The wait is almost over. The Rams and Bills kick things off tonight. It’s last call for regular season best ball and I am here to break down my 8th and final division, the NFC North. Thank you to everyone who has been reading along.
If you’ve missed any of the previous Summer Stock Reports, you can click here to catch up.
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Green Bay Packers
Two time reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers spent the offseason finding enlightenment, getting a tattoo, and losing his top wide receiver. How Davante Adam’s massive target share will be redistributed in the Packer offense is the million dollar question. Rodgers and the fantasy draft market have singled out Allen Lazard to be the top target. While this is the most likely scenario, we have no real proof that Lazard can operate as a team’s WR1.
He was an undrafted free agent who ultimately signed with the Packers in 2018. The 40 receptions for 513 yards that he posted last season represent career highs. Lazard is currently battling a foot injury and it is uncertain if he will even be able to suit up for week one. With an ADP of 73.4, he is going a head of DeVonta Smith, Drake London, and Kadarius Toney. I would not take him over any of these players if drafting today.
Christian Watson shined at the Senior Bowl and combine resulting in the Packers selecting him in the early 2nd round. He has battled a knee injury most of camp, missing crucial reps needed to gain Rodgers’ trust. As a result his ADP has plummeted to 159.9. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 4th round draft pick Romeo Doubs has had a excellent camp. He went from being a somewhat popular last round dart, to a potentially over steamed 10th or 11th round pick with an ADP of 121.3.
It there wasn’t already enough to consider when trying sort the Packer WR depth chart, dusty veterans Sammy Watkins and Randall Cobb will likely be week one starters.
I didn’t get enough Doubs when he was free and I am not going to end up overweight any GB receivers. I am focused on the running backs, and I believe the Packer offense will be too.
ESPN’s Field Yates shared some interesting numbers on Jones. In his last 7 games without Adams, Aaron Jones had 36 catches, including 4 receiving TDs, and averaged 25.7 fantasy points per game. Jones is a value at his mid 2nd round ADP of 18.5. AJ Dillion has seen his draft price rise, but is still a good fit in certain builds with a 5th round ADP of 53.9. The Packers know that their running backs are their two best (non-Rodgers) skill players. I expect they will utilize more formations where they are both on the field at the same time.
It is hard to understand the Bears’ plan for roster building around Justin Fields. They saddled him with one of arguably the least talented receiving core in the league. His offensive line is considered one the worst in most preseason rankings. Despite these impediments, Fields has look impressive in his second year preseason. New offensive coordinator Luke Getsy seems determined to take advantage of Fields’ prolific running ability. Matt Nagy failed to do so in his rookie year. With an ADP of 127.6 Fields is the cheapest of the so called Konami Code QBs.
Fields has often been a fallback option for me in drafts where I on miss on the elite quarterbacks. Because the Bears’ target distribution should predictable and condensed, it makes Fields easy to stack. Mooney is as clear of a number one receiver on his team as in the league. With an early 6th round ADP of 61.8 he is not particularly expensive. The other clear stacking partner is TE Cole Kmet. Still only 23-years-old, he has shown increasing chemistry with Fields in the preseason. I am willing to bet on a 3rd year breakout for the Cole Kmet with a 1oth round ADP of 114.0.
The rest of the receiving group consists of 25-year-old rookie Velus Jones, Equanimeous (older brother of Amon-Ra) St. Brown, Byron Pringle, and Dante Pettis. I certainly have no strong feeling as to which, if any of these guys might become relevant. If you wanted to take a last round flier on any of them as the second piece of a Fields stack, I wouldn’t call you crazy, but I think it’s probably thin.
David Montgomery has long been a favorite of the Geek, mainly due to his predictable volume. Monte’s 75% snap share was tied with Alvin Kamara for 2nd in the league last year, trailing on Najee Harris. There has been a fair amount of speculation that Khalil Herbert could significantly cut into that snap share this season. These rumors, along with the aforementioned offensive line concerns have caused Montgomery’s ADP to slip in the 6th round with an ADP of 66.0. I’ve seen him fall into the 7th and when he does, I am willing to grab him and stop the slide. I do have much more exposure to Herbert, though, whose ADP is a very fair 153.3.
I’m big in on the Lions this year and I haven’t even watched Hard Knocks. It all starts with their offensive line. Ross Tucker (former NFL lineman and current broadcaster) ranked them as the 3rd best unit in the league. D’Andre Swift does everything on a football field that you want to see out of a fantasy running back. He is an explosive, big play threat who excels in the passing game. He is game script independent, on the field whether Detroit is leading or trailing. He was trending towards a top five PPR season in 2021 before missing a few games with injury. Swift appears to have added some good weight to his frame in the offseason. This should help him shoulder a bigger workload and stay healthy. With an ADP of 16.4, he has as much upside as anyone going in the 2nd round. If you are someone who likes to handcuff RBs (that is a debate for another time) Jamaal Williams (ADP 157.7) is a clear and affordable backup.
Amon-Ra St. Brown was a major value going in the 6th round, early in the draft season. Many drafters were concerned that much of his production game with Swift and Hockenson out. We worried that he would now also have to contend with DJ Chark and 12th overall pick Jameson Williams for targets.
With a strong camp and the news that Williams will miss at least the first 4 games and likely more, the Sun God has seen his ADP (48.4) rise. Amon-Ra now goes at the 4/5 turn and I think it is justifiable. As a 4th round draft pick he earned the targets last year. He continued to produce even when it was clear he was the only option and there was no one else to draw away coverage. St. Brown’s ability to win underneath, in the middle of the field is a perfect match for what Goff wants to do.
Speaking of Goff (ADP 174.4), I like him as a cheap QB 2 or 3 stacked with the above mentioned studs. DJ Chark (ADP 142.9) and Jameson Williams (ADP 167.4) are affordable secondary pieces to add onto the stacks. I am only taking Williams in builds where I am deep at WR and know I can survive the time he is going to miss.
The fantasy community is high on the 2022 Vikings with former Rams OC Kevin O’Connell replacing old school defensive minded Mike Zimmer as head coach. The market is rightfully highest on Justin Jefferson. The LSU product has more yards than any wide receiver in the history of the NFL over his first two seasons. The has been much talk of him playing the “Cooper Kupp role” in the new Viking offense. Fittingly the only real decision to be made regarding Jefferson is whether or not to take him or Kupp, when drafting from the 3 position. I mainly went Kupp early, but switched over to Jefferson late as concerns grew about Matt Stafford’s elbow.
The only way you could really get overweight Jefferson in best ball would be if you took him every time you had a top 3 pick. This would involve completely fading Taylor and McCaffrey. It is an interesting strategy, because I don’t think many people were doing it, but it is not one that I was bold enough to employ.
Dalvin Cook is one of the best players that I am significantly underweight on and it is a bit scary. I really liked the 2nd round RBs (Saquon, Swift, Aaron Jones, and Javonte), so I only really took an RB in the first when it was JT or CMC. You have to take stands in best ball. I don’t think you are likely to take down a big tournament with 10% of everyone. I chose to mainly fade a 27-year-old running back with a chronic shoulder injury, who has never played more the 14 games in a season, and goes in the first round. He is definitely talented enough to prove me wrong. I am just going to have to cross my fingers and hope Dalvin isn’t the guy you need in 2022.
It has truly been fun writing up these Summer Stock Reports. I am especially thankful to anyone who read all 8 of them. It is time to shift the focus from best ball to DFS. We’ve got a great Showdown video up for tonight’s game. You are not going to want to start the season with the Domination Station optimizer, so take advantage of our best offer of the year on VIP Access!