Green Bay Packers Team Profile 2016

Green Bay Packers Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Is it a coincidence, that in 4 years with WR Jordy Nelson, the Green Bay Packers won 4 straight division titles, but without him, the Minnesota Vikings enjoyed the honors. ( Nelson tore his left ACL in August 2015.) HC Mike McCarthy probably wouldn’t want anyone to think that one missing player could hurt a season, but when have you seen QB Aaron Rodgers play 16 games and rank 12th among NFL quarterbacks?

2016 Team Outlook–
The Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFC North Division since 2011, but it was Minnesota who took the title in 2015 with an 11-5 season. Green Bay fell just a game short at 10-6. With a healthy Jordy back, Gfreen Bay will again be the team to beat in 2016. The Lions, Bears and Vikings all have good, competitive teams but they can’t put onto the field the caliber of offensive and defensive personnel that Green Bay can.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– Disregarding 2013, when he only played 9 games due to an injury, QB Aaron Rodgers has either been the #1 or #2 quarterback every year since 2008…..until 2015. Last year ended with Rodgers ranking #12 among NFL quarterbacks. He threw for nearly 500 less yards than he did in 2014, with 7 less touchdown passes (31 vs 38). QB Rodgers and the offense clearly missed WR Jordy Nelson’s deep threat abilities, but they still made the post-season.

RBs– Many articles were written about Lacy’s “weight” in 2015, and Green Bay reportedly wants him 30 pounds lighter. In 2015, RB Eddie Lacy was out-played by RB James Starks. Starks ended the year as the #23 running back in the NFL, and RB Lacy as the #24. In the final year of his 2013 rookie deal…this off-season will be an important one for “Spag-Eddie” Lacy.” James Starks is a free agent, but expected to re-sign with the Packers.

WRs– WR Jordy Nelson and WR Randall Cobb were the #2 and #6 wide receivers in the NFL in 2014. In 2015, no Green Bay wide receiver cracked the top 25. The offense wasn’t the same without WR Jordy Nelson and WR Davante Adams disappointed the entire year. ( rumors are WR Adams’ roster spot is in jeopardy.) It wasn’t until the post-season that Green Bay found out what talent had been sitting on the bench all season. WR Jeff Janis went 7 catches for 145 and 2 TDs in the Divisonal Game loss to Arizona. (The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s wrote- “It’s been 25 years or more since a coach in Green Bay made more errors in allocating playing time than Mike McCarthy did this year.”)


TEs–
2011 was the last time a Green Bay Packer ended a season ranking in the top 5 among NFL tight ends. Jermichael Finley was the #5 tight end that year, with 767 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Statistically in 2015, TE Richard Rodgers’ numbers ( 520 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns ) weren’t that much different from Finley’s in 2011, which ranked Rodgers #8 last year. With WR Nelson out, TE Rodgers was relied on more, and will be red zone threat again in 2016.

K– Impending free agent K Mason Crosby has been a Packer for 9 seasons, but he doesn’t want to leave Green Bay, nor does Green Bay want him to leave. Expect a new contract in the near future.

DEF– The Green Bay defense enjoyed a much better season in 2015 ( ranked #9) than they did in 2014 ( ranked #16). Tough vs the pass, their defense stepped up in a year where the offense declined. With important free agents impending from the defense, the Packers will need to fill holes to keep the defense trending upward in the NFL.

2015 Green Bay Fantasy Surprises–
Many a fantasy football league was won in 2014 with RB Eddie Lacy on the roster, which is why he was drafted high in 2015. He returned for his 3rd season over-weight and slow, surprising many with only 758 yards rushing yards and 3 rushing TDs at year’s end. WR Jeff Janis was a surprise in the post-season and might have won himself a spot in 2016 in the starting line-up.


