INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Packers are a one-dimensional offense. Last year they were third in the NFL in yards per game with 405.1 YPG. And they averaged 307.8 YPG passing. As such, they ranked 28th in the NFL in rushing with less than 100 YPG every game. Expect similar output this year, and therefore, avoid any and all Packer running backs for your fantasy squad. And conversely, there are many receivers that are fantasy worthy, as well as the most prolific fantasy scorer, Aaron Rodgers.
The Packers are blessed with one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. According to Vegas, they have the second easiest schedule in the entire NFL. That’s almost unfair for a team that is so close to another championship. .
Jordy Nelson was the best fantasy wide receiver on the Packers last year. Yes, better than Greg Jennings, who did miss some time with injuries. Nelson has 68 catches for 1,263 yards and 15 TDs to Jennings 67 for 949 and only 9 TDs. Nelson is a top 15 fantasy WR and has become one of the most dangerous weapons for Aaron Rodgers. I expect similar output from him this season.
As I mentioned, avoid all Green Bay running backs and James Starks is no exception. He scored one touchdown last year. ONE! The situation is so bad that the Packers signed Cedric Benson and it’s looking more likely that he’ll start Game 1 for the Pack. Despite his history, Benson is no more a viable option than Starks, so avoid him too.
Randall Cobb is a hot name in fantasy. Some experts expect big things from Cobb, who was second in the NFL in kickoff return average. If your league rewards individual players for special teams yards or points, elevate Cobb further on your list. As a receiver, Cobb is on the up. He had 375 yards last year on 25 catches. Not impressive numbers, but his touches are expected to increase this year, and Cobb is the type that can take it to the house any time the football is in his hands.
Outside of signing Cedric Benson, the Packers did almost nothing in free agency. Their rookie draft was focused on shoring up their defense, with their first six rookie picks devoted to defense. Probably not a bad strategy for a team that is one of the best offensively. Benson cannot be trusted to contribute to your fantasy squad and should only be looked at as an emergency option or bye week fill-in.
The only thing to monitor is where James Jones will fall on the depth chart. He’s obviously behind Nelson and Jennings, but he’ll battle it out with Cobb for passes and touches. There should be enough to go around. Jones managed 38 catches for 635 yards and 7 TDs last year, so he does have fantasy relevance. But, see how he looks in preseason, and how much on the up Cobb is, because some of Jones’ production could be diminished with that. Otherwise, Jones even has fantasy value for your squad.
Even though he’s old, Donald Driver still could serve as worst-case scenario, bench builder for a fantasy squad, especially in deeper leagues. Though not guaranteed to make the squad, Driver reworked his contract, and is a fan favorite, so expect the veteran to be back again. Driver had 6 touchdowns last year even though his production and catches are dropping. No reason to think that you couldn’t catch lightning in a bottle with Driver. If you are in a smaller league, Driver won’t be worth a stash, but in deeper leagues, why not look for the veteran as depth? He’s still a favorite target of Rodgers.
Fantasy Football, NFL