Another extremely talented WR went down before the season even started, as Jordy Nelson suffered a non-contact injury during the Packers’ second preseason game and has been diagnosed with a torn ACL. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, it’s hard to expect the Packers vaunted passing attack to diminish significantly, so which receivers are going to step up in place of the Pro Bowl wideout?
Let’s make one thing clear, other receivers are capable of getting open for Aaron Rodgers, but no one can combine the complex route-running ability with blinding speed like Nelson did over the past few years. The most likely candidate to step up would of course be Randall Cobb, who is now the unquestioned No. 1 WR in Green Bay, but I’m not certain that justifies a huge rise in ADP for him.
Cobb is a great young player with incredible quickness and good hands. He’s a nightmare for defensive backs when he draws single coverage, yet he may no longer get many one-on-one matchups. Cobb isn’t a tall receiver that’s going to come down with contested catches, and Rodgers certainly isn’t going to force the ball into double coverage if opposing defenses key in on the 5th-year wideout.
That may create the opportunity for Davante Adams to see heavy usage on the opposite side of the field as Green Bay’s WR2, which would make him a very solid WR2 option at his current sixth-round ADP (76.4). After an impressive (if inconsistent) second half of the 2014-15 season, Adams was already a favorite to break out this season, and now he has a clear path to playing a high percentage of snaps with the best QB in the league throwing to him. The 6-foot-1 Fresno State product is going to become much more well known this season.
Much like Cobb, Eddie Lacy is another well known commodity on the Packers might see a slight rise in ADP. Yet Lacy thrived off defenses sagging out of the tackle box last season as they guarded against Nelson’s deep routes, which certainly helped the big back manage 4.6 yards per carry. Although they will try to establish the run, the Packers aren’t going to suddenly abandon an elite passing attack because their top wideout went down, so Lacy’s stock is transfixed or falling.
If Rodgers is going to keep throwing, some relatively unknown prospects will become viable fantasy commodities, and the most likely candidate to go from unownable to startable is TE Richard Rodgers. The 6-foot-4 rookie only caught 20 of his 30 targets last season, but reportedly showed major improvement during training camp, and has been heavily targeted in red zone packages according to Packers beat writer Rob Demovsky. He’s a legitimate sleeper who just became a bit safer with Nelson likely done for the year.
Finally, someone is going to have to step up and take over Adams’ former role as the Packers third WR. If Green Bay decides to move Cobb to the outside, Myles White would likely step into a bigger role as Green Bay’s slot receiver. He stepped up with Cobb injured during the 2013-14 season, and did very little with his playing time, which makes him more of a longshot to retain fantasy value.
The best deep sleeper in the Packers receiving corps is probably second-year WR Jeff Janis. At 6-foot-3, 219 pounds, he’s more of an inside receiver than a versatile threat like Nelson, and has been struggling throughout training camp. Still, Janis was the fist wideout off the bench after Nelson suffered his injury, so he could
Finally, rookie WR Ty Montgomery could curry more favor with the coaching staff as the preseason rolls on. He seems to have more natural ability than Janis, and drew rave reviews during training camp before struggling in the Packers first dress rehearsal. It’s tough to trust the third-round pick in his rookie season, but opportunity is value in fantasy football, and the opportunity to play with Aaron Rodgers makes Montgomery worth a look.
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