Contributions from Joshua Hudson, Chris Molina, Joe Zollo, & Chris Tyler
Rashan Gary at 12 overall felt like both a reach and a value all at the same time. His freak athleticism warranted a high pick, but his production said otherwise. Darnell Savage Jr. at 21 felt like a reach, but with so many opinions about this year’s safety class, it was all about personal opinion. Jenkins was a nice grab to be their new Center, and Jace Sternberger was also a great pick up to be their TE of the future. Everything else felt like depth pieces. Defensive Coordinator Mike Pettine should be up all night dreaming of ways to deploy Gary at opposing QBs. – The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
When your offense is led by Aaron Rodgers, it’s hard not to be excited about the skill players surrounding him. Davante Adams finished as the number one receiver in fantasy last year and never had a game under 16 fantasy points. Aaron Jones, despite Mike McCarthy’s resistance to play him regularly, led the league in yards per carry and showed immense improvement as a pass blocker, which should keep him on the field for three downs. Young receivers like Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and Jake Kumerow are all a year older and should show some improvement with another offseason to work with Rodgers. Jimmy Graham was average as a TE last year, and the team spent a third round pick on Jace Sternberger. New head coach Matt LaFleur has more than enough toys on offense to get creative with and provide us with plenty of options for Fantasy. – The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
I’d love to tell you how much I think Aaron Jones is going to be a beast this year and finish as a top 10 RB, and his current ADP of RB18 would justify a few paragraphs, but the biggest upside candidate on the Packers this year lies in one of their second-year wide outs — Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
MVS looked the part last season when Geronimo Allison fell to injury. From Weeks 5 through 10, MVS averaged 14.62 fantasy points per game, good for WR21 numbers. (Teammate Davante Adams was number one in FPPG during the stretch, for what it’s worth.) MVS also ran more than 50% of his routes from the slot during that same stretch. With Randall Cobb now in Dallas, I’d bet MVS handles most of the slot duties (with Jimmy Graham) going forward.
Over the full season, his yards per route run wasn’t what you’d like to see — no one on the team topped 2.12 — but his yards per catch was 15.3. Much of that had to do with his ability to get downfield. He was second on the team with 311 yards on deep pass receptions (over 20 yards), and didn’t drop a single deep ball. He had an 11.3% market share of the team’s targets last year, and now there’s no more Randall Cobb (61 targets). Aaron Rodgers had the 2nd highest total pass attempts of his career last year, and the 2nd lowest completion percentage of his career as a starter. Both those numbers should return to normal with an injury-free season, meaning MVS has nowhere to go but up. Add to that his current ADP of WR63 on Sleeper, and you’re looking at the sixth or seventh WR on your team with the upside of at least a WR3. – The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Throughout the last decade, the Green Packers have been synonymous with two things – Aaron Rodgers and a high-flying passing attack. This was not the case in 2018. Aaron Rodgers only threw 25 touchdowns- the lowest number of touchdowns that he’s thrown in a 15+ game season in his career. And yes, I’m aware he was QB5 last year despite the career low in touchdowns. However, he was taken as the QB1 last year (usually in the 3rd round), and he was outscored by four QBs that all went in the double digit rounds last year (Patrick Mahomes, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, and Andrew Luck), despite playing in every game. In 9 of 17 weeks last year, Aaron Rodgers was not even a top 12 QB. Yet, Rodgers is being taken as QB3 this year. I expect he will once again not live up to expectations. Let me further explain why Aaron Rodgers is Green Bay’s candidate for fantasy downside.
The easiest arguments to make for avoiding Rodgers are his sky-high ADP and injury risk- he has missed 16 of Green Bay’s last 80 games (20% of the last 5 seasons), and he also suffered a scare in Week 1 last year against the Bears. People thought it was possible he could have missed all of last season. It’s a scary thing to be the first one to take a QB and worry about a high injury risk to said QB all year. Only 4 of his last 10 seasons has he not disappointed fantasy owners. (Six seasons of fantasy finishes below his ADP heading into said seasons).
