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Week 1 NFC North Starts and Sits: Avoid the Lions backfield and exploit rookie DBs

Week 1 of the fantasy football season is getting underway. We look at who should get the start this week after a limited offseason program.

Green Bay Packers Training Camp Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

We’re actually starting the NFL season and we’ll get Week 1 at a minimum, so let’s work on getting to 1-0 in your fantasy leagues. Luckily for us, we have plenty of divisional matchups across the league, including two within the NFC North: Packers vs. Vikings and Lions vs. Bears.

With a truncated and largely virtual off-season program, going chalk might be the best-case scenario for your fantasy teams until you see how teams react. This is especially true for rookies and players in new situations or with new systems. Feel comfortable playing Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, Kenny Golladay, and Adam Thielen.

Before the week beginnings, here are some possible starts in the NFC North to feel comfortable with and players who should stay cozy on your bench.


Marvin Jones Jr.

The WR2 for the Lions should have a fairly productive season and it starts by taking the Bears to task this week. Chicago should have a formidable pass rush, but their starting corners may leave plenty left to be desired. In this matchup, Kyle Fuller will likely have to take a lot of the responsibility in covering Kenny Golladay, while rookie Jaylon Johnson will have to lineup on Marvin Jones. While I liked Johnson coming out of college, he’s a young player who didn’t get a normal offseason to adapt to the NFL game.

Jones scored double-digit fantasy points in eight of 14 matchups last season, including a 40-burger against the Vikings. He’s a good flex option this week and borders on WR2 should he draw the attention of the rookie corner. Speaking of rookie corners…

Anthony Miller

On the flip side, the Bears third-year wideout could also see the attention of a rookie corner in Jeff Okudah for the Lions. While Okudah is a blue-chip defensive back, it will also take him a bit to get up to speed with the wonky offseason. The Lions have Justin Coleman listed as the CB2, but he’s primarily a slot guy who had a down year last year because they were forced to play him as more of a traditional cover man.

Miller’s showed promise during his rookie season and was expected to make a jump during his sophomore campaign, but he underperformed in a bad way. Wearing a shoulder sling during the season didn’t help on top of the Bears’ passing game woes (Mitch Trubisky). Head coach Matt Nagy was raving about Miller having possibly the best camp of any Bears player and the matchup this week is intriguing. Consider Miller a decent flex option in deeper leagues.

Aaron Rodgers

I like Rodgers to come out in Week 1 and put up some good points against the Vikings and their porous secondary. Another season in Matt LaFleur’s system and a lack of pressure in the Vikings pass rush with Danielle Hunter on IR, Rodgers should come out in Week 1 looking crisp. If Allen Lazard has made strides from last season and Robert Tonyan really is a legitimate starting pass-catching tight end, then Rodgers will have plenty of weapons to and plenty of time to get them the ball.


The Lions Backfield

If you have any of the Lions running backs, it’s probably not worth determining who you should pick to play. With the addition of Adrian Peterson to the running back room, it’s hard to determine who they want to get the ball to after drafting D’Andre Swift to play with Kerryon Johnson. The Lions have AP listed as the second-string RB behind Kerryon, Ty Johnson as third, and Swift in the four spot.

Since Matt Patricia got to Detroit, he’s been trying his best to make it New England Midwest. He’s brought in ex-Patriots players and now looks like he’s looking to establish a running back stable. Wait until this position group gets a little more clarity.

And despite the questions at cornerback, the Bears front seven should be in a good position to stop running backs. Between Akiem Hicks’ return, another season of Roquan Smith, and the addition of the underrated Robert Quinn, they have athletes to get after the ball carrier behind an inexperienced offensive line.