Rapin's Ramblings: Aaron Rodgers and the NFC North

When doing my fantasy football prep, sometimes I come across a piece of information that I feel may be a predictor of success/failure for a player for the upcoming season. Instead of tweeting each individual piece of info out, I've decided to congregate them into articles that are separated by the division the players play in. In case you missed my previous articles, make sure to check out my Ramblings for the NFC West and the NFC South as well.

I hope you enjoy reading this. Not all of the material contained here may influence your perception of a particular player, but maybe you can find a few things to help you out. My goal isn't necessarily to persuade you to take or pass on a particular player, but instead give you some information to help you make your own decisions. I hope it helps!

Give me a follow on Twitter @fantasygeek37

Chicago Bears

Jordan Howard2

The departure of John Fox paired with the arrival of Matt Nagy could pay big dividends to Jordan Howard owners

  • Bears' O-Coordinator, Mark Helfrich has had success with quarterbacks. He was quarterback coach at Arizona State under Dirk Koetter, where he led Andrew Walter to break numerous ASU passing records including John Elway's Pac-10 touchdown record. While at Oregon, he made the likes of Jeremiah Masoli, Darron Thomas and Marcus Mariota into superstars, and was named Football Scoop's National Quarterbacks Coach of the Year in 2010 and 2012.
  • Mitchell Trubisky's nickname is "Mr. Biscuit".
  • Per Graham Barfield's Twitter account (@GrahamBarfield) on 6/4/18 - In 2017, Jordan Howard averaged 6.5 yards per carry out of the shotgun (128 attempts) and 4.0 yards per carry under center (400 attempts).
  • When lined up in the shotgun formation, the Bears ran 13% of the time under old Bears Head Coach John Fox last year, which was fourth lowest in the league per  Sharp Football Stats.
  • When lineup up in the shotgun formation, the Chiefs ran 27% of the time under new Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy last year, which was tied for third highest in the league per Sharp Football Stats.
  • Per those same Sharp Football Stats, the Bears only lined up in the shotgun on 50% of their snaps, versus 72% for the Chiefs.
  • If those trends carry into 2018, the Bears should lineup in the shotgun a lot more frequently and Jordan Howard could see a big boost in volume of runs that he has excelled on in recent history.
  • From FantasyPros, in 2017 Jordan Howard finished as the RB14 in PPR leagues and RB10 in non-PPR leagues. In 2016, he finished as the RB10 in PPR leagues and RB9 in non-PPR leagues.
  • Allen Robinson had the exact same number of targets (151) in 2015 and 2016 per Pro Football Reference. However, his production went from 80/1,400/14 in 2015 to 73/883/6 in 2016.
  • From the Pro Football Focus NFL Draft Guide, Anthony Miller led college football in yards from the screen pass (288) in 2017. He is also good at catching the ball in contested situations as he was tied for the lead in the nation with six touchdowns while being contested.
  • Kevin White has played in a total of five games in three NFL seasons.
  • Trey Burton played on only 345 of 1073 snaps (32.2%) for the Eagles last season yet still finished as the TE25 in standard leagues and TE26 in PPR leagues. He goes from a Doug Pederson offense, who is from the Andy Reid coaching tree, to a Matt Nagy offense, who is also from the Andy Reid tree. He should be very familiar with the offense.

Detroit Lions

  • I have been a Lions fan since I was a little kid and they have broken my heart more times than Lucy has pulled the football away from Charlie Brown.
  • Matthew Stafford has not missed a game in the last seven seasons. Over that span, he has finished as a top ten fantasy quarterback in six of those seven seasons per Fantasy Pros. The only year he wasn't a top ten fantasy quarterback was 2014 where he was the QB15.
  • Last season Matthew Stafford had 565 passing attempts, which was the lowest total he had thrown in the last seven seasons. Despite the "low" output from Stafford, he still finished fourth in the league in pass attempts behind only Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, and Eli Manning. 
  • The Lions have not had a running back with more than 165 rushing attempts in the past three seasons. In those three seasons, of the nine backs that have had at least 40 rushes in a single year, only one of the them eclipsed greater than four yards per carry when Ameer Abdullah averaged 4.2 yards per rushing attempt in 2015. 
  • Over the past three seasons, Detroit has not finished better than 31st in the NFL in rushing attempts by team. 
  • Golden Tate has had at least 90 receptions in all four of his seasons with the Lions.
  • In PPR leagues per Fantasy Pros, Tate has finished as the WR13 ('17), WR17 ('16), WR24 ('15), WR11 ('14) in his four years with the Lions. Per Fantasy Football Calculator, Tate is currently being drafted as the WR21 in PPR leagues. 
  • Marvin Jones is 6'2", 198 pounds, and ran a 4.46 40 yard dash. Kenny Golladay is 6'4", 213 pounds, and ran a 4.50 40 yard dash. I don't know if that means anything, but it's there for your reading pleasure. 
  • Marvin Jones was the WR12 in PPR leagues and WR5 in standard leagues in 2017. 
  • The Lions depth chart for tight end currently consists of Luke Willson, Michael Roberts, Levine Toilolo, Hakeem Valles and Marcus Lucas. All five of these tight ends have combined for a total of 167 receptions in their NFL careers, with Luke Willson leading the way with 89 career receptions over his five NFL seasons. 