2016 Free Agents That Green Bay Needs to Address–
RB James Starks, WR James Jones, K Mason Crosby, FB John Kuhn, TE Andrew Quarless, QB Scott Tolzien, T/G Don Barclay, SS Sean Richardson, CB Casey Hayward, OLB Nick Perry, NT B.J. Raji, DE Letroy Guion, OLB Mike Neal,

2016 NFL Draft–
Green Bay’s first 2 selections in the 2015 NFL Draft addressed their defense ( FS Damarious Randall- 1st round-30th overall and CB Quinten Rollins- 2nd round-62nd overall) and they will likely address it right away again in 2016. Green Bay’s needs include help on their defensive line and talented new inside/ outside linebackers.

Did You Know–
In 1974, in what has become known as one of the worst trades in history, the Green Bay Packers traded two first round draft picks, two second round draft picks, and a third round draft pick to the Los Angeles Rams for 34 year old quarterback John Hadl.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.packers.com

Detroit Lions Team Profile 2016

Detroit Lions Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

Near the end of 2015, Detroit Lions owner Martha Ford addressed her team and consequently fired team president Tom Lewand and general manager Martin Mayhew. With a 7-9 losing season, some would agree that HC Jim Caldwell should have gotten the boot as well. In the 2014 NFL Draft, Caldwell & Company selected TE Eric Ebron in the 1st Round- 10th overall, passing on WRs Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Cooks. and Kelvin Benjamin, ( not to mention a hand full of defensive pro-bowlers that could have helped a defense that dropped from #3 in 2014, to #16 in 2015.)

2016 Team Outlook –

1993. That is the last time the Detroit Lions won “their Division”. Dating back to 2002, when the NFC Central became the NFC North, Detroit has not won a “Division title “. Green Bay has dominated, winning the division 8 times since 2002. (Chicago 3 times and Minnesota 3 times.) The Vikings topped the division in 2015. The smart bet is on Green Bay in 2016.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook-

QB– In 2009, Matthew Stafford started a streak of young quarterbacks being selected with the #1 pick overall in NFL Drafts. 2009-Stafford…2010- Sam Bradford…2011- Cam Newton and 2012- Andrew Luck. Stafford commanded a ton of money as the #1 overall in 2009, and although he’s had some highlights in his career ( Stafford is the 4th quarterback in NFL history to throw over 5,000 yards in a single season, and was the fastest player to reach 25,000 passing yards- 90 games), Lion’s fans are still waiting for some bling. As a Fantasy Football quarterback, Stafford is a solid #1/ #2 QB for owners, ranking in the top 10 every year except 2014 ( #15).


RBs–
For fantasy football owners, RBBC is a four letter word! In 2015, Detroit had not one, not two, but three running backs all getting touches. Theo Riddick eneded 2015 as the #38 running back, Ameer Abdullah as the #41 and Joique Bell as the #50. When an NFL team has 3 running backs, fantasy owners have none. On Feb. 16, 2016 the Lions saved $2.5M by releasing RB Joique Bell. Fantasy football owners should not be relieved, Caldwell will now mix in RB Zach Zenner. UPDATE: Stevan Ridley signed a 1-year deal w/ DET

WRs– In 2012, Calvin “Megatron” Johnson set an NFL record with the “Most Receiving Yards in a Single Season: 1,964 yards.” Johnson was not 100% in 2014, playing in only 13 games that season, but played all 16 in 2015 and ranked as the #10 wide receiver (1214 receiving yards and 9 TD receptions.) Drafted in 2007, Calvin might “retire“, and it’s was great that perhaps the greatest, played all 9 seasons for one team….the Detroit Lions. WR Golden Tate has been a solid addition since joining the Lions in 2014, but Detroit desperately needs new offensive weapons in their receiving corps. UPDATE: Megatron announced his retirement. The Lions sign former Bengal WR Marvin Jones to a 5-year deal.

TEs–  In 2009, the Lions used their 20th overall pick on TE Brandon Pettigrew. In 2014, the Lions used their 1st round-10th overall pick on TE Eric Ebron. ( if they would have selected WR Odell Beckham Jr. instead of TE Ebron, Calvin Johnson’s successor would already be on their roster.) In 2015, Ebron had 537 receiving yards and 5 TDs.

