Green Bay Packers
|By Rob Warner, Tuesday, July 8, 2014|
QB Aaron Rodgers - Stud (low risk)
ONE OF THE BEST: A broken collarbone cost Rodgers seven games last season. The 30-year-old Cal alum averaged 282 yards passing per game and finished with 17 touchdowns and six interceptions over nine games. Rodgers missed just two games over the previous five seasons and should continue to challenge Peyton Manning and Drew Brees for the top spot among fantasy signal callers. Last season, Rodgers, the master of the discount double check, had four games with at least 25 fantasy points. That is the same pace as 2012 (nine games with 25 or more points). With a healthy offensive line in place, Rodgers could very well finish as the No. 1 fantasy QB. There aren't many signal-callers with more consistent production when you consider that he has 20 or more fantasy points in 73-percent of games over the past three seasons.
Editor's note: Rodgers could easily have another decade ahead of him as the leader of this offense. The receiver group isn't what it was just a few seasons ago; however, it should be clear that Green Bay can move the chains with just about anybody who can create a little separation. If you can draft Rodgers, Manning or Brees, you're in the clear for the rest of the season. This guy is elite and everybody knows it.
RB Eddie Lacy - Stud (low risk)
THE HYPE IS REAL: Offensive Rookie of the Year Eddie Lacy proved to be a draft-day steal as Green Bay selected the Bama product in Round 2 of the 2013 draft (pick No. 61 overall). The bruising back (5-foot-11, 230) missed just one game in his rookie season and finished as the sixth-highest scoring RB in standard leagues. Lacy amassed 1,178 rushing yards on 284 carries with 11 touchdowns and a 4.1 YPC average. He forced 62 missed tackles in his rookie season and added 35 catches for 257 yards. Mike McCarthy has already stated he wants Lacy to contribute more as an every-down back in his second NFL season.
RB James Starks - Fantasy Handcuff
In a limited 2013 role, the 28-year-old rushed for 493 yards on 89 carries (an impressive 5.5 YPC) and scored three touchdowns. He received a two-year deal in March and is the handcuff to own for those that select Lacy following news that Johnathan Franklin's career is over.
RB DuJuan Harris - Low Potential
The 25-year-old Troy alum missed the entire 2013 season with a right patella injury (underwent a knee scope). In 2012, Harris had 34 carries for 157 yards and two catches for 17 yards. He's a favorite of the coaching staff and will likely secure a role behind Eddie Lacy and backup James Starks. His fantasy relevance would depend on multiple injuries to the Packer backfield.
WR Jordy Nelson - Solid/Safe Pick
Those that targeted Jordy Nelson at a discount (missed four games in 2012) were rewarded with his career-best production. In his sixth NFL season, the 28-year-old finished as the 11th best fantasy WR in standard leagues, posting 85 catches for 1,314 yards and eight touchdowns. He's now hauled in 30 touchdowns over the past three seasons and should see even more red zone looks with James Jones now in Oakland and Jermichael Finley's status in limbo. Nelson is a borderline WR1 and is likely to be selected before the end of Round 3.
World Championships: Jordy rarely, if ever makes it out of the second round in our WR heavy format.
WR Randall Cobb - Stud (low risk)
PPR STUD: In 2012, Cobb burst onto the scene and finished with 80 catches for 954 yards and ten touchdowns. This past season, he had just 30 catches for 433 yards and four touchdowns over six games. He missed much of the season due to a fractured leg. The 23-year-old should be primed for a bounce-back season in a contract year, especially with more targets available now that free agent James Jones signed with Oakland. Based on current ADP numbers (20.29, WR9), Cobb is a highly sought after selection in an excellent offense. He should enjoy a high volume of both targets and receptions.
