06 Aug NFC North: Wins Total Futures
The football season is less than two months away. This means fantasy drafts are starting, and it is time to make some money!
This series will look at each division to see what teams we should, and should not bet, on based on the Las Vegas numbers for Over/Under Futures. You will also notice there is not a ton of talk about numbers from last season. This is for good reason. Not only was last season an anomaly, but we also turn the page on a new chapter of NFL football in 2021. One which sees us with a 17-game schedule. We will be using the numbers from FanDuel Sportsbook for this exercise, and as we know, these numbers can change depending on what happens before the season.
Last Season NFC North O/U Futures Record: 3-0-1
NFC North: Wins Total Futures
Green Bay Packers | Over/Under 10 Wins
This is easily my favorite play of the year. Had Aaron Rodgers retired or been traded, neither of which was ever going to happen, this is a six-win team. Now that he is officially back, this is by far the best team in the NFC North, who will have no trouble getting to 10 wins.
Aaron Jones will have a breakout season. A.J. Dillon may take some rushes from him, but he is not a pass catcher, meaning this work will fully go to Jones in the backfield. His stock rises greatly, and he is a player I am yearning for in fantasy drafts.
Davante Adams is a top three wide receiver in the NFL. With Rodgers, he is more than likely going to finish as the WR1 for fantasy. If Robert Tonyan is able to improve his reception numbers to more match his touchdown numbers from 2020, this offense will once again be stellar. And let us not forget the return of Randall Cobb.
On defense, the Packers have Preston Smith still putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. In the secondary, Jaire Alexander has quickly become one of the best in the NFL at the cornerback position. With these two stirring the drink, the rest of the defense just has to remain healthy and solid for the Packers to demolish this division.
Green Bay has been 13-3 for each of the past two seasons. With an extra game, and Rodgers once again looking to prove his worth, they will do it again. I love the Over here.
Minnesota Vikings | Over/Under 8.5 Wins
The only real loss on this team was Kyle Rudolph to the New York Giants. When he is your most pressing departure, things are good. Minnesota is on a roller coaster under Mike Zimmer. They have never missed or made the playoffs in two consecutive years under him. They missed the playoffs last season making it fairly obvious they will make it this year. Although this is certainly not scientific, they do have a lot coming back and in a division with Chicago and Detroit, could make it as the seventh seed in the expanded format.
Kirk Cousins is milk toast. Sometimes though, this is all you need. He is not going to excite you with massive throws, but he has elite accuracy and is able to find both Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen when the time calls for it. In 2020, this allowed Jefferson to break the rookie receiving yardage record, and saw Cousins throw for 35 touchdowns.
Dalvin Cook also had a breakout season in which he averaged 111 rush yards per game in this offense. With the drafting of Christian Darrisaw in April, Minnesota has improved their offensive line and provided more protection for Cousins and the run game as the Vikings look to keep Cook healthy for a second straight year. Although Christian McCaffrey did not play last season, it does not diminish the RB1 finish for Cook in fantasy. He is an elite talent and will be again this season in this run heavy offense.
The defense, a weakness last season, looks to also get better in an off season with full practices and minicamps.
The only thing holding Minnesota back from winning this division is Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. They are still the better team with a far better quarterback. Minnesota is the number two team in this division, and this means that taking them to go over 8.5 wins is also a safe wager. I like the Over.
Chicago Bears | Over/Under 7.5 Wins
This is a key season for the Chicago Bears. They were able to pull off a trade with the Giants to get Justin Fields out of Ohio State, hoping this solves their decades long quarterback situation. Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace are also clearly on the hot seat. This looks like a situation in which the brass drafted in hopes they could salvage their jobs for another year if things start off badly.
The team has said Andy Dalton is the Week 1 starter. This in itself shows they do not want to show all their cards right out of the gate. With a stud like Allen Robinson at the wide receiver position and David Montgomery at running back, they have some nice parts to their offense. They key will be whether Dalton or Fields can get the most out of them.
This team does not have a whole lot of parts to be excited for – at least for the 2021 season. The offense will be middle of the pack and the 8-8 record from last season looks like it could be the ceiling again. Saying this, the team needs to hope Khalil Mack re-emerges as a game wrecker for the defense. If he can, the Bears may surprise some teams. But it will likely not be enough to get to eight wins again. Give me the Under.
Detroit Lions | Over/Under 5 Wins
They are not saying it, but the Lions are tanking the 2021 season. Trading Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff and a load of draft picks was the correct move. Both for Stafford and the Lions. The added draft ammunition will be needed as this team, once again, heads into a long rebuilding process. We will have to wait and see if Dan Campbell is the correct coach for the task. He has the attitude, and for this season, that will be key.
The defense is lacking a bit. Jeffrey Okudah, the third pick in the 2020 NFL draft, had an injury laden first season in the league. While a shut down corner in college, he was far from it last year. If Detroit wants to get better on defense, it will start with the player who was brought in to replace Darrius Slay after he was traded to Philadelphia. Call me skeptical, but I do not see it this year for Detroit.
Lions’ fans are some of the heartiest fans in football. With all the bad luck and bad management they endure, they have to be. So, it will not be shocking to them to hear me say take the Under here. In fact, they probably are doing the same thing themselves.
Dominick is a lifelong resident of the Philadelphia area. Playing fantasy football for more than 20 years and writing for more than five, he has a vast knowledge of both the NFL and fantasy football. Despite his being blind, Dominick is a consistent ranker amongst FantasyPros experts, and always strives to be better than last season. Follow him on Twitter @EnvisionFF and read his weekly Best Bets articles during the season.