K– Matt Prater had a shaking first year with Detroit in 2014, going only 11 for 21, after replacing rookie Nate Freese. ( another poor NFL Draft selection by the Lions in 2014 ) In 2015, Prater’s accuracy was better, but he was not a good fantasy football option. Prater only had 24 field goal attempts, 10th fewest in the NFL.

DEF–
Detroit’s defense was considered one the best in the NFL in 2014. They dropped to #16 in 2015. The “defensive” draft selections have been the few bright spots for Detroit, but Ndamukong Suh and his monster contract went to Miami, and Nick Fairley drafted by Detroit Lions-1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft is now a “Ram”. Acquired DT Halota Ngata is a free agent, as are strong safeties Isa Abdul-Quddus and James Ihedigbo.

2015 Detroit Fantasy Surprises– 3rd down back Theo Riddick’s 80 receptions led all NFL running backs, and his 697 receiving yards was only topped by San Diego’s RB Danny Woodhead (756). Riddick had 3 receiving touch downs. Rookie Ammer Abdullah ( drafted in Round 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft) finished with 597 yards and two touchdowns on 143 carries (4.17 YPC) with 24 catches and one more score through the air. Abdullah will be an intriguing 2016 fantasy football selection with the release of RB J Bell.


2016 Free Agents that Detroit Needs to Address– 
WR Lance Moore, DT Haloti Ngata, OLB Tahir Whitehead, DE Jason Jones, DT Tyrunn Walker, DE Darryl Tapp, SS Isa Abdul-Quddus, G/C Manuel Ramirez, SS James Ihedigbo, OLB Travis Lewis, DT Jermelle Cudjo, CB Josh Wilson

2016 NFL Draft– NFL team’s usually need new help for their offensive line, and Detroit is no exception. It should be their priority to get a new center and new tackles. The Lions need wide receivers. Detroit’s #16 defense could get worst in 2016 with free agents possibly leaving and CB Rashean Mathis’ retirement, so Detroit needs a cornerback opposite Darius Slay. Detroit’s 2015 NFL Draft- DETROIT’S 2015 DRAFT

Did You Know-
In 1970, soul singer Marvin Gaye tried out for the Detroit Lions. Some Lions players sang backup on his hit song “What’s Going On?”

Team home page: www.detroitlions.com

All team reports can be seen here- TEAM REPORTS

 

Chicago Bears Team Profile 2016

Chicago Bears Team Profile 2016 by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

John Fox is not used to losing….at least not 2 seasons in a row. Since his first head coaching job back in 2002, Fox has never had 2 losing seasons in a row….ever. Fox was named head coach of the Chicago Bear in January of 2015, and the 6-10 record makes the 2nd worst season he’s ever had. ( In 2010, Fox’s Carolina Panthers had a dismal 2-14 season, so Panthers owner Jerry Richardson announced that he would not be renewing Fox’s contract.) 14 days later Fox was head coach for the Denver Broncos. He coached there for 4 years. Fox has a lot of work to do in Chicago, if he wants to avoid having back-to-back losing seasons.

2016 Team Outlook– The NFC North consists of Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Minnesota. It was a close race in 2015, but the Vikings won in 2015, ending Green bay’s 4 year win streak. The Bears won the division in 2010, but with the 31st worst defense (2015), and aging quarterback, and losing RB Matt Forte, it will be tough for the Bears to overtake Green Bay and Minnesota in 2016.

2016 Fantasy Football Outlook–

QB– Jay Cutler was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft. (He played his college football at Vanderbilt.) Cutler was quarterback for the Broncos from 2006- 2008. Like John Fox, Cutler became a member of the Chicago Bears after 3+ years in Denver, but it was Cutler that had officially asked the Broncos to trade him. Cutler ended his first year with Fox as the #20 quarterback for 2015. He played in 15 of the 16 regular season games, threw for 3659 yards with 21 touch down passes. It wasn’t clear at the beginning of 2015 whether on not new regime in Chicago really wanted Cutler as their quarterback, but he presumably did enough to keep his job and will almost certainly be back in 2016.

