NFL free agency fallout: Early impressions for fantasy

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Kirk Cousins, Vikings
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ – DECEMBER 31: Kirk Cousins #8 of the Washington Redskins throws a pass during the first half of their game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 31, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images) /

NFC North

Chicago Bears – Whew, the Bears did some heavy lifting these past few days. There’s a feeling they will be the 2018 version of the Rams. That might be a little aggressive. It would be a shock to see Chicago lead the NFL in scoring. However, the additions of receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel along with tight end Trey Burton are going to swing their outlook massively. New head coach Matt Nagy is an upgrade over fossil John Fox and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has some toys to play with. Running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen both bump up and A-Rob is a solid WR2 with upside. Burton could sneak into the top 10 at tight end and even Gabriel could be a daily option. The Bears offense got a LOT better for fantasy players these past 48 hours.

Detroit Lions – Fortunately, the Lions still have plenty of options to choose from to fill their biggest offensive need and that’s the running back position. Players Like Carlos Hyde, Jerk McKinnon, Rex Burkhead and DeMarco Murray all still lurk. Any of those could be at least an RB2 in the Detroit offense. They did add some pieces to the defense but that’s a wait and see approach for fantasy.

Green Bay Packers – There’s plenty of folks getting pumped for the Aaron Rodgers-Jimmy Graham connection and it’s understandable. Graham might not be the player he once was but he can still be lethal within the 20-yard line. Green Bay said goodbye to receiver Jordy Nelson which opens up looks. Davante Adams is a top-10 WR at this point as the other options past Graham aren’t that appealing. The Packers could still use some speed on the outside to open this offense a bit more. Unless a favorite emerges from the corps of running backs, none of Aaron Jones, Ty Montgomery or Jamaal Williams is going to be that consistently useful. Rodgers remains a top-two quarterback option. The defense needs to do more than Muhammad Wilkerson to be on the fantasy radar.

Minnesota Vikings – The consensus prize of the free agent market landed with the Vikings as quarterback Kirk Cousins inherits quite the offense. He should be comfortably within the top eight at quarterback. Receivers Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are both going to be top-15 options with the improvement they just got at quarterback. If second-year running back Dalvin Cook can get right from a torn ACL and tight end Kyle Rudolph can be a red-zone threat, this offense is incredibly dangerous for fantasy football. The offensive line is good enough to make everything work.