In our Fantasy Draft Grades Series, we review each of the leagues 8 divisions.  The Fantasy Draft Grades Series reviews and grades each organization’s draft selections from a fantasy perspective.  Engage with 1,400+ passionate dynasty players and let the RotoHeat content team know what topics YOU want to hear about by visiting our RotoHeat Facebook page.

In this installment of this 8-part series we review the Fantasy Draft Grades in the NFC North.

1. Detroit Lions

PASADENA, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 01: Quintez Cephus #87 of the Wisconsin Badgers catches a pass against the Oregon Ducks during the third quarter in the Rose Bowl game presented by Northwestern Mutual at Rose Bowl on January 01, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
  • CB Jeffrey Okudah, Ohio State (3rd)
  • RB D’Andre Swift, Georgia (35th)
  • EDGE Julian Okwara, Notre Dame (67th)
  • G Jonah Jackson, Ohio State (75th)
  • G Logan Stenberg, Kentucky (121st)
  • WR Quintez Cephus, Wisconsin (166th)
  • RB Jason Huntley, New Mexico State (172nd)
  • DT John Penisini, Utah (197th)
  • DT Jashon Cornell, Ohio State (235th)

Truth be told, I am the Lions fan on the RotoHeat staff, so I will be as gentle as I can with our fellow Lions faithful. This draft is very much a Bob Quinn special–drafting nasty blockers with attitude and focusing on the rushing attack (like he has with every draft in his tenure with the Lions).

From the offensive side of this fantasy class, D’Andre Swift will be a top 10 rookie pick no matter the format you play. The problem you’ll run into is the fact that Detroit is playing the run game like the Patriots, which means week-to-week you will not know who the top option will be. From a fantasy perspective, I’d recommend looking elsewhere and moving on from your Kerryon shares if you can get fair market value (early 2nd at this point).

The late round picks in Quintez Cephus and Jason Huntley have different outlooks for fantasy purposes. Cephus profiles as an Anquan Boldin-lite–not a burner but a good, physical route runner that could be a solid stash. After this season, the Lions have very few wide receiver options currently on the roster, so Cephus in the 4th round is the epitome of a taxi squad pick. Huntley, on the other hand, is not draftable as the teams #5 RB at best and practice squad player at worst.

From the IDP side, Okudah is a nice piece if you are in a league that starts the corner position, and Julian Okwara, if properly developed, will be a nice edge rusher and could be a nice stash option for your taxi squad. Other than those two, none of the other defensive players on this roster are draftable, as they really leave little to be excited about in fantasy purposes.

Overall Fantasy Draft Grade: C+

2. Chicago Bears

SOUTH BEND, IN – NOVEMBER 23: Notre Dame Fighting Irish tight end Cole Kmet (84) battles with Boston College Eagles defensive end Marcus Valdez (97) in game action during a game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Boston College Eagles on November 23, 2019, at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
  • TE Cole Kmet, Notre Dame (43rd)
  •  CB Jaylon Johnson, Utah (50th)
  •  EDGE Trevis Gipson, Tulsa (155th)
  •  WR Darnell Mooney, Tulane (173rd)
  •  OT Arlington Hambright, Colorado (226th)
  •  OG Lachavious Simmons, Tennessee State (227th)

The Bears didn’t come into the weekend with a ton of draft capital, after trading multiple early picks in this draft and the next for Kahlil Mack, so there’s that. Kmet is my favorite tight end in this class, and should be able to overtake the rest of that depth chart for early playing time this year. The biggest question is can the Bears utilize a tight end, and give us good fantasy value. In rookie drafts, Kmet will be a mid to late 2nd rounder in most fantasy formats. Darnell Mooney could develop into a nice complimentary piece in that offense, but will be a taxi squad stash and not much more at this point.

From an IDP perspective, both players are draftable in rookie drafts, but will not be guys you can rely on as much more than stash options. With some key losses at cornerback, the Bears made a great move in getting Jaylon Johnson from Utah, but he will need time to develop. Gipson is a developmental edge rusher, but at 6’4″ and 259 lbs. he is someone to keep an eye on, especially as they look to beef up that defensive line.

