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The Contingency Plan: NFC North

The Contingency Plan is a series I came up with after listening to the Numbers Game Podcast with Kevin Cole and Matthew Freedman. If this is your first time checking it out, you should read the maiden voyage piece to get yourself acquainted with exactly what it is I am trying to do. Today, I’ll look at the NFC North.

Green Bay Packers

The Scenario

It turns out the May clean-up procedure Jordy Nelson had for his hip was for an arthritic condition, as our own Dr. Jeffrey E. Budoff suggested could be the case. The hip becomes inflamed, and Nelson is forced to miss some time.

Who Benefits?

With Nelson out, Davante Adams is able to take on a larger role in the offense.

How to Play It

As I’ve pointed out in the past, Adams has a terrific chance to return WR2 value anytime one of the starting Packer WRs are out. I will be looking to invest heavily in Adams this summer at his current ninth round ADP.

Detroit Lions

The Scenario

After an off-season limited by recovery from Achilles and knee surgeries, Joique Bell is even worse than the plodding, 3.9 yards per carry runner that he’s been the last two seasons. As a result, his snaps are severely limited. Or, you know, those issues flare up again and he can’t stay on the field.

Who Benefits?

The immediate answer for everyone is Ameer Abdullah, who would surely receive an increase in rushing attempts should Bell falter. I also think this would open up more opportunities for Theo Riddick, as Bell caught 34 passes last season.

How to Play It

I find it rather interesting that Abdullah’s potential league-winning upside paired with the concerns about Bell has driven his price up to the fifth round (and climbing), but Riddick’s ADP has done nothing but decline. I like Abdullah, but that price is now too high for me to pay in most drafts. Meanwhile, Riddick was an RB1 last season when Reggie Bush was out, and should have many more receiving opportunities with Bell out of the picture. Darren Sproles and Pierre Thomas had an average finish of RB14 and RB23 respectively while together in New Orleans, (where OC Joe Lombardi last coached) and it would not surprise me to see some facsimile of that in Detroit this season.

Minnesota Vikings

The Scenario

Norv Turner is able to re-create precisely what he had in San Diego with Minnesota in 2015.

Who Benefits?

In short, everyone. Adrian Peterson has one more great season a la LaDainian TomlinsonCharles Johnson and Mike Wallace perfectly fill the deep threat roles of Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd respectively. Kyle Rudolph is 65 percent of Antonio Gates.1 Young, accurate QB Teddy Bridgewater is able to mirror a young, accurate Philip Rivers.

How to Play It

Peterson is already going as the number two player off the board, so there isn’t much value to be gained there. I feel the same way about Wallace’s WR32 ADP and Rudolph’s TE14 ADP. However, Johnson and Bridgewater could end up values this season.

VJax was a perennial WR1/WR2 type of player under Norv, and Johnson is currently going as WR33. You could argue that is his floor in this offense, and he’s one of Shawn Siegele’s breakout WRs you must own this year. Rivers was consistently a QB1 for Norv, and has had a couple of top five seasons also. QB is deep enough where I probably won’t have major exposure to any one player, but it’s a reminder to make sure you mix in some shares of Bridgewater.

Chicago Bears

The Scenario

Alshon Jeffery’s nagging hamstring injury from 2014 comes back to bite him again this season. Meanwhile, Kevin White’s shin has landed him on the PUP list, and he is unable to contribute with Jeffery out.

Who Benefits?

Eddie Royal would be locked in as a full time player for the Bears, but so would Phenom Index sensation Marquess Wilson.

How to Play It

If you aren’t already on the Royal train, this is your last shot before it leaves the station. Seriously, this is a player who was one of only four players ever to record 90 receptions in his rookie season,2 has chemistry with QB Jay Cutler, is already pegged for a decent role in the offense, and has the potential to be a number one target again for a WR63 price. Oh, and if you squint just right, he looks a lot like former WR1 for John Fox, Steve Smith.

Royal Smith

And while you’re chewing on that, you should probably keep tabs on Wilson’s life on the waiver wire. If everything breaks right, he could finally be ticketed for a role that would allow a third year breakout.

  1. Sorry Kyle, even in your dreams you’re probably only 80 percent of Gates.  (back)
  2. The other three were Odell Beckham, Anquan Boldin, and Terry Glenn.  (back)

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