RBs– Matthew Garrett Forte (born December 10, 1985) has played for the Chicago Bears since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft. The Bears organization recently announced….”Matt is one of the all-time great Bears and did an excellent job for us on and off the field last season”, but also stated that they were not going to attempt to re-sign him in free agency. Forte is one of the most versatile backs in the NFL, and it will be interesting where he ends up. RB Jeremy Langford proved in 2015 that he is capable of taking over in Chicago. As Forte’s back up, Langford produced over 800 yards from scrimmage and 7 total touchdowns.

WRs– On March 10, 2015, the Bears traded Marshall and a seventh round-selection in the 2015 NFL Draft to the New York Jets in exchange for their fifth-round draft selection. With RB Matt Forte coming off their roster, it’s hard to imagine that the Bears can afford to lose WR Alshon Jeffery as well. Jeffery is currently the top wide receiver among free agents, and it’s plausible that the Bears will place the franchise tag on the very talented but injury-prone receiver. Chicago has young WR Marquess Wilson on their roster, but Eddie Royal will be 30 this year, so the Bears will be adding depth to their receiving corps. Kevin White was selected 7th overall in the 2015 NFL Draft, but never made it on the field in 2015 ( shin surgery-IR.)

TEs– Martellus Bennett will be 29 this spring and he is not a “John Fox guy”. It’s doubtful he returns as a Bear. TE Zach Miller and Rob Housler are both free agents, so Chicago has work to do, to put weapons on the field. ( Rotoworld’s free agent list-)

K– The 2016 NFL season will mark Robbie Gould’s 1th year as Chicago’s place kicker. Gould was originally signed by the Patriots as a free agent. Gould only missed Week 17 this past season due to injury, and was replaced by veteran Jay Feely for that one game.

DEF- In 2014, the Chicago Bear’s defense ranked  #24 in the NFL. The Bears’ defensive front seven needed overhauling and Utter-Fantasy warned not expect a big turnaround by the Chicago defense in 2015. There wasn’t. Chicago dropped even further away from being “formidable”, to #31……almost dead last in defense ( former N.O. DC Rob Ryan and the New Orleans Saints were the worst ) Chicago has needs everywhere on defense. UPDATE: Bears sign ILB Danny Trevtahan, formerly of the Broncos.

2015 Chicago Fantasy Surprises– The surprise is that there weren’t any good Chicago Fantasy Surprises– WR Alshon Jeffery ended as the only the 41th ranked wide receiver for 2015. TE Martellus Bennett barely cracked the top 30 tight ends for 2015. Talented RB Forte did not rush for even 900 yards and only had 7 touch downs total for the season. QB Cutler ranked 20th among quarterbacks. Fantasy football owners are not dependent on winning seasons from NFL teams, to get great fantasy football players. The Chicago Bears usually provides a few, regardless of their season…..but they did not in 2015.

2016 Free Agents that Chicago Needs to Address- WR Alshon Jeffery, RB Matt Forte, TE Zach Miller, TE Rob Housler, OG Patrick Omameh, OLB Sam Acho, DE Mitch Unrein, C Will Montgomery, DE Jarvis Jenkins, OG Vlad Ducasse, ILB Shea McClellin, WR Marc Mariani, CB Sherrick McManis, SS Ryan Mundy, CB Alan Ball, FS Chris Prosinski, CB Tracy Porter

2016 NFL Draft– The early needs of Chicago are first and foremost, everywhere on defense– the defensive line needs help, and new inside linebackers/cornerbacks must be a priority. After Chicago upgrades their 31st ranked defense, they might take a swing at a young quarterback, QB Jay Cutler will be 33 years old in April.

