The past two seasons, I have written an 8-part divisional series piece titled “Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer”.  As we approach the 2020 season, it’s time for the third annual installment of this series.

In these 8 articles, I utilized ADP to identify two guys I am buying, two I’m selling, and a flyer off each team. Buying and selling have nothing to do with my opinion of the player and everything to do with my perceived value of the player vs. ADP. As for the flyer, these are gut feels on players deeper down in ADP that you are likely selecting in the late rounds of your drafts and in some cases, guys you will find on your league’s waiver wires.

We continue the 2020 “Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer” Series with the NFC North.

4. Chicago Bears

Buy Sell Take the Flyer
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – DECEMBER 02: Tarik Cohen #29 of the Chicago Bears returns a punt during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on December 02, 2018 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) 2020 Buy Sell Take the Flyer – NFC North

Two Players I Am Buying

Tarik Cohen – Overall ADP 87 RB35

Regression hit Tarik Cohen in a big, bad way in 2019. His touches dropped by just under two a game, and his touchdowns regressed from eight down to three. In addition to the decrease in touches was the decrease in productivity. He dropped to 3.3 YPC, and far more importantly his receiving plummeted from 10.2 yards per reception to 5.8. The 10.2 in 2019 wasn’t going to be repeated, but the near 50% drop in productivity was certainly more than expected.

Cohen still projects to be a nice addition to the offense and is a nice back to target in PPR. Finding a RB that has been targeted 195 times in the past two seasons in the 7th round is great value. I expect the Bears offense to be more productive as a whole in 2020. Chicago was 25th in passing yards in 2019 compared to 21st in 2018, and 29th in points scored compared to 9th in 2018. Cohen likely will not give you the RB11 season he did in 2018, but I do expect him to better the RB27 a year ago and his ADP of RB35.

Anthony Miller – Overall ADP 135 WR50

Anthony Miller has a ton of talent and a great amount of work ethic. Will can defeat skill, and when combined good things tend to happen. The problem Miller encountered last season was that he was slowed by both injury and a Mitch Trubisky problem. In 2020, if he remains healthy, year three has all the makings of a breakout season.

In his rookie season, while playing through a shoulder injury the entire year, Miller finished as WR60 with 7 touchdowns. In 2019, he struggled the majority of the season and finished as WR56, but it was the finish to his season that has me this optimistic. From Weeks 12-16, Miller was WR17 and averaging 15.6 PPR points a game. With (hopefully) improved quarterback play from Nick Foles, Miller is a complete steal at his ADP of WR54. The upside of Anthony Miller in an improved Chicago offense is impossible to pass up.

Two Players I Am Selling

Allen Robinson – Overall ADP 29 WR9

In 2019, Allen Robinson was once again an elite WR. Robinson finished the year as WR8 with 254.9 PPR points. His 154 targets and his 98 receptions were both career highs. His 1,147 yards and 7 touchdowns were second only to his 1,400 yard 14 touchdown 2015 season. Robinson will still just be 27 years old when the season starts. The Nick Foles / Mitch Trubisky combo at QB is not ideal, but Robinson has proven throughout his career that bad QB play has little effect on his ability to produce.

Listing Robinson as a sell is not easy, as this is a WR that I love and want on all of my fantasy rosters. The only problem here is his ADP of 29. I recently updated my redraft rankings and I have Allen Robinson at 15, and I am by far the highest of the RotoHeat team. Robinson is a consensus WR24 in our redraft rankings, and for that reason alone I have to sell him at his WR9 value.

David Montgomery – Overall ADP 54 RB24

The opportunity for Montgomery was a little touch and go to start the season, but by Week 8 he was the go-to RB for the Bears. It didn’t really turn into consistent fantasy points as he finished outside of the top-30 in 11 games.

There is reason for optimism heading into 2020. The Bears didn’t bring in anyone to challenge Monty for his starting position. It certainly could be more of the same for him, but scooping up an RB that will touch the ball 250+ times in the middle rounds could be a win. He is a sell for me simply based on the fact that I see an improvement in the Bears passing attack and more Tarik Cohen than we did a year ago.

Take the Flyer

Nick Foles – Overall ADP 291 QB37

The main reason I feel the Bears are a better offense in 2020 than they were in 2019 is the addition of Quarterback Nick Foles. To be clear, I do not see Foles as a top performing QB, but when compared to the man his is likely to replace, Nick Foles is an upgrade on Mitchell Trubisky.

