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NFC North Preview for 2024 Fantasy Football

After spending most of June writing about dozens of players from every division across the league, it’s finally time to wrap things up with the NFC North. I started things off with the AFC West discussing the defending Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. I’m ending things with a division that I think should have at least one legit Super Bowl contender from the NFC. This could be one of the most competitive divisions in football with plenty of fantasy firepower to choose from, some that may surprise you.

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Previewing the NFC North for 2024 Fantasy Football

Chicago Bears


I’m of the opinion that Caleb Williams will be a QB1 in fantasy football at the season’s end. It’s been said before, and I’ll say it again, that Williams is stepping into one of the best situations ever for a rookie quarterback. D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen are two very established veteran receivers, Rome Odunze was taken ninth overall after Williams went first, D’Andre Swift is a capable pass-catching running back, and Cole Kmet has three-straight seasons of 500+ receiving yards as a tight end. Those are just the highlights of Williams’ weapons.

Let’s talk about Caleb Williams himself. He threw 93 touchdowns to just 14 interceptions in three seasons of starter experience at the college level. That includes 72 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions over the last two seasons at USC, tossing 42 touchdowns and 4,537 passing yards in 2022 on his way to a Heisman Trophy win.

If you watch even just a limited amount of Williams’ film, you will see the ability to escape pressure, make something out of nothing when plays break down, and a player who makes everyone around him better. In his rookie season, Williams will have a far better supporting cast on the Chicago Bears than he ever did at the college level. I cannot emphasize that enough. So, while the above traits apply, Williams should take an immediate huge step forward as the offensive weapons in place make him better.

The cherry on top of this all is Caleb Williams’ own rushing upside. In two seasons at USC, Williams logged rushing lines of 113/382/10 and 97/142/11 respectively. That’s 210 rush attempts in 26 games, or, 8.07 rush attempts per game. This would rank fifth amongst all NFL quarterbacks in both 2022 and 2023. With this final piece of the puzzle to an expected elite rookie season, I think Caleb Williams is worth snagging toward the back end of 1QB fantasy drafts and prioritizing in Superflex leagues for the 2024 season.

Running Back

D’Andre Swift is coming off of a career year with the Eagles of 268 touches, and 1,263 all-purpose yards, though just six total touchdowns. Most importantly, Swift held up for 16 games after an average of just 13.3 games played per season over his first three. Unfortunately, he now heads to a Chicago Bears team with a worse offensive line, though the threat of a Jalen Hurts “tush push” near the goal line doesn’t exist as much. The Bears offense isn’t one to shy away from, like in years past, making Swift one of the sneakier values for the 2024 fantasy football season at the running back position. A more dependable option in the run game opens up more opportunities in the passing game. That’s what the Bears have in Swift.

Handing out a three-year, $24 million contract to Swift in free agency is a bit damning to the running backs already on the roster. Khalil Herbert is the most likely to share any sort of workload with Swift or take over if he were to miss time. Herbert has no more than 152 touches in a single season, but an impressive 4.9 yards per carry average on 364 total attempts. This is the final year of his deal so he could end up elsewhere if the price is right for the Bears.

Roschon Johnson is the Bears’ 2023 third-round pick. He is a solid pass blocker but only logged 115 touches in 15 games as a rookie. It’s hard to imagine him carving out a fantasy-relevant role in 2024 with the backfield as is. The same goes for Travis Homer who has receiving upside, but no clear path to 2024 fantasy rosters with plenty of capable wide receivers, tight ends, and even running backs drawing more meaningful targets.

Wide Receiver

After a career year in 2023, D.J. Moore now has serious competition for targets in 2024. After trading for Moore last off-season, he posted a 96/1,364/8 receiving line which is a career-best across the board. It’s the first time of his career, complete with three other seasons of 1,100 or more receiving yards, that Moore finished as a WR1 in fantasy football. His 17.3 points per game in his first season with the Bears lands him as the WR8 of the 2023 season.

