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NFL Fantasy Exit Interviews: NFC North

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NFC North


Chicago Bears (8-8)

2019 Team Offensive Ranks
Total offense:
29th
Passing:
25th
Rushing:
27th

Statistical Leaders (Final positional ranking/PPR ranks)
Passing: Mitchell Trubisky -- 3,138 yards, 17 TD, 10 INT (QB26)
Rushing: David Montgomery -- 889 rush yards, 6 TD (RB24)
Receiving: Allen Robinson -- 98 rec., 1,147 yards, 7 TD (WR8)

What went right: The 2019 season was unequivocally a good one for Allen Robinson. Four seasons after his breakout campaign with Jacksonville and two season after a season-ending ACL tear, Robinson posted his second-career 1,000-yard season and his second-highest single-season touchdown number. All of this while playing with a quarterback who is still struggling to find any sense of consistency. Hmm, sounds sorta like his time in Jacksonville. Maybe we should give Robinson a medal.

If you're looking for any other bright spots in this offense, you're probably going to have to grade on a curve. Rookie running back David Montgomery did have some moments where he flashed in the latter part of the season, which muted some of the frustrations of watching Matt Nagy not give him touches earlier in the year. Second-year receiver Anthony Miller had a couple of nice games late in the season that likely helped a few managers who were bold on the waiver wire. Otherwise, much of his 2019 season was pretty forgettable.

What went wrong: This was supposed to be the year that we found out whether or not Mitchell Trubisky could be the future at quarterback in Chicago. Spoiler alert: He can not. Trubisky regressed statistically this past season, throwing for fewer yards and seven fewer touchdowns while playing in one more contest. The biggest thing missing from Trubisky's game this season was his effectiveness as a runner. In 2018, the young quarterback rushed for more than 400 yards, with much of his on-field (and fantasy) success tied to his tendency to make plays with his legs. In 2019, he rushed for 228 fewer yards. Not only is that 22 fewer fantasy points than the previous season but it made the Bears offense easier to defend -- torpedoing a lot of his teammates' fantasy production.

What needs to improve: It will be interesting to see what Nagy and the Bears front office do about their quarterback situation this offseason. The name "Cam Newton" has popped up occasionally but there's nothing concrete to suggest Chicago will go that direction. For the sake of many fantasy managers, it would be nice to see Montgomery's role in the offense continue to expand in Year 2 while Allen Robinson is going to need some extra help at the receiver position. Maybe that is Anthony Miller breaking out in his third season -- maybe it comes from outside the building. We'll see.

Detroit Lions (3-12-1)

2019 Team Offensive Ranks
Total offense: 18th
Passing: 10th
Rushing: 21st

Statistical Leaders (Final positional ranking/PPR ranks)
Passing: Matthew Stafford -- 2,499 yards, 19 TD, 5 INT (QB29)
Rushing: Kerryon Johnson -- 403 yards, 3 TD (RB54)
Receiving: Kenny Golladay -- 65 rec., 1,190 yards, 11 TD (WR9)

What went right: Before the season, Kenny Golladay declared that he could be a 100-catch guy. I doubted him -- not because I don't think he's talented but because the offense he plays in isn't conducive to that. Turns out, I was right but Golladay still proved that he's knocking on the door of elite fantasy receivers, if he hasn't already joined the club. Despite playing with a trio of quarterbacks, "Babytron" had his second consecutive 1,000-yard campaign with a league-leading 11 receiving touchdowns. Across the way, Marvin Jones was putting together one of the better seasons of his career before an ankle injury landed him on injured reserve and prematurely ended his year.

What went wrong: Did I mention Marvin Jones going on injured reserve? Because that was a common theme for the Lions in 2019. Jones, along with Matthew Stafford, Kerryon Johnson, T.J. Hockenson, Jeff Driskel, and Jermaine Kearse were among the myriad of players whose seasons were cut short due to injury. Stafford's hip injury was particularly frustrating since he was playing at a high level. Over the first nine weeks of the season, Stafford was fantasy's QB6 and averaging more than 21 points per game. His injury opened the door for Driskel who lasted just three games before a hamstring injury put him on the bench. That left things to undrafted rookie David Blough to finish things out. If Detroit can keep its key pieces healthy, who knows how things turn out?

What needs to improve: On the field, Matt Patricia and his staff have plenty of work to do to improve in 2019. For our selfish fantasy purposes, it feels as simple as saying ... stay healthy. Stafford was playing well and making both Golladay and Jones viable receivers. Kerryon Johnson had breakout potential before suffering a knee injury (he did return to play the final two games of the season with middling production). There are productive options to be found in this offense. We just need them to stay on the field.

