The 2022 draft has come and gone, and now it’s time for each fanbase in the NFC North to come together to bash their team’s picks. It’s hard for me to say these teams knocked this draft out of the park. I will say that between the four teams the Lions had the best draft. Granted that’s because the Bears dropped the ball, and the Packers and Vikings just did ok. Fortunately, even with the so-so draft results, there are plenty of great fantasy options to choose from. With that out of the way let’s take a look at the post-draft outlook within the NFC North.
Post-Draft Outlook: Chicago Bears
Offensive Skills Positions Draft Picks: WR Velus Jones Jr., RB Treston Ebner
So, the Bears organization hates Justin Fields right? Because that’s that’s the only explanation I can think of for why they drafted the way that they did. They didn’t draft a single offensive lineman until the fifth round. This means that Justin Fields will probably be running for his life this season. Next, they drafted a grand total of one wide receiver this year. With that wide receiver being 25-year-old Velus Jones J.R. Yes you read that correctly, they drafted a 25-year-old rookie wide receiver. Due to the fact that they didn’t take someone like George Pickens with one of their second-round picks, they were then forced to take Velus Jones J.r. in the third round.
When it comes to fantasy, you should really only focus on a few key players from the Bears. The Bears players that I’m the highest on are Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, and Velus Jones J.R. Over the past two season Darnell Mooney is coming off of a 1,000-yard receiving season and there’s no reason to believe he can’t do it again. Last season Cole Kmet had 14 red-zone targets but did not score a single touchdown. With no Jimmy Graham to take away some of those targets, expect Cole Kmet to be a solid late-round tight end. When it comes to Velus Jones J.R., is that he is great at getting yards after the catch and getting separation from defenders. A player like that is perfect to potentially rack up fantasy points during any given game, you just have to hope it doesn’t happen when he’s on your bench.
Post-Draft Outlook: Detroit Lions
Offensive Skills Positions Draft Picks: WR Jameson Williams, TE James Mitchell
While the Lions had a solid draft in terms of future team success, the same can’t be said for fantasy success. They only drafted two players on offense and only one of them will be fantasy relevant. Fortunately, that player is Jameson Williams. The only downside to Jameson Williams’ fantasy outlook will be that he might not play to start the season. As you may or may not know, Jameson Williams suffered an ACL tear in January. Even if he is cleared to play by the start of the season, that doesn’t mean the Lions will rush him into the lineup. If the Lions are smart, they should wait until Jameson Williams is 100% better. This is not a team that is in winnow mode, and preserving someone that could become one of the premier wide receivers in the future is the way to go.
Even with having a decent draft, there is still no reason to expect the Lions to be a good team this year. This means they will be playing from behind a lot this season. When you’re playing from behind that means you will be throwing the ball a lot. Jameson Williams will be joining a Lions receiving core that consists of Amon-Ra St. Brown, D.J. Chark, and T.J. Hockenson. This isn’t the most explosive receiving core in the league. While Amon-Ra St. Brown was a monster at the end of last season, he did that as pretty much the only healthy receiver on the roster. There is a clear path for not just Jameson Williams, but all of the Lions receivers to have a pretty solid fantasy season.
Post-Draft Outlook: Green Bay Packers
Offensive Skills Position Draft Picks: WR Christian Watson, WR Romeo Doubs, WR Samori Toure
It has now been 20 years since the Packers have drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the draft. No that’s not an exaggeration, the last time the Packers drafted a wider receiver in the first round was in 2002 on Javon Walker. In fairness to the Packers, I don’t think they expected all of the top wide receivers in the draft to be gone before they even got a chance to pick. The Packers at least drafted Christian Watson in the second round, realizing that they need to get some sort of help at receiver. Which shows, because they took 2 more wide receivers in the fourth and seventh rounds (Romeo Doubs & Samori Toure respectively). The most likely outcome for these guys is one of them isn’t on the team by September, and the other ends up a fantasy dud.
Stay far away from the Packers’ receiving core this season. The Packers are floundering at the wide receiver position with Davante Adams gone. As of right now, the Packers’ top receiver is Allan Lazard. While he’s a solid enough receiver, when has anyone ever viewed Allan Lazard as an elite fantasy receiver? The Packers signed Sammy Watkins, but it’s been years since Sammy Watkins was a good fantasy receiver. Randall Cobb is over the hill, and Amari Rodgers didn’t exist last season. I feel that Christian Watson will have a good fantasy season in the second half of the season. The reason for this is, that it might take Christian Watson some time to earn Aaron Rodgers’ trust. We all know that if Aaron Rodgers doesn’t trust you, then don’t expect many passes coming your way.
Post-Draft Outlook: Minnesota Vikings
Offensive Skills Position Draft Picks: RB Ty Chandler, WR Jalen Nailor, TE Nick Muse
When it comes to the Vikings, there wasn’t actually too much that needed to be addressed on the offense. Their main pain point on the offensive side of the ball was that they needed an upgrade at guard. They sort of addressed that issue by drafting Ed Ingram in the second round. When it comes to their draft picks at the skills position, none of these guys should really do anything fantasy-wise. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as there are plenty of great fantasy players on this team.
Fantasy-wise, none of these skills positions players that were drafted are going to affect anything with the Vikings. I feel that Justin Jefferson is going to be one of if not the highest-scoring fantasy receivers this year. With Adam Thielen, he will always be one of Kirk Cousins’ favorite targets. Next are Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. You should still consider Dalvin Cook as one of the best backs in the league, even if he will turn 27 before the next season. However, there is a very real likelihood that Dalvin Cook will face a suspension this season. Alexander Mattison was always one of the best handcuffs to draft, and if Dalvin Cook gets suspended that just raises Alexander Mattison’s fantasy value even more. All in all when it comes to the Vikings don’t think too hard and just take the usual suspects.