This pack will help lead you to a fantasy title in 2017.
The Green Bay Packers did not hit their stride until the last six games of the season where they ran the table and scored nearly 31 points per game. Fantasy standouts Aaron Rodgers (QB), Jordy Nelson (WR) and Davante Adams (WR) finished first, second, and seventh at their positions respectively. As long as Rodgers is on the team, he and the Packers’ targets will remain among the league’s most productive year-to-year.
This weekly series of columns will focus on one to two teams and their fantasy-relevant players heading into next season. Player rankings are broken up into three tiers: ‘Start ‘Em’, ‘Flex or Stream ‘Em’, and ‘Pick ‘Em Up’. Portions of this series take place during free agency; therefore, players are subject to change. Notable Packers free agent signees include tight ends Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks. All fantasy rankings and stats are from Pro Football Reference.
Rodgers is quite possibly the most obvious of starts at the quarterback position. The two-time NFL MVP continues to solidify his fantasy worth nearly every season, finishing top two in points at his position seven times during his career. Rodgers will have the same slew of targets to throw to as in years passed plus an added weapon in Martellus Bennett, so he should be the first QB off the board in most drafts.
After Nelson’s 2015 season was derailed by a torn ACL, there were many doubts about his returning to his previous form. Nelson proved those doubters wrong by finishing second among wide receivers in fantasy points for the third time in his career, racking up over 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns on 97 catches. He will remain Rodgers’ top target and should be a second round pick after the top tier wide receivers (Odell Beckham Jr., Julio Jones, Antonio Brown) are taken.
Adams was one of the league’s best scoring threats last season, catching 9 of his 12 touchdowns in the red zone. He finished behind only the aforementioned Nelson in red zone touchdowns in 2016. As successful as Ty Montgomery was as a running back down the stretch last season, he is not a 20-touch a game type of back— therefore, the red zone targets will still be there for Adams and the rest of the Packers pass catchers. Adams is a WR2 in all formats.
The newest Packer has been one of the most consistent tight ends over the past four seasons, finishing top 10 in fantasy points in three of them. It’s possible that he gets overshadowed in an already star-studded receiving offense, but Bennett will be a no-brainer starter in your lineup regardless. His average draft position was 10th last season, and it will only rise with the struggles of Coby Fleener, Gary Barnidge and Antonio Gates, who were taken above him.
Flex or Stream ‘Em
The wide receiver-turned-running back made the most of his opportunity last season, rushing for nearly six yards per carry on 77 carries. He only had more than 10 carries in a game once, but his 44 catches he tallied along with his rushes gives him value as a flex play. With Eddie Lacy now out of town and a new feature running back not yet on the horizon, it seems that Montgomery’s role will only grow.
Pick ‘Em Up
After his breakout 2014 season where he caught 91 balls for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns, Cobb has yet to come close to those numbers, and seems to continually be falling out of favor in the offense. He is worth a bench stash as the season begins just in case he finds his stride and becomes a consistent contributor to the offense. If any offense can support three relevant fantasy wide receivers, it’s the Packers.
The rookie undrafted free agent came on late last season, catching 8 balls for 157 yards and a touchdown in the last two weeks. He still has a lot to prove, but if he continues to progress, he could continue to see time as a fourth wide receiver, or potentially a third if Cobb regresses even more. He is not a standard or PPR pick up at the start of next season, but he is a worthy dynasty snag in the hopes of production.
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The success of the Packers offense is a direct reflection of Aaron Rodgers continually making plays no other quarterback in the league can make. Us fantasy players will yet again see that translate into great fantasy seasons for Rodgers and his trio of targets in Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Martellus Bennett. If Ty Montgomery takes another step forward as a lead back, and Randall Cobb finds his 2014 form, the offense could be the most explosive in the NFL.
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