Green Bay Packers (13-3)

2019 Team Offensive Ranks
Total offense: 15th
Passing: 17th
Rushing: 15th

Statistical Leaders (Final positional ranking/PPR ranks)
Passing: Aaron Rodgers -- 4.002 yards, 26 TD, 4 INT (QB9)
Rushing: Aaron Jones -- 1,084 yards, 16 TD (RB2)
Receiving: Davante Adams -- 83 rec., 997 yards, 5 TD (WR22)

What went right: At the end of last season, Fantasy Twitter uniformly lamented Aaron Jones not getting the workhorse role we felt he deserved. We all hoped that new head coach Matt LaFleur would see the folly in using Jamaal Williams so much and change that. We got our wish and it paid off in a big way. Yes, Williams was still involved in Green Bay's offense but it was Jones' backfield and he responded with more than 1,500 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns. (Side note: Jones was still more than 150 fantasy points behind Christian McCaffrey -- which is more of an illustration of how great CMC's season was than a criticism of Jones.)

Don't let his WR22 finish fool you, Davante Adams was still an elite fantasy receiver in 2019. He was also essentially the only receiver in the Packers offense last season. Adams missed four games because of turf toe, which contributed to his uncharacteristically low finish. Yet he still averaged more than 10 fantasy points per game, 10th-best among all qualifying wideouts in 2019. He'll once again be one of the top 30 picks in most fantasy drafts in 2020.

What went wrong: This was the year we had to look in the mirror and admit to ourselves out loud that Aaron Rodgers is no longer an elite fantasy quarterback. Rodgers threw for more than 4,000 yards for the third time in four seasons but he averaged fewer than 18 fantasy points per game and had just four games with 25 or more fantasy points. The rest of the season was a frustrating slog for anyone who started No. 12 on a regular basis. But that's kinda what happens when you have a running back that's putting up bananas-type numbers.

What needs to improve: Some of what needs to change is our perception of when is the proper time to draft Aaron Rodgers and what our expectations of him are as a fantasy quarterback. Likely gone are the days when you could plug Rodgers in and just forget about it. He might have fallen to the level of matchup-based starter. You hate to see it. No, seriously. You do hate to see it. Also, while we're here ... maybe get Davante Adams a little help?

Minnesota Vikings (10-6)

2019 Team Offensive Ranks
Total offense: 8th
Passing: 23rd
Rushing: 6th

Statistical Leaders (Final positional ranking/PPR ranks)
Passing: Kirk Cousins -- 3,603 yards, 26 TD, 6 INT (QB15)
Rushing: Dalvin Cook -- 1,135 yards, 13 TD (RB6)
Receiving: Stefon Diggs -- 63 rec., 1,130 yards, 6 TD (WR24)

What went right: The Vikings came into the season saying they planned to commit to the run ... and did they ever. Minnesota's offense was incredibly run heavy early in the year and Dalvin Cook immediately paid dividends for everyone who spent an early draft pick on him. Even as the offense diversified midway through the season, Cook was still a major workhorse perhaps best illustrated by setting career-highs in receptions and receiving yards ... oh yeah, and by nearly doubling last season's career-high in rushing yards. A shoulder injury that forced him out of a pair of games late in the year might have some fantasy managers wary but Cook will likely be in the conversation for the No. 1 overall pick next summer.

What went wrong: Adam Thielen was drafted in most fantasy leagues as an elite option and a surefire WR1. That wasn't the case, in reality. Injuries robbed Thielen of six games and even upon his return, he offered next to nothing in the way of production. Beyond that, most everything was status quo -- including Kirk Cousins, who had a nice run of slightly-better-than-okay games in the middle of the season and finished as a slightly-better-than-okay QB15. *shrug*

What needs to improve: At this point, Kirk Cousins is who he is and expecting more might be folly, especially in an offense that still wants to run the ball a lot. However, Cousins' outlook could be improved by Thielen staying healthy and returning to the form that made him an elite fantasy wideout. Despite Kyle Rudolph having a nice late-season run, the Vikings might be better served in the longer term to make a move to the younger Irv Smith, Jr. Goodness knows we could use more tight end depth in fantasy.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy editor for NFL.com and a man who is ready to do a little binge-watching. Send him your aspirations to apathy via Twitter @MarcasG. If you read all of that, congrats. Follow him on Facebook and Instagram.

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