In 2013, Nick Foles had a great season. In 11 games he threw for 256 yards per game with 26 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. He finished that season as QB12 and was QB3 in points per game with 20.01. That season, Bill Lazor was the Eagles QB coach. Lazor is now the Offensive Coordinator in Chicago. Do I expect a top 12 season from Foles? No, not at all, but I certainly expect him to be better than QB37 in a 32 team league.

3. Detroit Lions

Buy Sell Take the Flyer
DETROIT, MI – DECEMBER 31: Detroit Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. (11) jones off the field during a NFL football game between Detroit and Green Bay on December 31, 2017, at Ford Field in Detroit, MI. (Photo by Adam Ruff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) 2020 Buy Sell Take the Flyer – NFC North

Two Players I Am Buying

Marvin Jones – Overall ADP 93 WR37

When you look up undervalued in the Fantasy Football dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Marvin Jones Jr. Playing in the shadow of Kenny Golladay, Jones continues to fly under the radar and maintain productivity each and every year.

If Matthew Stafford and Jones can stay healthy, Jones will be a high-value WR2 / WR3 type of player for your fantasy team. His current WR37 ADP value makes Jones a WR that I am buying with the utmost confidence.

Matthew Stafford – Overall ADP 107 QB13

Matthew Stafford entered 2019 going undrafted in the majority of 1QB leagues.  Prior to a season-ending back injury, Stafford was QB9 through 8 games and was on pace for the best statistical season of his career.  Through his first 8 games, Stafford was averaging 21.45 points per game in 4pt passing TD leagues (8th best).

A year ago, the Lions were a bad football team with a weak defense.  Entering 2020, nothing has really changed.  He is a solid value as the 13th ranked QB. With Kenny Golladay, Marvin Jones, and T.J. Hockenson available around the end zone, we can realistically pencil him in for a 30+ TD season, provided he remains healthy in 2020.

Two Players I Am Selling

D’Andre Swift – Overall ADP 61 RB26

Swift was widely regarded as the best, or at worst, 2nd best running back in the draft. Detroit selected him early in the 2nd round which is not an optimal landing spot for fantasy.

The Lions will likely use a true committee approach, limiting Swift’s upside and making it nearly impossible to project which games he will actually produce. He is a very good player with upside, but a lot of things will need to go his way to see that upside. At RB26 in a season that almost certainly starts slow for the rookie, he’s a rather easy sell.

T.J. Hockenson – Overall ADP 126 67 TE14

In 2019, T.J. Hockenson finished his rookie season as TE 31 with 87.1 fantasy points. He exploded in Week 1 against the Cardinals, though what we know now that we didn’t know then was the Arizona Cardinals were the “free space” on the bingo fantasy card for TEs in 2019.

He followed his impressive debut by averaging 18 yards a game in the next 6 weeks. It’s hard to depend on a rookie TE in fantasy, and in 2019, Hockenson was no different. That said, he battled injury in year one and played half the season without Matthew Stafford. Hock certainly has the ability to put up big fantasy numbers, but he likely needs another season or two before he’s ready for the top 12. I have Hockenson ranked 16th in my 2020 Redraft Tight End Rankings, and as a result I am selling here.

Take the Flyer

Kerryon Johnson – Overall ADP 100 RB41

It seems like Kerryon Johnson’s career is quickly moving from “this is the year” to “what could have been.” Kerryon was unable to stay on the field yet again and it was compounded by a massive decrease in efficiency.

The addition of D’Andre Swift in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL draft would seem to indicate that the Lions have seen enough of KJ as their top ball carrier. Then again, this is a football team that either can not or will not commit to a running back. It is very possible with a reduced workload that Johnson can stay healthy and contribute over the full season. In 14 career starts spread across the past two seasons, Johnson has averaged 11.27 PPR points a game. His ability to catch the ball out of the backfield alone makes him worth a flyer with the 100th pick of your draft.