Did You Know– Chicago Bears running back Walter Payton only missed ONE game during his entire thirteen year career in the NFL? ( All thirteen years were played in Chicago)

Team home page: www.chicagobears.com

Team Profiles- Green Bay Packers

Team Profiles- Green Bay Packers

by Utter-Fantasy Writer & Illustrator Doug Bowles

HC Mike McCarthy is probably a great coach, but let’s face it, his only two quarterbacks in Green Bay for the most part, have been QB Brett Favre and QB Aaron Rodgers. It’s not like he’s had the same kind of QB adversities to deal with as say HC Rex Ryan has. Perhaps his biggest challenge came in 2013, when QB Rodgers broke his collarbone, and HC McCarthy had to struggle to the playoffs with QB Matt Flynn for 5 games. They made it to the playoffs (It didn’t hurt that Detroit had an epic collapse the same time QB Rodgers was out with his injury.)

The 2013 playoffs began with QB Rodgers back in the line up, but Green Bay lost to the 49ers in round one. In 2014, Green Bay again made it to the playoffs, but this time, it was the Packers who had the epic collapse. The Packers were leading Seattle in the Conference Championship 16-0 at halftime, and 19–7 with under three minutes left in the game. One score later by Seattle, a successful onside kick, another score by Seattle and a two point conversion, and the Packers were stunned to be losing 19-22. A quick field goal by Green Bay tied it, but Seattle won the coin toss in over-time and won the game with a touchdown. Fortunately for HC McCarthy, he does have a Superbowl win (2010), or his legacy in Green Bay would be for having successful regular season records, and crumbling in the playoffs.

2015 Team Outlook–
The Green Bay Packers have dominated the NFC North Division since 2011, and they will so again on 2015. The Lions, Bears and Vikings all have good, competitive teams going into the 2015 season, but none of them can put onto the field the caliber of offensive and defensive personnel that Green Bay can. The Packer’s coaching staff, quarterback, running backs and defense either rival or are superior to the the rest of the teams in the NFC North. Even their receiving corps should be considered superior, except the Packers are facing a free agency decision with WR Randall Cobb, who is a key part of that offense. If he leaves, their receiving corps takes a hit. Fullback John Kuhn could also be leaving.

2015 Fantasy Outlook–

QB– It’s hard to believe that it has been nine years, since Aaron Rodgers had to sit and watch as team after team passed him up in the 2005 NFL Draft. QB Rodgers wasn’t selected until the 24th overall pick came in, by the Green Bay Packers. 5 wide receivers were selected before Aaron Rodgers, and none of them are still playing in the NFL. The Cleveland Browns, who have had nothing but quarterback fiascoes for decades, passed up Rodgers and selected WR Braylon Edwards with their 3rd overall pick. Using 1st round picks on college quarterbacks is risky business, that’s a given, but the Browns still have to feel sick looking back on that 2005 draft. Aaron Rodgers is a great, great player. He can do it all, and that’s all there is that needs saying about him.

RBs– Two running backs recently came into the NFL after having played for the Alabama Crimson Tide…RB Trent Richardson and RB Eddie Lacy. RB Richardson is looking like one of the biggest busts to come into the NFL of late. He was the 3rd overall selection in the first round by the Cleveland Browns in 2012, but now sits on the Indianapolis Colts roster. RB Eddie Lacy on the other hand, is looking like a steal from the 2013 draft, having dropped all the way down to the 61st selection of the 2nd round. (Actually, none of the 2012 running backs selected from the first 3 rounds of the 2012 draft have done very well in the NFL, which is a big reason no RB was selected at all in the 1st round of the the 2013 draft.) In 2014, RB Lacy totaled over 1500+ yards from scrimmage and scored 13 TDs (4 were receiving TDs) He’s a strong, durable running back with a trade mark “spin move” that can make defenders miss badly. Powerful at the goal line, and elusive in the passing game. RB Lacy is a top 5 RB going into the 2015 season.

