By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The Oakland Raiders sign WR Jordy Nelson to a 2-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: When the Packers gave WR Davante Adams a 4-year extension prior to the end of 2017, we knew someone from the Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb pairing was likely to be released or asked to take a pay cut or both. Well, Nelson drew the short straw but he didn’t linger on the free agent market long before the Oakland Raiders decided he was a better fit in new head coach Jon Gruden’s offense than Michael Crabtree (more on him later). Nelson arrives in Oakland on a two-year deal and will hopefully be in Amari Cooper’s ear, teaching him how to be a number one guy.
Nelson had a solid career catching balls from Aaron Rodgers. Since 2008, Nelson has played nine seasons — he missed all of 2015 with a torn ACL — and had four seasons with over 1,200 yards and three with double-digit scores. Every year from 2008 to 2016, he averaged more than 11 yards a reception. From 2011 to present, he’s never scored less than six touchdowns. Maybe solid is the wrong word to use. But I digress. Gruden wants blue collar guys, hard workers that aren’t going to loaf and are going to put their all into the game. Nelson is a gamer of the highest accord and should fit in nicely catching passes from Derek Carr.
Seeing how 2017 went not only for Nelson but for the Packers as a team makes me wonder — does Nelson have anything left? 2017 was easily Nelson’s worst since 2010. He had less than 500 yards receiving and only 53 receptions, averaging a paltry 9.1 yards per reception. His saving grace? He still knows how to find the end zone — he had six touchdowns. And that’s what you need to focus on with Nelson. Nelson effectively replaces the recently released Crabtree and will likely take over his red zone scoring opportunities as well. Over the last three years, Crabtree averaged over 17 end zone targets per year. Nelson averaged 19.5 while with Green Bay — not counting his missed 2015 season.
The Raiders are working in a new offense so take the statistics with a grain of salt, but if there’s anything that Jon Gruden knows about football is that you need to put the ball in the end zone to score. And Nelson has 69 TDs in his career, suggesting he knows how to do just that. Nelson should not be drafted as a starting option come the fall. I don’t even think I would draft him as a WR3. Let others in your league fall victim to him name but if he’s still around in the 10th round, you could do worse than seven TDs from your FLEX.