Every team in the NFL has now played at least one preseason game, which means we are nearing the start of the regular season. With Week 1 in sight, Fantasy Football drafts are rapidly taking place right now. While the quarterback position isn’t considered the premier position in fantasy football, they are still vital to one’s success during the season.
In the NFC North, three teams already know who will be their starting quarterback in Week 1. Aaron Rodgers will operate as the quarterback of the Green Bay Packers again, Kirk Cousins remains the signal-caller of the Minnesota Vikings, and Jared Goff is now a member of the Detroit Lions. As for the Chicago Bears, it could be Andy Dalton or rookie Justin Fields leading the offense.
For Fantasy Football purposes, we are all hoping that Fields wins the starting job. All that being said, let’s make some predictions on how the quarterbacks of the NFC North can perform in Fantasy Football in 2021.
Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
Once the 2020 season concluded, it was evident that Rodgers was upset about his situation with the Packers. Rodgers didn’t want more money, but he did want more control of his future with the organization. So after a drawn-out saga between both sides, Green Bay reworked his contract, allowing him to be more easily traded after the 2021 season.
Rodgers is likely suiting up for the Packers for the last time, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be productive while doing so. Last season, Rodgers was QB3 in Fantasy Football en route to winning NFL MVP. When healthy, Rodgers’ floor in fantasy football is QB10, as he’s finished as QB10 or better in each of the past three seasons. But given the number of dual-threat quarterbacks in the NFL, Rodgers could see a decline from his QB3 finish from a season ago.
When taking a realistic approach, I believe Rodgers is in line to conclude the year in the QB7-QB8 range in 2021.
Kirk Cousins, Minnesota Vikings
It feels very “meh” to select Kirk Cousins in Fantasy Football, as he doesn’t bring an insanely high ceiling due to his lack of rushing ability. Ever since signing with the Vikings in 2018, he’s finished as QB13, QB18, and QB11 in Fantasy Football.
Just last season, he was QB11 as Justin Jefferson set rookie records and Adam Thielen caught a career-high 14 touchdowns. While Cousins outperformed his ADP in 2020, he may have a tougher time doing that in 2021. Under Mike Zimmer, Minnesota would prefer to run the ball often with Dalvin Cook and play lights-out defense.
Unlike Ryan Tannehill — who also plays in an offense with a running back that carries it often — Cousins doesn’t bring any upside in the rushing department, limiting his ceiling in fantasy football. Plus, Tannehill is simply a better quarterback than Cousins. Even though Cousins doesn’t have a high ceiling, he could be somewhere between QB15-QB20. Taking Cousins and then taking the next guy on this list as your QB2 wouldn’t be the worst idea.
Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
Throughout training camp, the Bears have held a quarterback competition between Andy Dalton and Fields. Matt Nagy is leaning toward Dalton, but he has made it clear that Fields could earn the starting job if he performs well in the weeks leading up to the regular season.
Fields brought some excitement in his preseason debut as he went 14-20 for 142 yards and a passing touchdown, along with rushing for 33 yards and another score on the ground. We all know that Fields is going to start at some point, even if we don’t know the exact week. But when Fields is named the starter, he brings legit league-winning upside in Fantasy Football, especially given his ADP. Grabbing a mid-round quarterback to pair with Fields until he starts isn’t a bad idea as you’ll just need a placeholder until Fields gets the nod.
Whenever Fields joins the starting offense, a top 15 finish is definitely within his range of outcomes.
Jared Goff, Detroit Lions
Earlier in the offseason, Goff underwent one of the biggest downgrades you could possibly have in the NFL. Goff went from being the starter of the Los Angeles Rams and Sean McVay, to being the starter on the Lions under Dan Campbell. Goff has never been a consistent source of production in Fantasy Football, which is why he’s one of the later quarterbacks being taken in drafts.
Similar to Cousins, Goff doesn’t have absolutely any rushing upside as he’s a quarterback that excels when there is a clean pocket around him. After years of throwing to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp, the Lions have Breshad Perriman, Tyrell Williams, and Amon-Ra St. Brown as their top three wideouts. It’s hard to predict an extremely productive season from Goff given the change of scenery and weapons he has at his disposal.
But with T.J. Hockenson and D’Andre Swift, Goff could still wiggle his way into a QB20-QB25 finish if he can remain upright for the entire season.