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Green Bay Packers: 2014 Fantasy Football Analysis & Team Outlook


By Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson (DVIDS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

Green Bay Packers Offseason Changes

Offseason Acquisitions – N/A

No Longer on the Roster – WR James Jones

The Green Packers have firmly established themselves as one of the most fantasy relevant teams in all of the NFL. The great thing about that is it makes the prospect of drafting their players fairly straightforward. There’s sort of a “what you see is what you get” kind of feel with them and that’s a positive. There are easily four legitimate fantasy studs and one potentially usable threat that make the Packers a dependable squad.

 

Green Bay Packers Quarterbacks

rotoballer-fantasy-football-advice-aaron-rodgersI’m not breaking any news when I tell you that Aaron Rodgers is at worst the third best quarterback in the league and his fantasy ranking among quarterbacks reflects that fact. Rodgers missed some time last year due to injury but no one expects that injury to hinder him going forward and nor should they. He came back at the end of 2013 and was perfectly fine. All the injury does is basically eliminate his entire 2013 stat line. Just get rid of it, pretend it never even happened and take a look at his numbers from the previous year.

In 2012, Rodgers was second in passing touchdowns with 39, eighth in passing yards with 4,295, and third in completion percentage. Head back further to 2011 and his numbers are even better. The obvious point here is that Aaron Rodgers is an exceptional fantasy option but you already knew that.

His ranking is what really matters. There’s room for debate between who should be the number two quarterback after Peyton Manning between Rodgers and Drew Brees but it kind of doesn’t matter. Both guys should and will live up to their ranking as mid-to-late second rounders. This, of course, is a direct reference to fantasy points over pure value given the depth of the quarterback position versus the lack thereof at running back and wide receiver.

In reality, if you’re sitting at the end of the second round weighing your options between an often injured Julio Jones, an unproven Montee Ball, and a guy who will absolutely light up the scoreboard in Aaron Rodgers, don’t hesitate if you’re tempted to take the QB. Running backs come and go every year and unproven players are a legitimate concern. Taking a monster quarterback in the second round is never going to ruin your team but drafting a player of a different position who flames out certainly will.

 

Green Bay Packers Wide Receivers

The Packers possess a rare case of having multiple wide receiver options that contribute to fantasy on a weekly basis. The most talked about names on the roster are Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and rightfully so. Nelson is consistently ranked as an early third rounder, just after the back end of the top tier of receivers like A.J. Green and Dez Bryant. His 1,314 yards last year certainly justify that ranking, especially when you consider that his star quarterback missed time. That number will likely increase, as should his reception total of 85 last year. Nelson is certainly deserving of his status as a sure-thing WR1.

The more questionable name on the team is Nelson’s tag team partner Randall Cobb. Cobb suffered a fractured leg early into the 2013 season that sidelined him for a lengthy amount of time. Similar to Rodgers, Cobb came back at the end of the 2013 season as well albeit to a much lesser degree. That’s fine for a receiver though, as the expectations are that Cobb will bounce back in grand fashion. Cobb led the Packers in yards in 2012, the year prior to his leg injury so the Packers certainly believe in him. Again, like Rodgers, this isn’t the type of injury that should shy you away from drafting Cobb in the third or fourth round. It’s not a torn ACL and it’s not the dreaded non-contact foot injury that plagues skill position players. It’s a fractured leg that occurred on a freak play during an awkward tackle. Problem is, everyone will want to draft Randall Cobb thinking he’s poised for a big year so don’t expect your fellow draftees to let him slip.

The Packers happen to be such a fantastic offense that it doesn’t even end with Cobb. Jarrett Boykin proved to be a serviceable weapon in Cobb’s absence and he opens camp as the number three receiver in the depth chart. Green Bay has historically been able to support three usable fantasy receivers at a time, dating back to the days when James Jones and Greg Jennings were running alongside Jordy Nelson. It doesn’t mean all three will have great games at the same time but it does mean Boykin could be a serviceable bye week fill in if you have a tough matchup. He’s an end-of-your-draft flyer for sure so don’t overdo it but he’s worth mentioning. The departure of James Jones should help as well.

 

Green Bay Packers Running Backs

By Sgt. Kyle J. Richardson (DVIDS) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsEddie Lacy’s ranking as a mid-first rounder could be described as both terrifying and intriguing. On the one hand, you have a guy entering his second year which usually spells doom thanks to the dreaded sophomore slump. On the other, you have a player who had a beast of a rookie season, boasting 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns and has the talent to be even better.

If you want some reassurance as to why you should put your stock in a second year player just take a gander at the running backs ranked after him. Doug Martin? New regime who is suggesting they will implore a running back by committee. Arian Foster? An aging back with more injuries than I can list here. Zac Stacy? Also a sophomore whose team spent a high pick on another running back.

And the list goes on. So basically your options are putting your faith into one of the safer of the unsafe backs in the first round or choosing to take a different position entirely. No one can fault you for taking Peyton Manning or Calvin Johnson with the fifth or sixth pick but if you’re set on going with the tried and true strategy of running back first, stick with Lacy over the rest of the question marks. I actually prefer him over Marshawn Lynch which would put Eddie Lacy at number five overall for me, right after Matt Forte. Lynch has his own problems to deal with in Seattle, including losing touches to Christine Michael. At least with Eddie Lacy you know he’s the only back on the team who will get significant playing time.

 

Green Bay Packers Rookies

For an offense that is as potent as the Packers, it’s kind of surprising that they decided to draft several players on the offensive side of the ball. Among those picks were wide receivers Davante Adams, Jared Abbrederis, and Jeff Janis. The highest pick of the bunch was second round draftee Davante Adams out of Fresno State. The immediate reaction to the drafting of Adams was that he’d instantly challenge Jarrett Boykin for the number three receiver spot. While that still does hold some weight, it’s been reported that Adams has some drop issues when it comes to catching the ball. That could just be camp chatter but for now Boykin still sits at number three. You certainly shouldn’t consider drafting Adams in any league format but if anything were to happen to Nelson, Cobb, or Boykin, Adams could catapult from unusable to hot commodity overnight.

 

Green Bay Packers Tight Ends

 

Speaking of rookies in Green Bay, the Packers also selected tight end Richard Rodgers in the third round. As it stands, the Packers don’t really have an official starting tight end so it’s hard to gauge what exactly that means for Richard Rodgers. It could potentially mean he’s automatically the starter, but as long as the name Jermichael Finley keeps floating around as a potential signee for the Packers, it’s impossible to tell who the starting tight end is. Finley would become an interesting name if he does end up re-signing but considering how severe his spinal cord injury was, you can’t put any faith into him immediately contributing.

 

Green Bay Packers in Summary

So yea, the Packers are good and they’ll be good once again. If you were unaware of this previously and I wasn’t able to convince you to draft all the key players accordingly then there isn’t anything I can tell you in this summary blurb that will sway you. It might even be worth drafting some Wisconsin cheese, that’s how good they are. (I kid, don’t do that, I don’t want to be held accountable because your Guda let you down at the flex spot.)