hurts their fantasy football options. Luckily, for our purposes, they likely won’t have a good defense overnight.
What do you get a team that has their right-now quarterback, the best 2020 rookie wide receiver, an incredible secondary wide receiver, a star running back, and a hot young tight end? You get them an offensive line, of course! Every team in the league could use an offensive line upgrade here or there, but the Vikings need one almost as much as anyone this season. Pro Football Focus rated them as the seventh-worst group in the league last year. The easy answer here is praying Rashawn Slater falls to them at 14 (or taking matters into their own hands and trading up).
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