Now, Moore will notably compete with Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze for targets at the wide receiver position. Both Moore (28.5%) and Allen (24.4%) rank inside the top 15 in team target share from last season. It’s worth noting that in Shane Waldron’s offense over the last three seasons as the offensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, neither DK Metcalf nor Tyler Lockett logged lower than a 21.2% target share. I expect a similar split for both Allen and Moore in 2024 playing a majority of the snaps.

Rome Odunze is an excellent dynasty rookie draft pick. Keenan Allen is in the final year of his contract while Moore has just two remaining. As we await to see if both, one, or neither re-sign, we at least know Odunze is tied to Caleb Williams for a least the next four seasons. Given the draft capital, I expect him to be involved sooner than later, though it likely takes an injury to Allen or Moore before we can plug Odunze into 2024 lineups on a steady week-to-week basis.

Tight End

Any chance of Cole Kmet maintaining week-to-week value as a starter in fantasy football is probably a thing of the past. Trading for Keenan Allen and drafting Rome Odunze ninth overall makes sure of that. After two seasons in the last three with 90+ targets, Kmet’s floor is considerably lower in 2024. His ability as a pass catcher means more for the value of Caleb Williams in his rookie season, though Kmet can still likely produce stream-worthy weeks depending on the Bears’ matchup.

Minnesota Vikings


I can only hope for a clearer picture as to who will be the starting quarterback for the Vikings for the majority of the 2024 season. As we sit and ponder in mid-June, Sam Darnold is probably the best bet to start the season. How many games will it be, if at all, before we see 10th-overall pick, J.J. McCarthy take the field? He is just 21 years old.

Luckily for both of these guys, Justin Jefferson is entering the 2024 season with a massive four-year, $140 million extension. Jefferson, in just 10 games due to injury last year, still managed 1,074 receiving yards. He had five games of 140 or more receiving yards, including each of the first three games of the season.

Additionally, whoever is under center will have last year’s first-round pick, Jordan Addison, as well as Aaron Jones, one of the best receiving running backs in the league, to throw to. And throw they will. In two seasons with Kevin O’Connell as the head coach, the Vikings have an average of 651 pass attempts per season. They’ve ranked no lower than fourth in the league in attempts since. There is value to be had here, due to a high-volume passing offense with fantastic weapons, but investing significant draft capital in either isn’t recommended.

Running Back

In three games that took place in the 2023 calendar year against the Minnesota Vikings, Aaron Jones rushed a total of 41 times for 260 yards for the Green Bay Packers. That’s a 6.34 yards per carry average and includes two games of over 110 rushing yards. Now, Jones is joining the Minnesota Vikings for the 2024 season on a fully guaranteed, one-year $7 million deal.

Aaron Jones is 29 years old, but just one year removed from 1,516 all-purpose yards on 272 touches. Our last sample size of Jones is two back-to-back 100+ yard rushing games during the 2023-24 playoffs. That includes a 21/118/3 rushing line in Dallas in a win against the Cowboys.

The key to his fantasy value is the receiving work. Jones is one of the best pass-catching running backs in the game. He has four straight seasons from 2019-2022 with at least 47 receptions. Jones has ranked inside the top-12 running backs in reception totals in each of the 2020 through 2022 seasons.

There’s no denying, when healthy, that Jones is an asset to the Vikings, especially if J.J. McCarthy needs to dump the ball off to a reliable pass catcher. However, Jones has missed 10 games over the last two seasons, including six last year. I do still expect Ty Chandler to mix in, especially in the ground game. He just doesn’t project as anything more than a handcuff to Jones for the 2024 fantasy football season. Aaron Jones should have a high enough floor to warrant top-20 draft capital as his position.

Wide Receiver

Justin Jefferson is still one of the best picks at the wide receiver position for fantasy football. This year specifically, however, managers may be able to get him cheaper than usual. He’s still going to come off of the board in the first round of drafts, but he’s not as enticing as the first overall pick due to the quarterback change and uncertainty in Minnesota.