2. Green Bay Packers

Buy Sell Take the Flyer
PITTSBURGH, PA – NOVEMBER 30: AJ Dillon #2 of the Boston College Eagles gets tackled by Damar Hamlin #3 of the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field on November 30, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) 2020 Buy Sell Take the Flyer – NFC North

Two Players I Am Buying

A.J. Dillon – Overall ADP 174 RB55

In a very confusing draft in 2020, the Green Bay Packers selected QB Jordan Love in Round 1 and RB A.J. Dillon in Round 2. On the surface there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to fantasy relevance for Dillon this year.

In Green Bay he is either part of a three player running back committee, or he steals Jamaal Williams’ role. In addition to that, I expect Dillon to eat into Aaron Jones’s workload especially around the goal line. The 6’0″ 247 lb Dillon makes more sense on short yardage plays than the 5’9″ 208 lb Jones or the 6’0″ 213 lb Williams. Goal line work alone makes Dillon worth a look at RB55.

Allen Lazard – Overall ADP 189 WR64

Someone has to be Arron Rodgers’ number two WR in 2020. It appears that it will either be Allen Lazard or Devin Funchess. It’s been awhile since the WR2 in the Packers offense has equated to big fantasy points.

In 2019, Allen Lazard was the surprising WR2 in the Packers offense. He turned in a season that amounted to 52 targets, 32 receptions for 477 yards and 3 touchdowns. Those numbers were good for a WR91 season. I fully expect Lazard to be more involved in the offense and I also expect the Packers to throw more than they did in 2019. Green Bay had a lot of things go their way last season and led more often than they likely should have. The Packers were 16th in pass attempts in 2019, the lowest they have ranked since 2015. Lazard is a value this late in your drafts.

Two Players I Am Selling

Aaron Jones – Overall ADP 16 RB11

This offseason I have been extremely vocal regarding the overvalue of Aaron Jones. Aaron Jones finished as the second highest scoring RB in 2019. Simply put, that won’t happen again in 2020. First off, Jones scored 19 times last season, and that will certainly not happen again. Secondly, the Packers selected A.J. Dillon in the second round of the NFL draft. Thirdly, there is the Devante Adams factor.

Adams missed 4 games last season, and in those 4 games Jones scored 117.1 of his 314.8 PPR points. Without Adams in the lineup, Jones averaged 29.28 points a game. With Adams, it fell to 16.48 a game. Having 22 receptions for 285 yards and 3 touchdowns without Adams is a nice chunk of his season total of 49 catches 474 yards and 3 scores. Lost in Jones’ breakout season were his 5 games with less than 9 fantasy points. Devante Adams was dressed for all of them. Drafting Jones at his current ADP of 16 and as the RB11 is a mistake. Let someone else make that mistake.

Aaron Rodgers – Overall ADP 94 QB11

For the 2nd year in a row, Aaron Rodgers led the NFL in INT % with just 0.7 percent of his attempts falling into the arms of opposing defenses, which was slightly worse than his 0.3 percent in 2018. Despite six top-12 performances, Rodgers barely got over 4,000 passing yards and threw for three or more passing TDs only three times on the year.

At this point in his career, Rodgers finds himself leading an offense that wants to run the football. I don’t believe that Aaron Rodgers has declined as a talent, but what appears to be evident is his opportunity to shine is capped by the pay calling. Head Coach Matt LaFleur is a Kyle Shannhan protege and LaFleur wants nothing more than to emulate his mentor. Given the opportunity, Aaron Rodgers can still turn it on when he needs to, but apart from Davante Adams, the receiving corps is uninspiring and the days of routinely topping 35 TDs seem to be over.

Take the Flyer

Equanimeous St. Brown – Overall ADP 488 WR145

As noted above, it is either Allen Lazard or Devin Funchess that was going to earn the title of WR2 in Green Bay. I am comfortable taking a flyer on ESB now that Funchess has left the building. Full disclosure my take the flyer for teh Packers was Devin Funchess.

Until Equanimeous St. Brown gets meaningful production in the Packers offense, Fantasy managers likely shouldn’t bother adding him to rosters, but hey this is called taking a flyer for a reason. ESB missed all of 2019 due to injury and I felt that opened the door for Marquise Valdez-Scantling a season ago. MVS did nothing with that opportunity. In 2018 ESB finished as WR114 with 54.3 PPR points. This is likely not a league winner but when looking as this offense starved for pass catching talent ESB is intriguing.

