Fantasy Football 2014: Randall Cobb Can’t Be Relied On As a WR1
Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb got off to a great start in 2013, with 25 receptions for 325 yards in the first four games. He had four more catches for 53 yards in Week 6 against the Baltimore Ravens, but he suffered a broken right fibula in that game and did not return until Week 17. With James Jones leaving Green Bay in free agency this offseason, Cobb is in line for an expanded role this year and if Aaron Rodgers can stay healthy big numbers are surely in store.
Cobb was popular in fantasy football circles at this time last year, coming off a 2012 season where he had 80 receptions for 954 yards and eight touchdowns. He was justifying that optimism prior to his injury, but the collarbone injury that sidelined Rodgers for essentially eight games surely would have thrown Cobb off the 100-catch pace he set during the first month of the season.
Cobb had nine red zone targets during his truncated 2013 season, which is more volume in that area of the field than you would expect for a smaller receiver. But he only had eight red zone targets in 2012, over 15 games played, so I expect Cobb’s usage when the Packers approach the end zone to be unpredictable at best this year.
After having his role as a return man virtually eliminated last year, Cobb is listed as the Packers’ No. 1 punt returner ahead of Week 1. That bolsters his value in leagues that count return yardage, and adds the possibility of an extra touchdown or two in that role, but seeing a lot of action as a punt returner does not greatly impact my outlook for Cobb from a fantasy perspective.
Cobb has terrific upside in PPR leagues, with an average draft position at the back end of the second round in that format which reflects that. But his average draft position is virtually the same in standard leagues, as the 10th wide receiver off the board, which means he could be a WR1 for a lot of fantasy owners if they chose to draft other positions with their first couple picks. That’s a situation I wouldn’t want to be in, so regardless of scoring format I’m selling Cobb as anything more than a high-end WR2 this year.