I’m still confidently grabbing Jefferson for the 2024 season. In just 10 games last year, he still managed 1,074 receiving yards. When you take a closer look, though, Nick Mullens was the starting quarterback for Jefferson’s final five games of the season after returning from injury. Jefferson averaged 7.5 receptions for 119 yards on 11 targets over the last four games with Mullens. Neither Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy can be any worse than Mullens and, at the very least, should be looking to pepper Jefferson with targets as long as they have the starting job.

Jordan Addison is the obvious wide receiver target from the Vikings behind Justin Jefferson. I’m having a hard time believing he will finish outside of the top-36 wide receivers, however, but that’s where you can likely get him in drafts. We call that a value! As mentioned before, under Kevin O’Connell, the Vikings are one of the pass-heaviest teams in the league. Especially with T.J. Hockenson unlikely to be available to start the season, a high likelihood of negative game scripts, and Addison’s coverage with defenses focused on Justin Jefferson, he’s in a good position to obliterate his Average Draft Position for the 2024 fantasy football season.

Tight End

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but T.J. Hockenson didn’t have surgery until January 29, 2024, to repair his Week 16 season-ending ACL. Week 1 of the 2024 season will be just over seven months post-surgery for Hockenson. Typically, most NFL players aren’t back on the field until at least nine months post-surgery. Even then, their effectiveness isn’t quite the same until they’re back to taking contact at full speed and recovering to do it all again the following week.

That said, I’m not drafting T.J. Hockenson for the 2024 fantasy football season. Can he return? Sure! Will I use any sort of significant draft capital to wait for him to do so? No. If your league allows an Injured Reserve spot, then maybe drafting Hockenson with one of your last picks to begin the season is the way to go. There are just other tight ends you can depend on for a full season rather than hope Hockenson returns to commanding 8.5 targets per game, which is the highest average at the position from last season. I’ll likely be more interested in Hockenson for the 2025 season, especially ahead of J.J. McCarthy’s second season as the starting quarterback.

Green Bay Packers


Jordan Love is the QB6 on a fantasy points-per-game basis from the 2023 season. He is one of just eight quarterbacks to play in 10 or more games and average over 19.0 fantasy points per game. Love scored 20.0 or more fantasy points in half of his starts last season, including five of his last seven. His 23.3 points per game from Weeks 15 through 17, the fantasy football playoffs, ranks third at the position. He’s already a hero to plenty of fantasy football managers.

Heading into 2024, not much has changed for Jordan Love. He has the same head coach and pass catchers, but does have an upgrade in the run game with the addition of Josh Jacobs. Based on these factors, and what we saw from Love last season, he has obvious QB1 upside for the 2024 fantasy football season. He likely doesn’t come with the price tag, however. We should have a good indication of what to expect from Love after Week 1 against the Eagles in Brazil followed by the Packers home opener against the Colts after nine days of rest.

Running Back

At a glance, Josh Jacobs’ four-year, $48 million free agency deal looks hefty. However, it comes with just $12.5 million guaranteed. That’s just barely more than the 2024 franchise tag price point for a running back. So, you can view Jacobs’ contract as a one-year deal with the Packers that’s already incentivized with more money over time. The structure of this deal piques my interest in Jacobs that much more for the year ahead.

The 26-year-old back is only a year removed from a career-high in touches (393) and all-purpose yards (2,053) earning the rushing title during the 2022-23 season. He’s now the lead back in an offense that desperately needs his dependability in the red zone. To note, Jacobs scored five rushing touchdowns on 36 total red zone rush attempts in 2023. The combination of Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon scored a total of four on a combined 68 attempts.

In 74 career games, Josh Jacobs does not have a single receiving touchdown. He does have some slight receiving upside with an average of just over three receptions per game over his last three seasons after just 1.89 per game over his first two. It’s hard to imagine any increase, though, with the group of wide receivers at Jordan Love’s disposal.