In comparison, Matt Ryan was taken in the double-digit rounds last year. Finishing as the QB3 last year, he has a lower ADP heading into this season (QB-6; pick 6.12). Josh Allen finished as a top 5 QB the final six weeks of last year. I made a recent argument to trust him being a top 10 QB this coming season. Yet, Allen’s ADP is QB18 and is being picked in the 11th round. Last year, Kirk Cousins was the QB11 after week 16. He only averaged 2.5 fewer points per game than Rodgers, and his current ADP is even lower than Allen’s. Cousins is currently being taken as the QB19 in the twelfth round. A comparison to these quarterbacks illustrates the riskiness of Aaron Rodgers and his ADP.
Yes, I know- they hired a head coach this year that got to hang out with Sean McVay a couple of years ago. It’s fair to assume that Rodgers will be a top 10 QB if he remains relatively healthy. However, like in 60% of the last 10 years, Rodgers will likely disappoint even if he’s borderline a top 5 to 10 QB. Look elsewhere for your QB. Don’t fall into the allure of having Rodgers for name value. – Chris Molina
Never having a game under 16 points last season makes Davante Adams the best trust fall by far heading into the 2019 season. He is Aaron Rodgers favorite target, and it’s not even close. Adams competition falls into the hands of Geronimo Allison and two promising second-year guys in Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. MVS will most likely have the second most targets on the team, but nothing that will take away from the impending success of Davante Adams.
Having just four games without a touchdown (yet going over 100 yards in three of those games), Adams could be the most consistent WR in the NFL and fantasy football. Adams never had a game under five receptions, nor a game where he racked up fewer than 40 yards. Whether it be PPR or Standard scoring, there is nothing stopping Davante Adams from once again being the top WR in fantasy football this season. – Joe Zollo
In the offseason, while my top five incoming rookies were coming out, you may remember one of my tight ends — Jace Sternberger. Well, he landed in one of the perfect spots in the league in the Green Bay Packers. Sternberger has great size and build to withstand NFL defenses. As a route runner, he’s elusive and fluent in his breaks and cuts. During his time at Texas A&M, he accumulated 832 yards on 48 catches, scoring a total of 10 times. When looking at the depth chart, you’ll notice that he has some competition for a role between Marcedes Lewis and Jimmy Graham, but I wouldn’t worry. Sternberger is more of a receiving tight end, which means there will be times where he’ll line up at the slot, giving him a chance to show what kind of athlete he is. He probably won’t get immediate playing time, but have faith- Rodgers got himself a weapon that will give you the upper hand in your fantasy league. – Chris Tyler
I can almost guarantee that if you are not a Packers fan, then you do not know the name Jake Kumerow. Kumerow played in just five games last season and only recorded eight catches for just over 100 yards and a single touchdown. Why am I so high on him? Aaron Rodgers likes him. And if Aaron likes him, then he is going to be thrown the football. Take Davante Adams, for instance. When he started out, Adams ran the wrong route once and was told to get off the field by Rodgers. He had to gain the trust overtime of Rodgers and he clearly has done that. Looking at Kumerow, he does not have the same trust from Rodgers, but he does have a foundation to build off of. I’m not saying go out and draft him as a WR3 or WR4, but he can definitely find his way as a bench warmer with potential to fill in late in the season come the playoff push. – Joe Zollo
Green Bay is yet another team that does not have much to speak of in terms of individual defensive players. The defense consists of a lot of young talent that had not shown production on the fantasy side of the ball. The best young talents on the team include DL Kenny Clark and LB Blake Martinez. Blake Martinez finished fourth amongst Linebackers in fantasy football last year, and there is no reason he couldn’t finish there again. He moves sideline-to-sideline extremely quickly, and he knows how to plug gaps and play in coverage. He is an all-around player who is fantastic in both real life and in fantasy football.
Looking at Clark, he has had a combined 55 tackles each of the last two seasons, taking on a combined 10.5 sacks in those two years. Clark is a disruptive force who just shuts up and plays ball. Clark is a decent DT1 option, but in my opinion, I believe he should be targeted more as a solid backup player, rather than an everyday guy. I am a big fan of Kenny Clark the football player, but not Kenny Clark the fantasy football player. – Joe Zollo