It’s the most wonderful time of the year!! And no, we’re not singing about the holidays this time. Right now, all our attention is with one thing: football. As fans of this incredible sport, we’re all about watching the game we love in all of its different forms. There’s high school football, college football, the XFL and NFL, and even fantasy football coming our way from now until next year. With the NFL set to begin its regular season in less than a month, we’re locked and loaded on the upcoming 2023 fantasy football season.
Earlier this summer we dived into some Chicago Bears fantasy football predictions for the year, and now, we’ll be stepping our game up to take a look at how the entire NFC North is shaping up for this year. Let’s get right into it!
2023 Fantasy Football Outlook – NFC North
The Don’t Drafters
Starting things off with our 2023 fantasy football preview of the NFC North conference is a group we’re calling, “The Don’t Drafters”. The outlook for these players’ performance in fantasy football is pretty low, and while one might surprise us, there’s definitely going to be safer options available in your draft when these guys are still on the board.
First up, sadly, is Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool. The Bears acquired Claypool right before last season’s NFL trade deadline, and in 7 games he managed to catch 14 balls on 29 targets, totaling 140 yards, zero touchdowns, and one fumble lost. Ouch. The Bear’s aren’t the most pass heavy team these days with dual-threat QB Justin Fields, and with the addition of DJ Moore, odds are high Claypool’s output stays low. But, if you want to take a shot at him, there’s a chance he puts up one or two big games with 100+ yards and a touchdown.
The next player we recommend avoiding is another wide receiver who plays on the Vikings – K.J. Osborn. Osborn is a bit similar to Claypool with the fact that he’s plenty talented, and there’s even some upside with the more pass-heavy offense he plays on. Unfortunately for Osborn, the pass catching weapons surrounding him are too strong with Justin Jefferson, TJ Hockenson, and rookie Jordan Addison.
Our final Don’t Drafter is Green Bay Packers tight end Luke Musgrave. Now, there may be some bias because we’re diehard Bears fans, but we’d seriously consider not drafting anyone on the Packers offense for the 2023 fantasy football season. In the post-Rodgers era with Jordan Love, no one can really tell how effective the offense will be until we see some regular season games. Will they rely on Jones and Dillon in the run game? Or will Love shut us all up? We sure don’t know, and we’re not willing to take the risk.
Some Secret Sleepers
Our next set of players for our 2023 fantasy football preview of the NFC North are being labeled, “Secret Sleepers”. These players are to be considered better options than the ones above as their upside is much higher. That being said, don’t expect immediate output from them and recognize that they’re still a gamble to draft in fantasy.
The first Secret Sleeper on our list is former Chicago Bears running back, David Montgomery. Now a member of the Detroit Lions, Montgomery is currently listed as the second back on the team’s depth chart. But, as any former DeAndre Swift fantasy owners will tell you, the Detroit RB depth chart order doesn’t tend to mean much, and Montgomery could shock us all and take on more of a Jamaal Williams role “behind” Jahmyr Gibbs.
Next up for the Secret Sleepers is another running back: Roschon Johnson of the Bears. While he is currently listed as the third back on the depth chart behind Khalil Herbert and D’Onta Foreman, we wouldn’t be surprised if Johnson takes over #2 duties fairly quickly, if not #1. Johnson is a powerful and big running back, and has all the skills necessary to accel at the NFL level. If he didn’t have to play behind Bijan Robinson in college, he might not be as overlooked as he already is.
Minnesota Vikings rookie receiver Jordan Addison will round off our Secret Sleeper list. And, if we had to bet on it, he’s more of a starter than a sleeper in our eyes. The only thing standing in Addison’s way is the playmakers surrounding him in Jefferson and Hockenson. But, if he can’t start to eat up some of their target share and punish defenses that don’t give him enough attention, he could offer a very quick, and very high return on investment over the course of the 2023 fantasy football season.
Our final group of players in our 2023 fantasy football guide to the NFC North are some surefire starters. If you’re in the position to draft these guys… DO IT! Odds are you won’t regret it.
First up is a player we’ve already mentioned a couple times: Vikings tight end T.J. Hockenson. After being traded to the Vikings last season, Hockenson put up 519 yards on 60 catches in 10 games to go with three touchdowns. He finished as the 4th ranked tight end in standard fantasy scoring last year, and is projected to be this year’s 3rd overall TE. But, he could very easily climb to #2 and surpass George Kittle. Reaching Travis Kelce levels would be a little crazier, but not the most impossible thing in the world.
Yes, don’t worry, we’re finally getting the clear-cut #1 overall pick in 2023 fantasy football drafts: Justin Jefferson. Last season’s 128 catches for 1,809 yards and 8 touchdowns should be enough of a reason that his current position in drafts isn’t to anyone’s surprise. And if anything, the breakout of Jefferson has changed fantasy drafts for the short-term at least, and should show how valuable he is that much more. Wide receivers are starting to get drafted first ahead of running backs, and it’s all thanks to JJettas.
Our final NFC North player we’ll cover in our 2023 fantasy football guide is none other than Chicago Bears quarterback, #1, Justin Fields! With the dual-threat playmaking abilities Fields has using his legs, there’s no question he’s a surefire starter in 2023. Plus, adding DJ Moore to the roster along with improving the offensive line should only help him build on last season. He’s currently projected as fantasy’s QB6, but if he can get things going through the air quickly, a top three finish is not out of the question. And him being a Chicago Bear only makes it better!
Featured image credit: Chicago Bears on Instagram.
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