Overall Fantasy Draft Grade: D

3. Minnesota Vikings

Fantasy Draft Grades - NFC North
GLENDALE, ARIZONA – JANUARY 01: Wide receiver Justin Jefferson #2 of the LSU Tigers catches a 22-yard touchdown over defensive back Nevelle Clarke #14 of the UCF Knights during the first quarter of the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl between LSU and Central Florida at State Farm Stadium on January 01, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
  • WR Justin Jefferson, LSU (22nd)
  • CB Jeff Gladney, TCU (31st)
  • OT Ezra Cleveland, Boise State (58th)
  • CB Cameron Dantzler, Mississippi State (89th)
  • EDGE D.J. Wonnum, South Carolina (117th)
  • Edge James Lynch, Baylor (130th)
  • LB Troy Dye, Oregon (132nd)
  • CB Harrison Hand, Temple (169th)
  • WR KJ Osborn, Miami (176th)
  • T Blake Brandel, Oregon State (203rd)
  • S Josh Metellus, Michigan (205th)
  • EDGE Kenny Willekes, Michigan State (225th)
  • QB Nate Stanley, Iowa (244th)
  • S Brian Cole II, Mississippi State (249th)
  • OG Kyle Hinton, Washburn (253rd)

The Vikings had a ton of draft capital as well as a ton of needs on draft weekend. They spent most of the draft focusing on defense and offensive line help, and came out of the draft with a solid haul. From an offensive fantasy perspective, Justin Jefferson is a near perfect fit for replacing the recently traded Stefon Diggs. In your rookie drafts, I’d expect Jefferson to be a first round pick at this point and should be expected to get plenty of action from the start of his career. Both KJ Osborn and Nate Stanley are developmental pieces, possibly 4th or 5th round taxi squad options, depending on your league size.

From and IDP perspective, Gladney and Dantzler both look to get starter opportunities in time with the departure of Xavier Rhodes and the age of their defense. There are some IDP options that could be nice pieces long term for your fantasy rosters. Troy Dye has the profile of a player that can develop into a nice starter for the Vikings, and keep an eye on who becomes the starting safety next to Harrison Smith. That option could be any of the three between Harrison Hand, Matellus and Cole.

Overall Fantasy Draft Grade: B+

4. Green Bay Packers

Fantasy Draft Grades - NFC North
PROVO, UT- OCTOBER 5 : Jordan Love #10 of the Utah State Aggies looks to pass the ball against the BYU Cougars during their game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on October 5, 2018 in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
  • QB Jordan Love, Utah State (26th)
  • RB AJ Dillon, Boston College (62nd)
  • TE Josiah Deguara, Cincinnati (94th)
  • LB Kamal Martin, Minnesota (175th)
  • OT Jon Runyan, Michigan (192nd)
  • OG Jake Hanson, Oregon (106th)
  • OG Simon Stepaniak, Indiana (209th)
  • DB Vernon Scott, TCU (236th)
  • EDGE Jonathan Garvin, Miami (242nd)

The Packers arguably had the strangest draft, and will take a few years before we can really look back and see what the front office and coaching staff was actually trying to accomplish here. Drafting a fullback and a #3 running back make little sense when they had other needs to address if they were hoping to make a deep playoff run again in 2020.

Jordan Love is the perfect new-age quarterback with a great athletic profile and tons of upside. The question with Love will be when he gets his opportunity, with Rodgers still on the roster for possibly the next 3 years. Either way, in Superflex, Love is a late first, early second round pick this year, and someone you’ll stash until he gets a chance to play.

I like AJ Dillons talent, as I think he profiles similar to Derrick Henry in LaFluer’s offense, but is a better receiver. The problem I have is the two running backs ahead of him are elite and pretty good which doesn’t bode well for Dillon’s fantasy potential. Josiah Deguara, though he was a tight end in college, looks to be more of a fullback in the Packers offense, and at best the long term backup to Jace Sternberger who was taken on day two last year. If you’re looking to draft these two, Dillon’s a late 2nd or early 3rd at best, and Deguara is a 5th rounder, maybe.

From the IDP side, Garvin is an intriguing late round sleeper to stash, as he has a ton of potential, but will take time to develop, and learning from the Smiths in Green Bay could be a huge help. Otherwise, the rest of the options are undraftable, and if they do start to develop, you can grab them off the waiver wire.

Overall Fantasy Draft Grade: D

Thank you for reading Fantasy Draft Grades – NFC North. Be sure to subscribe to RotoHeat so you don’t miss the remainder of the Fantasy Draft Grades Series. Follow me on Twitter @RotoHeatBrad, and subscribe to the Sully’s 2 Cents Podcast for more of my fantasy football content.

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