WR Jarrett Boykin - Bye Week Fill-in
Undrafted third-year WR Jarrett Boykin (Virginia Tech) filled in for Randall Cobb and was able to eclipse 80 yards in five separate games. Boykin finished with 49 catches for 681 yards (43 YPG) and three touchdowns and should start the 2014 season as the Packers' No. 3 receiver, keeping him on the fantasy radar (especially in deeper formats and dynasty leagues). However, the draft selections of Davante Adams (Round 2) and Jared Abbrederis (Round 5) are cause for concern. Boykin's ADP has him coming off the board around WR60 as the 150th-best player overall.
Editor's note: Boykin has solid hands and can run above-average routes; however, he is very limited athletically. Someone like Adams could feasibly overtake him by the end of his rookie season. Be careful to not overextend your interest in Boykin.
WR Davante Adams - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
DYNASTY GOLD: Derek Carr's top target at Fresno State had a monster sophomore season: totaling 131 receptions for 1,718 yards and 24 touchdowns. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he has the size, leaping ability and length to challenge the secondary on deep routes, but some question his ability to excel at the next level based on the inferior competition he faced for most of his collegiate career. For example, he struggled against USC in his bowl game. He'll likely be more of a possession type at the next level, considering he lacks top end speed (4.54). Adams could develop as a solid red zone target based on his 39.5-inch vertical at the combine and college tape that show an ability to fight for the ball in traffic. The rookie is more of a dynasty league target, considering that Cobb and Nelson are in contract years. He is more likely to really blossom in a year or two.
TE Richard Rodgers - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
On June 21, ESPN Packers reporter Rob Demovsky reported that the third round rookie from California had the inside track on the starting job for week 1. The junior posted 39 receptions for 608 yards with a touchdown in 2013. He only had 20 catches for 288 yards and a score in 2012. Some experts projected Rodgers as a potential first rounder in the 2015 draft, but he decided to come out early and struggled at the combine. His size (6-foot-4, 260) and athleticism make him an intriguing player to watch in training camp, considering the Packers' starting job is up for grabs with Jermichael Finley's future in major doubt.
TE Jermichael Finley - Gamble (high risk)
His status remains in limbo following neck surgery. The 27-year-old has 20 touchdowns over his first six seasons (and a career-high eight TDs in 2011). If cleared to play in 2014, there are too many other options to risk taking Finley since one hard tackle could seriously re-aggravate his injury.
TE Colt Lyerla - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
BOOM OR BUST: Multiple off the field issues led to this University of Oregon product remaining undrafted. His college stats are limited as the 6-foot-4 tight end finished with just 34 catches for 565 yards (16.6 YPR) and 11 touchdowns. Some have compared him to Aaron Hernandez based on skill set and likelihood to end up behind bars. He does have intriguing measurables (4.61 forty, 39-inch vertical and 10-foot-8 broad jump) and the Packers are desperate for help at TE. This is a situation worth monitoring in the preseason.
Editor's note: If your league has a deep bench, Lyerla is worth a look as a late-round flier.
TE Andrew Quarless - Low Potential
The 25-year-old Penn State alum has a pedestrian skill set and is unlikely to be a fantasy factor. He had 32 catches for 312 yards in 2013 and just three touchdowns over his three seasons.
PK Mason Crosby - Solid/Safe Pick
He put a disastrous 2012 season behind him and finished as the seventh-best fantasy kicker last season. Crosby hit a career best 89-percent of his kicks in 2013 (33-of-37 field goals). He has hit over 85-percent in two of the last three years. Crosby is under contract for two more seasons and should continue to produce Top 10 numbers as the Packers' high flying offense looks to build on its 26 PPG average.
Green Bay - Solid/Safe Pick
If healthy, the Packers are a defense with plenty of playmakers. In 2013, Clay Matthews battled a thumb injury and CB Casey Hayward missed 13 games with a hamstring injury. Green Bay added aging sack master Julius Peppers and drafted safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The defense should improve on their pedestrian 2013 stats (11 interceptions and three touchdowns). The Pack are a low-end DST1 or an excellent backup if you want to carry two on your roster.