With the 2016 fantasy football season fast approaching, here is your team preview for the Green Bay Packers.
When 3,821 yards, a completion percentage over 60 percent and 31 touchdowns looks like a bad season, you know someone is pretty good. Aaron Rodgers was still a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2015, and there’s a chance he becomes a value pick in drafts and auctions this year.
Brett Hundley is obviously no threat to Rodgers this year, but he’s shaping up to be an interesting stash in dynasty leagues if you’re so inclined.
Eddie Lacy was surely one of the first five running backs off the board in 2015 fantasy drafts, then he fell on his face (758 rushing yards, three touchdowns) amid concerns about his weight and conditioning. There’s rebound appeal here, as he remains Green Bay’s clear No. 1 back, but hopefully you don’t draft until after training camp starts in order to get an idea what Lacy’s physique looks like.
James Starks didn’t find a starting opportunity on the free agent market, so he re-signed with Green Bay. He was productive in 2015, with 993 total yards on 191 touches (43 receptions), so if Lacy disappoints again or gets hurt Starks will be a fantasy factor.
Jordy Nelson missed all of last season with a torn ACL, and all reports suggest he’s back to full strength and ready to go. Any risk he’ll never quite be the same is mitigated by his chemistry with Rodgers, and Nelson is worth drafting as a WR1 as long as he has not setbacks with his knee.
Randall Cobb moved up the Packers’ wide receiver pecking order last year with Nelson out, and he did not deliver great numbers (79 catches for 829 yards and six touchdowns). Moving back into his customary role should help this year, and Cobb could be regarded as a WR1 in PPR leagues.
Jeff Janis‘ Divisional Round showing against the Arizona Cardinals (seven receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns) has made him the favorite to be Green Bay’s No. 3 wide receiver. That has been fruitful territory for fantasy owners in the past, so Janis has sleeper potential.
Davante Adams failed to step up in a bigger role in 2015, with just 50 catches for 483 yards and one touchdown in 13 games played. He may be on the roster bubble entering training camp, but Adams is a name for fantasy owners to note in case injuries occur above him on the depth chart.
Jared Abbrederis took on a bigger role in last year’s playoffs, but the Packers may have a hard time making room for him on the 53-man roster. Abbrederis needs to land elsewhere to be a real fantasy factor.
The Packers have not had a consistently fantasy relevant tight end since Jermichael Finley, and their signing of Jared Cook is a move to change that. He has only even been a top-15 fantasy tight end once in his career, but with a good quarterback Cook is a possible sleeper to target.
Richard Rodgers had a decent season in 2015, with 58 receptions for 510 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s not draftable right now, as long as Cook’s recent foot surgery is not a lingering issue, but Rodgers would be a priority waiver wire add if Cook were to be sidelined at all during the season.
Green Bay’s offensive drop-off last year affected Mason Crosby, as he did not top 30 field goal attempts (24-for-28) for the first time since 2011 with a career-low 36 extra point attempts (36-for-36). A rebound is in line for 2016, and Crosby gets plenty of opportunities from long-range too (27-for-52 on field goals of 50 or more yards in his career).
The Packers’ defense is strictly a matchup play for fantasy owners.
From an IDP standpoint, outside linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers (10.5 sacks in 2015) look like good options. Matthews’ stock is on the rise, with a move back outside full-time, and Peppers carries some appeal in deeper leagues.
Rookie inside linebacker Blake Martinez looks likely to step into a prominent role right away, and his final two seasons at Stanford (240 total tackles, four interceptions) point to some fantasy potential if he plays a lot. Keep an eye on news surrounding Martinez during camp, and be ready to use a late draft pick on him in an IDP league.
Green Bay’s secondary looks more fruitful from a fantasy angle, with safety Ha Ha Clinton Dix (100 total tackles, three sacks, two interceptions), safety Morgan Burnett and cornerback Demarious Randall all worth a look.