Fantasy Football 2013: Fantasy 32; Green Bay Packers
It’s difficult for me to write about a team like the Green Bay Packers. The reason why is the fact that there is too much fantasy goodness from this team, that I’m afraid I’m going to miss something.
As we quickly come towards the final few teams in our Fantasy 32 series, I realized that I have yet to highlight the guys from Lambeau. To you cheeseheads, I apologize. However, no more waiting. Let’s get right to it.
He’s the best quarterback in the game. There, that’s all the reasoning you need, right? Okay, okay. Aaron Rodgers is my number one ranked fantasy signal caller coming into 2013, and he should be. After an impressive 2012 season consisting of 4,295 yards, 39 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a league-leading passer rating of 108.0, Rodgers inserted himself into the top-three fantasy scorers for the fifth straight season. The funny thing? Fantasy owners were declaring Rodgers’ 2012 as a down year at times. Hey, if you are putting up those numbers and it’s an off year, I can’t wait to see what happens when he isn’t “struggling.” Even with the departures of Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, there are still plenty of weapons at Rodgers’ disposal. He finished 2012 as fantasy’s number two signal caller, despite playing behind an atrocious offensive line that allowed Rodgers to be sacked a league-high 51 times. Imagine if that unit can take a step forward in 2013. That’s less dead plays off of sacks, and more opportunity to produce fantasy points. Rodgers is also one of the more athletic passers in the league, and provides some fantasy value with his legs. Over the past five seasons, Rodgers has scored 18 rushing touchdowns. To put that into perspective, Reggie Bush only has 19 scores during that span. Green Bay is going to throw the ball a ton, and with Rodgers under center, fantasy owners should expect top-notch numbers.
The Packers brought in two rookie backs during the draft this season, but will either of them have a significant fantasy impact? Eddie Lacy is my bet to enter Week 1 as the number one back on the depth chart, but his body took a beating in college. He says he is 100 percent healthy, but rushers out of Alabama have had a recent history of injury as they transition to the pros. Assuming Lacy stays on the field, he could be a big time touchdown producer. The Packers are an explosive offense that will march up and down the field behind the arm of Rodgers. Lacy will have opportunity to pound a ton of short yardage situations into the end zone, but will Green Bay run the ball? Last season the Packers scored nine rushing touchdowns, but two of them went to Rodgers and another to John Kuhn. If they give him the rock up close, Lacy is a more than capable short yardage back to score 10 times in this offense. Still, the Packers did select Johnathan Franklin in the draft as well, so don’t be surprised if we see a potential fantasy headache.
Randall Cobb. Randall Cobb. Randall Cobb. I absolutely love this guy in 2013, and why shouldn’t I be? Greg Jennings is gone, and Cobb was the most targeted Packers wideout a season ago. Keep in mind, Cobb led the team in targets despite playing 416 less snaps than fellow receiver James Jones. I have Cobb ranked eight right now, and the only person that may be higher on him than me is the guy tossing him the football. “I think Cobb is a guy who can be a 100-catch guy for us every year,” Rodgers said of his wideout. 100 catches may seem like a lot, but he caught 80 last season and will likely see even more targets this year. With Jones and Jordy Nelson manning the flanker spots, Cobb will work out of the slot, something he did a lot of in 2012. Last year he ran 84.4 percent of his routes out of the slot, which allows him to use his speed and versatility to draw mismatches for opposing defenses. I love him this year, but he isn’t the only Packers receiver. Jones absolutely emerged into a touchdown machine a season ago, leading the league in receiving touchdowns with 14. Jones was Rodgers go-to guy inside the 20, seeing a healthy 19 targets and scoring on 11 of those inside the red zone. I don’t expect him to duplicate those scoring numbers, seeing as his career-high prior to this season was seven. However, I do think he will continue to see the looks when it counts. Finally, there’s Nelson. After coming off of a 2011 campaign in which he scored a whopping 15 touchdowns, resulting in a fantasy rank of second among receivers, Nelson had some injury issues in 2012. He injured his hamstring in Week 7 and it continued to bother him all season long. He only played in 12 contests last year, but still managed seven touchdowns. He’s not going to be the focal point of the passing game, but I expect him to lead the team in touchdowns and finish in the top-five in football this season.
Jermichael Finley was a major disappointment in 2012, catching 61 balls for 667 yards and a measly two scores. That stat line was good enough for him to finish as fantasy’s number 17 tight end, behind guys like Scott Chandler and Brandon Myers. It’s frustrating to see Finley struggle because there aren’t many tight ends more athletic than the 26-year old. He looked strong after the bye week, catching 37 balls for 441 yards and a score. As long as he can stay on the same page with his quarterback, who just happens to be the best in the game, Finley could be one of the better bounceback candidates in 2013.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.