1. Minnesota Vikings

Buy Sell Take the Flyer
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – JANUARY 13: Justin Jefferson #2 of the LSU Tigers runs with the ball after a 56-yard pass from Joe Burrow during the second quarter of the College Football Playoff National Championship game against the Clemson Tigers at the Mercedes Benz Superdome on January 13, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The LSU Tigers topped the Clemson Tigers, 42-25. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) 2020 Buy Sell Take the Flyer – NFC North

Two Players I Am Buying

Justin Jefferson – Overall ADP 118 WR45

Justin Jefferson was selected by the Vikings at Pick 22 in this year’s draft. He played primarily in the slot at LSU and was dominant there. While all rookies can start slow as they adjust to the NFL, it’s already likely Jefferson will start alongside Adam Thielen after Stefon Diggs was traded to Buffalo.

The reality is that Minnesota will remain a run-heavy Vikings offense. In 2019, even with Adam Thielen missing six games, Diggs only saw 94 targets. To expect a rookie WR in this crazy offseason to simply step into 100 targets and fantasy relevance is likely unwise. That said Jefferson shows me a lot of Jarvis Landry in his game and he will make things happen with the football in his hands. I am not looking for a top-24 season from the rookie, but a top-36 season is well within reach.

Alexander Mattison – Overall ADP 120 RB46

Alexander Mattison is widely perceived as a solid backup for the Vikings and a solid handcuff for Dalvin Cook. While I do not disagree, I also see Mattison with stand alone value.

Over the past three seasons it has taken on average 103.46 PPR points to land as the RB46, or 6.46 points per game. In his rookie season Mattison posted 68.4 PPR points (5.3/game) in 13 games. Unfortunately, the games he missed with injury coincided with the games that Dalvin Cook missed as well. I am banking on Mattison contributing enough in this offense regardless of Cook’s involvement. He is worth the pick at 120 overall especially if you own Dalvin Cook. If you draft Mattison and don’t own Cook, I suggest you offer him up. I’m guessing the return will blow RB46 ADP out of the water.

Two Players I Am Selling

Dalvin Cook – Overall ADP 6 RB5

Speak of the devil. As a card carrying member of Vikings nation there are fewer players in the game today that I like more than Dalvin Cook. That said, value is value. Dalvin Cook is an incredibly talented RB, he is also incredibly risky.

I have never been one to shy away from a player due to injury concerns, but I certainly can’t blame anyone who would with their first round selection. According to Sports Injury Predictor, Dalvin Cook has a 56.8% chance of being injured in the 2020 season. That, my friends, is too rich for my blood, and I will be looking elsewhere when I am on the clock with the 1.06.

Adam Thielen – Overall ADP 32 WR12

After back to back seasons with 90+ receptions and over 1,275 yards, 2019 was an injury plagued season for Thielen. Prior to his injury in Week 6 a year ago, Thielen sat at WR12. From Weeks 7-17, he fell to WR135, ultimately landing at WR64 at seasons end.

Age is slowly becoming a factor as Thielen turns 30 this year. One positive is he didn’t enter the NFL until he was 24. After dealing away Stefon Diggs to Buffalo, the Vikings selected WR Justin Jefferson in the 1st Round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Even with the addition of Jefferson, Thielen is the clear favorite to lead the team in targets even if it is a run heavy offense. In 2017 and 2018 Thielen averaged 148 targets. I don’t see a scenario where Thielen is targeted enough to reach the top-12 this year. Spending the 32nd overall pick in the draft is a slight reach and therefore I am selling.

Take the Flyer

Irv Smith Jr. – Overall ADP 212 TE22

Irv isn’t really on the fantasy radar, but he’s a name to watch. When Thielen missed time, Smith had a 5-game span where he was averaging five targets a game. If Justin Jefferson struggles in year one, Minnesota doesn’t have a 2nd WR and as a result, Irv Smith Jr. will see some opportunities.

Smith didn’t play more than 50 percent of the offensive snaps in his first four games as a rookie. He didn’t see 60 percent of the snaps until Week 8, but then from Week 8 through Week 16, he played anywhere from 61 percent to 85 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps. In Week 9 he had four receptions on six targets and in Week 10 he had five receptions on six targets. In Week 11, Smith scored his first NFL touchdown and scored again in Week 15. Given the opportunity, Smith is worth taking the flyer.

Thank you for listening to Buy, Sell, Take the Flyer – NFC North

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