Green Bay Packers


Packers number two wide receiver, Randall Cobb could be a sneaky source of production in 2018.

  • Last season Aaron Rodgers missed nine games due to a collarbone injury. In the seven games he played in, he averaged 239.3 yards per game, which was the second lowest total since he became starter in 2008. He also averaged 7.0 yards per attempt, which was also his second lowest output and posted an interception rate of 2.5%, which was the highest rate in his career.
  • In the three years prior to 2016, Rodgers finished as the QB1, QB7 and QB1 in fantasy football per Fantasy Pros
  • Last season, the Packers had three running backs that had a minimum of 70 rushing attempts. Jamaal Williams had 153 carries and averaged 3.6 yards per carry. Ty Montgomery had 71 rushing attempts and averaged 3.8 yards per carry. Aaron Jones had 81 rushing attempts and averaged 5.5 yards per carry. 
  • Davante Adams finished last season fifth in the NFL in Red Zone targets (24) and third in Red Zone completions (16) per NFL Savant
  • Per Raymond Summerlin on Twitter (@RMSummerlin) on 6/6/18: Aaron Rodgers has played at least 15 games in eight seasons. His number two receiver has been a top-24 option all but two of those years. Here are the WR2 finishes for the Packers: '08-WR23; '09-WR21; '10-WR44; '11-WR18; '12-WR17; '14-WR6; '15-WR31; '16-WR7. 
  • Jordy Nelson had 91 targets last season that are now up for grabs. 
  • In three of the last four seasons, Randall Cobb has played in at least 15 games. In PPR leagues those seasons, he was the WR35 in 2017 (15 games), WR25 in 2015 (16 games), and WR8 in 2014 (16 games). 
  • Cobb is currently being drafted as the WR35 on Fantasy Football Calculator. 
  • Jimmy Graham led the NFL in Red Zone targets (29) in 2017 and finished second in the NFL in receiving touchdowns (10). Despite leading tight ends in touchdowns, he finished as the TE6 in PPR leagues in 2017.
  • Graham is being drafted as the TE4 on Fantasy Football Calculator

Minnesota Vikings

  • In his three seasons as a starter, Kirk Cousins has never thrown for fewer than 4,000 yards or 25 touchdowns. In those three seasons, he has finished as the QB6, QB5, QB8 in fantasy. 
  • Dalvin Cook had two shoulder surgeries in 2014 and missed a majority of the 2017 season with a torn ACL.
  • Cook has also had numerous run-ins with the law including allegedly hitting a woman and tethering three puppies by the neck with a large chain that resulted in them struggling to breathe. 
  • Cook missed 12 games to the ACL injury last year, but after four games, he was on pace for 296 rushing attempts, 1,416 yards and eight rushing touchdowns. He was also on pace to hit 44 receptions for 360 yards. That would have made him the RB7 in PPR leagues. 
  • Both Adam Thielen (WR8) and Stefon Diggs (WR19) finished as a top 20 fantasy wide receiver last season. Diggs missed two games and was on pace to finish as the WR11 with a full 16 games played.
  • Stefon Diggs only had greater than 100 yards receiving in one of his 14 games last season when he went 8/173/2 in Week 3 versus Tampa Bay.
  • Despite moving primarily to the slot last year, Adam Thielen still matched his 14.0 yards per completion from 2016. He went from 69/967/5 on 92 targets in 2016, to 91/1,276/4 on 142 targets in 2017.
  • Per NFL Next Gen stats, Adam Thielen finished 6th in the league in TAY%, with 38.41%. This statistic represents how much of a team’s deep yards does the player account for.
  • Kyle Rudolph finished as the TE8 in PPR leagues in 2017 and the TE2 in 2016.
  • Rudolph finished fifth in Red Zone Targets among tight ends in 2017 and first in 2016 per NFL Savant.

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