WRs– To go with one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, the Green Bay Packers just so happen to have the #2 and #6 wide receivers in the league from 2014, catching his passes. WR Jordy Nelson, drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL draft, was second only to Pittsburgh’s WR Antonio Brown in the receiving yards last season and tied for 2nd in the league with 13 TD receptions. He has great hands, fantastic speed and should easily rank in the top 5 of wide receivers next season. WR Randall Cobb is Green Bay’s other star receiver and he ranked 6th in the NFL with 1324 total yards and 12 TDs, Cobb is a free agent this year, and there are a lot of teams that want him. He may elect to take less, and stay with Green Bay. (Last year WR Eric Decker chased the money to New York, leaving Denver and QB Peyton Manning, and he ended the 2014 season as the 28th ranked WR. He was #8 in 2013.) If WR Cobb does leave, GB has a young wide receiver in WR Davante Adams, one of the talented rookie WRs that came into the league in 2014. WR Adams is a sleeper for the 2015 season, whether Cobb leaves or not. UPDATE: WR Randall Cobb re-signed with GB.

TEs–
Although tight ends aren’t used in the GB offense like they used to be (in the days of Sterling Sharpe, Mark Chmura or Bubba Franks) the Packers still have a couple good ones, who find the end zone now and then. TE Andrew Quarless was the 26th ranked TE in 2014, with 323 yards and 3 TDs. The Packers also have rookie TE Richard Rodgers, no relation to the QB, who ranked #41 in 2014 with 225 yards and 2 TDs. Their only limitations are targets from QB Aaron Rodgers. UPDATE: Waived TE Brandon Bostick. 7/4/2015 interestingly, the Packers have no plans to release TE Andrew Quarless following his July 4 arrest for firing a gun twice in the air during an altercation.

K– Mason Crosby has been with the Packers for the past 8 seasons. He was selected by Green Bay in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. K Crosby had a rough 2013 season, but HC McCarthy believed him and stuck with him, which paid off in 2014. Crosby ended the season as the 3rd ranked kicker in the NFL, knocking in 34 of his 40 attempts for field goals. With such a potent offense, Crosby is a strong candidate to finish in the top 5 again in 2015.

DEF– The Green Bay staff does a great job selecting players in the NFL drafts, for both their offense and their defense. Although not yet a Pro-bowler, Haha Clinton-Dix played like one at times for the Packers. He was the 1st overall selection in 2014. With names like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers and Nick Perry leading the way, the Packers have one of the top defenses in the league. The Packers have a lot of players either coming back from injuries or are currently free agents, so they have issues keeping this defense together.

2014 Green Bay Fantasy Surprises–
The Packers offense is a well oiled machine, so there aren’t a lot of surprises. RB Lacy had some durability issues when playing for Alabama, but he’s only missed one game in the NFL since being drafted, perhaps that’s a surprise.

2015 Free Agents That Green Bay Needs to Address–
QB Matt Flynn- FB John Kuhn- WR Randall Cobb (re-signed)- OT Byran Bulaga (re-signed)- DE B J Raji (re-signed)- DT Letroy Guilon (re-signed)- LB Jamari Lattimore- CB Jarrett Bush- CB Davon House- LCB Tramon Williams

2015 NFL Draft–
The immediate needs of Green Bay are on defensive, depth at right tackle, and at the corner back position. The Packer’s have a lot of defensive players possibly heading for free agency, so they need depth on defense everywhere (DT and DE), Byran Bulaga’s contract is up so the Packers need help pass-blocking (OT) and they could easily lose Tramon Williams and House (CB). UPDATE: Green Bay’s entire 2015 NFL Draft can be seen at this link- GREEN BAY’S DRAFT

Did You Know–
The waiting list for Packer season tickets is over 86,000 names long, making the average wait to be 30+ years. With only 90 tickets turned over annually, it would be 955 years before the newest name on the list got a ticket. Typically, new fans to Lambeau Field are the beneficiary of season tickets that have been willed to them by next of kin.

All team reports
can be seen at this link- TEAM REPORTS

Team home page: www.packers.com