Rookie MarShawn Lloyd should have the backup role to Jacobs locked up by the start of the season. He’ll work to compete with A.J. Dillon for touches, who is returning on just a one-year, $2.7 million deal. Lloyd is a three-down ready backup who should be on rosters if Jacobs is forced to miss time in 2024.

Wide Receiver

The question on almost everyone’s mind heading into 2024 fantasy drafts is which Green Bay Packers wide receiver is best to target. If you ask four people, you might get four different answers. Luckily, drafting either of Christian Watson, Jayden Reid, Dontayvion Wicks, or Romeo Doubs won’t cost you much, but any of them could be a weekly starter in your lineup this season.

The most likely of this group to yield a significant return in fantasy football is still Christian Watson. After playing just 23 of a possible 34 games in his first two seasons, it’s clear by now the only thing holding him back is his health, specifically in regards to his hamstrings. Luckily, reports claim he has sought out a more in-depth analysis to his injury history this off-season.

When healthy, Watson’s ceiling is extremely enticing for fantasy football. When healthy last season, Watson drew at least seven targets in five of eight games from Weeks 5 through 13. His 49 targets during the span led the Packers wide receivers. Watson has a unique combo to make big plays downfield as well as command significant looks in the red zone.

Jayden Reed, who should have a similar Average Draft Position, is equally as interesting because of his unique versatility, as well. Reed’s 94 targets as a rookie are encouraging, but mixing him into the run game, especially during Aaron Jones’ injury absence, is an indication that the Packers want to manufacture touches for him. Unfortunately, when both Watson and Romeo Doubs are healthy, we’ve seen Jayden Reed’s snap count dip below each of them in every game but one last season. That makes Doubs a potential league winner if this trend continues considering he is coming off of fantasy draft boards behind Watson and Reed.

Tight End

There’s potential value in the Packers’ tight end room, however I’m much more interested in players from the other NFC North teams at this position. Neither Luke Musgrave nor Tucker Kraft logged over 50 targets. Musgrave did miss six games due to injury and left early in another, but still only drew an average of four targets per game from Jordan Love. The Packers offense is just loaded with plenty of different, talented pass catchers. It’s hard to imagine either Musgrave or Kraft carving out enough of a role for the 2024 fantasy football season, but Musgrave would be the preferred dart throw in deeper formats.

Detroit Lions


Jared Goff is a different quarterback when he’s playing indoors. Typically, we can point to a home vs. away split for quarterbacks, like Goff, especially if their home stadium is a dome. However, to take it one step further, Goff has a 23.17 points per game average when he plays inside a dome versus a 12.59 points per game average when he’s outside. During the 2023 regular season, his 108.9 passer rating indoors is also significantly higher than his 82.0 passing rating outdoors. The Lions do not play outdoors until Week 9 this season.

Whether you want to believe in that or not, at least you can believe in Goff’s weapons. Amon-Ra St. Brown, Sam LaPorta, and Jahmyr Gibbs are all top-five ranked players at their positions for the 2024 fantasy football season. Ben Johnson, the Lions offensive coordinator, is also returning after interviewing as a top target for the nine teams with head coaching vacancies this off-season. The 2023 Lions averaged the fifth-most points per game (27.1) and were tied for throwing the fourth-most passing touchdowns (30).

Goff’s 17.6 fantasy points per game are good enough for a QB16 finish last season. As successful as the Lions were, notably in the passing game, they led the league in rushing touchdowns (27), as well. With the entire offensive ensemble returning, we should expect much of the same from Goff this season. That is high-end QB2 numbers with plenty of weekly QB1 finishes, especially in regards to his high frequency of playing indoors in 2024.

