PACKERS FANTASY FRIDAY: 2015 Preview

If you stay tuned to the Podcast app on your phone (because I know you’re subscribing to Packers Talk Radio Network, why wouldn’t you be, we rock) you’ll be getting From the Benches’ fantasy football preview.  It’s very good and Ryan and I had a lot of fun doing it.  With that said, I understand that not all of you have 45 minutest to listen to the two of us ramble.

I’ll go through each of the Packers fantasy contributors here and give you some outside the box looks at why I hold the opinions that I do about each player.  I’m basing these opinions on a 10 team .5 PPR league.  One because that gives PPR leagues and standard leagues an even-ish look and two because I’m very selfish.

Let’s get started:

Aaron Rodgers– #1 overall, duh.  I kid, I kid.  Rodgers was fantastic last season, was the NFL’s MVP, he’s my favorite player of all time, he led fantasy football in scoring and I’m not going to be able to take him in the first round.  We even give 5 points instead of the standard 4 for passing TDs and I can’t do it.  The issue is positional scarcity.  Rodgers only provided about 1/3rd of a point more per game than second place Andrew Luck and only 3/4 of a point per game more than 3rd place Russell Wilson.  You can get QB points elsewhere.

I’m of the opinion that if Rodgers was more involved in the second half of the Minnesota, Carolina, Chicago and Philadelphia games at home his numbers would have been a little more inflated.  I have to be honest, though, it’s entirely possible that the second half of some games against weak teams at Lambeau Field are going to be snoozefest worthy.  Rodgers is a fine QB, and you have to take him early, just don’t do it until the middle of the 2nd round.

Eddie Lacy- #1 overall, actually.  Le’Veon Bell is suspended for 2 games and is only going to provide you with 13 usable fantasy weeks.  Adrian Peterson is 30 and doesn’t score.  Jamaal Charles didn’t crack the top 6 in scoring last season.  Marshawn Lynch is also over 30 and the Seahawks just gave up a ton to get Russell Wilson a shiny new toy.  Lacy has the least amount of questions.

He’s a true “three down back”.  Lacy is one of the finest pass protecting backs in the league per Pro Football Focus.  He has McCarthy’s trust and a decent set of hands, so he never has to come off the field for football reasons, only fatigue/snap count.  Lacy averages 2.8 yards after contact per attempt, which is very, very good.  The bottom line is that Eddie Lacy is going to be the unquestioned #1 running back on the best offense in the league.  He gets the goal line carries.  Lacy’s a very good bet for 1200 rushing yards and 12 TDs with 50 catches and another 500 yards.  Just sign me up for that.

James Starks- if you draft Eddie Lacy, take Starks in the second or third to last round.  I don’t think anyone else is going to be interested in him but if something bad happens to Lacy you’re going to want to be the guy who owns Starks.  I’m not a big “handcuff” guy, but Starks is so clearly the next guy after Lacy that he has roster value there.

Jordy Nelson- top 5 receiver, has to come off the board in the second round.  Nelson finished 3rd in receiver scoring in standard leagues a season ago.  He often isn’t given the respect he deserves for a number of reasons. His QB gets a lot of the credit, he’s not a Dez/Julio size speed freak and people worry about Randall Cobb.  You really shouldn’t.  Nelson is a lock for 90+ catches, 1500+ yards and double digit touchdowns.  Nelson has played in 105 of 112 possible games so durability is not an issue.

Nelson gets over 28% of the balls that Aaron Rodgers lets fly.  Considering Rodgers has a mind bottling rating of 128.2 when targeting Nelson, that’s a good thing.  There is nothing more exciting on a fantasy football sunday than when the Packers run the “shot play.”  It’s a play that is run almost exclusively to Nelson and it looks a lot like this:

I like to squeal “Wheeeeeeeee” when the ball’s in the air.

Randall Cobb- A top 10 receiver and a surefire 3rd round pick.  Cobb is an excellent selection as a top receiver if you have gone a different direction in rounds 1 and 2.  I don’t have a problem with Cobb in the second round if you play in a PPR league.  He has 100 catch capability.  He also gets carries.  Until Davante Adams really shows something, Cobb is the 1B of the most prolific offense in football.  It’s a true Bruce/Holt, Wayne/Harrison situation.

When I talked about Aaron Rodgers’ ridiculous rating while targeting Jordy Nelson I wasn’t kidding.  It was the #2 QB-WR rating in the league.  Thing is #1 was Rodgers to Cobb.  134.3.  I mean good sweet lord 158.3 is perfect.  The best quarterback rating of all time is (guess who) Aaron Charles Rodgers with a 106.0 (lol).  The efficiency with which Rodgers gets the ball to Cobb makes it very useful to have him on your fantasy team.  Cobb has a low weekly floor with plenty of upside.

Davante Adams– Top 40 Wide Receiver.  A guy I’m going to target in the 10th or 11th round.  He’s a guy that’s going to allow me to take guys at other spots before I snag my 4th receiver, because I believe Adams can be that.  I think it’s unlikely that you get a full 16 games full of Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson like you did a season ago.  In ANY game that either Cobb or Nelson miss, Davante Adams becomes a top 15 play at the position, making him a WR2 or flex play.

Not only does Adams become very, very valuable if something bad were to happen to Nelson or Cobb but the Packers have offered 3 useful receiving fantasy options in the past.  James Jones and even Jarrett Boykin have been repeatedly startable receivers even during the peak of Cobb/Nelson’s powers.  The Colts Wayne/Stokely/Harrison trio and the Broncos Decker/Welker/Thomas trio all worked under Peyton Manning.  Rodgers is a better player and I think we’re looking at a 50 TD season.  Without a dependable tight end Adams is going to be a useful flex play.

Richard Rodgers/Andrew Quarless- Unless something drastic happens neither are fantasy relevant in a 10 or 12 team league.  If you’ve got a guy you really like (Gronk, Olsen or Graham) and they go down with an injury and you don’t want to drop them, use Rodgers against a weak defense and pray for a touchdown.  That’s about all I have on the subject.

I don’t care about kickers or defenses.  Full stop.  Don’t take a kicker until the last round of your draft and stream defenses.

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Ross Uglem is a writer at PackersTalk.com. You can follow Ross on twitter at RossUglem

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