Today, I'll wrap up the NFC by giving you a player to watch from each of the NFC North teams as we prepare for the 2008 season.
The Green Bay Packers coasted to the division championship with a 13-3 record. Minnesota finished second at 8-8, but a promising rookie campaign by running back Adrian Peterson provides hope for the Vikings in the future. Detroit and Chicago each had a 7-9 record in 2007, but look to rebound in the upcoming season.
One of my co-workers, who I won't name because I don't want him to be portrayed as a fake fan, is from Detroit and he doesn't think I can find a player on the Lions worth watching for the 2008 season. While they need some help to improve for this season, they did start the 2007 season with a 6-2 record before collapsing in the second half. In my eyes, they don't need to add much to compete in the NFC North.
Don't forget to check back next week for my list of players to watch in the four divisions in the AFC. I promise it won't be anything like waiting for Erik Bedard to be traded – I didn't think that was ever going to happen.
Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears, TE – Olsen didn't have a great rookie season, but it could have been a lot worse. He caught 39 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Desmond Clark is the starting tight end in Chicago, but pay attention to Olsen during the offseason workouts. He's going to be getting more playing time in 2008, but he'll need to earn a bigger role in the offense in order to become a solid fantasy option.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions, WR – Maybe I'm buying into the hype, but I think Johnson will finally give the Lions a solid receiving threat. He had a solid rookie debut with 48 catches for 756 yards and four touchdowns. This season, Johnson could prove to be a good sleeper pick. However, he could also take a step back and cost your fantasy team at wide receiver. It'll be good to watch his progress through the summer.
Ruvell Martin, Green Bay Packers, WR – With Brett Favre as your quarterback, it's possible for anyone to become a star receiver. Martin had 16 receptions for 242 yards in 2007. He finished third on the team with four touchdown catches. He's behind Donald Driver, Greg Jennings and James Jones on the depth chart, but I think he's got a shot at 20-25 catches next season. If he plays well during training camp, then he might become one of Favre's favorite targets. Keep an eye on him.
Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings, WR – In his rookie season, Rice caught 31 passes for 396 yards. He had four touchdown catches, which was the most on the team in 2007. Unfortunately, the Vikings rely on their running attack, so it will be difficult for Rice to improve his numbers and become a fantasy superstar in 2008.