Running Back

Jahmyr Gibbs is the lead back in the 2024 Detroit Lions backfield. Following their Week 9 bye last season, Gibbs began playing far more snaps, even with David Montgomery back from an injury. From Weeks 10 through 17, Gibbs was the RB5 with a 17.1 points per game average. He logged four games of 21.5 or more points in that span. Gibbs’ 71 targets, including the playoffs, rank third amongst all Lions and far outweigh Montgomery’s 24, as well.

Now, I don’t want anyone to forget about David Montgomery. If the Lions are going to go the distance this season, they’ll continue utilizing both running backs. Remember that Weeks 10 through 17 span I just mentioned? Despite Gibbs’ 17.1 points per game, Montgomery logged 14.0 of his own as the RB9. Montgomery may even be the better value of the two as you can get him multiple rounds after Gibbs and yield a significant return on a successful offense.

Gibbs just has the upside you want in a potential top-three fantasy football running back. He is one of just six running backs, who rushed 100 or more times, to log over 5.0 yards per carry. He is ahead of Montgomery in just about every advanced running back stat to include, but not limited to, runs of 10+ yards, broken tackles, and even yards before, and after, contact per attempt. Sure, Montgomery is still a strong option in the red zone, but Gibbs finished with just 13 fewer red zone rush attempts than Montgomery. You can’t go wrong with either of these players, as they’re both starters in fantasy football. It comes down to whether or not you prefer players with similar ADP to Gibbs over him and are willing to wait for Montgomery as a result.

Wide Receiver

Since implementing a 17-game season, the WR1, on a fantasy points-per-game basis, in each of the last three seasons has eclipsed 180 total targets. Amon-Ra St. Brown’s 164 targets over 16 games in 2023, yields an average of 10.25 targets per game in 2023. Over a 17-game span, that’s approximately 175 targets, knocking on the doorstep of what it typically takes to be the WR1 in fantasy football.

Things couldn’t look better for St. Brown heading into 2024. Jared Goff is playing under a new extension, the Lions didn’t draft a wide receiver, nor did they sign a wide receiver of any significance, and, as mentioned above, most of St. Brown’s games are indoors.

Amon-Ra St. Brown’s biggest competition for targets are tight end Sam LaPorta and Jahmyr Gibbs. You could actually argue his biggest threat against success is Detroit’s high-volume rushing offense. They are one of seven teams to rush 500 or more times in 2023. Even still, St. Brown is one of just eight wide receivers to log 160 or more targets with 109 of them deemed catchable. He is a can’t-miss WR1 for the 2024 fantasy football season and has a case to be the first player at the position off of the board.

Aside from St. Brown, Jameson Williams could take a step forward this season. He barely played as a rookie in 2022 returning from an ACL tear and missed a good chunk of last season due to a suspension. Williams, as of now, is a boom-or-bust deep threat from one of the more successful offenses in the NFL. He’s worth drafting as a “wait and see” player.

Tight End

Without a doubt, the best tight end in the NFC North is Sam LaPorta. He checks all of the boxes for what you want from a top-tier tight end to justify spending high draft capital on them. That includes but is not limited to, the opportunity to log 120 or more targets, a high number of red zone targets, and the size/speed combination that generates mismatches with opposing defenses.

LaPorta, at 6’3″ 245 pounds, and with 4.6 [40-yard dash] speed, does just that especially with Amon-Ra St. Brown and a strong run game giving defenses enough to worry about. His 120 targets rank fifth amongst all tight ends in 2023 as one of just five tight ends to average seven or more targets per game. Additionally, LaPorta still managed 15 red zone targets on a team with two running backs inside the top 14 in red zone rush attempts.

I’m drafting Sam LaPorta in the WR2 range expecting a floor of 13.5 or so points in PPR formats. LaPorta’s competition for targets is generally unchanged from 2023 to 2024 with Jared Goff remaining under center. He is probably going to come off of the board in the third round of 12-team drafts which I’m comfortable with. Any higher is drafting LaPorta at his absolute ceiling which could disappoint especially compared to the potential of other players at other positions still on the board that you need more of to fill out your roster.

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