Don't be afraid to start the Packers on your fantasy team this week, with one notable exception.
The Jacksonville Jaguars come to Lambeau Field this Sunday, and they will arrive without their one major weapon who is worthy of fantasy football consideration: Maurice Jones-Drew. Their defense ranks 24th in passing yards allowed and 29th in rushing yards allowed, combining for an overall yardage ranking of 28th in the NFL and a points defense ranking of 26th. You can probably guess what's going to happen here, but let's get to it anyway.
GB: QB Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers has been as hot as a quarterback can be over the past two weeks, and he has been a steady fantasy contributor over the past four. He's scored 24 points or more in each of those four games. The Jaguars' defense doesn't show much promise in terms of stopping Rodgers, and he shows no sign of slowing down.
Wait and see:
GB: WR Jordy Nelson
Nelson may have tweaked his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, but don't expect it to slow him down considerably against Jacksonville. He has caught at least six passes for a minimum of 84 yards in each of the Packers' wins this season, and has five touchdowns in the past four games. His short-term success is even better, with over 120 yards in each of the past two weeks. Start him against a Jaguars secondary which shouldn't be able to keep him in check.
Start with confidence:
GB: WR Randall Cobb, Defense/Special Teams
Cobb's rise in production in the past two weeks went right along with Rodgers looking like the QB he was in 2011. He's been a 10-point producer each of the past three weeks, with his big game last week being indicative of his route-running and quickness. Those qualities will serve him well again this week, as the Jaguars will be hard-pressed to find anyone who can cover him reliably.
The Jaguars' starting quarterback isn't at full strength and they're without their star running back; plus, they have allowed 18 sacks in six games. Regardless of whether Blaine Gabbert starts or the Jaguars roll with backup Chad Henne, the Packers' pass rush should be in the face of the Jaguars' quarterback early and often and should have no trouble keeping the league's last-ranked offense (in both yards and points) in unfavorable situations. I'll go out on a limb and predict a defensive touchdown this week as well.
Jones' production dropped off last week after his three straight two-touchdown games. Really though, Jones' number of catches and yardage production wasn't any different from the games in that streak - he actually caught more passes (six) against St. Louis than he did in any of the prior three games (high of five). It just happened that those passes weren't in the red zone last week. He'll likely get you 40-50 yards, and the shot at a score is what could make him worthy of a Flex play this week.
Green should find his most running room so far this week, with the Jaguars giving up loads of yardage on the ground. Honestly though, I'm a little worried that the Jaguars' pass defense won't keep the Packers' receivers out of the end zone this week, so Green might have to get you his points based on yardage instead of a touchdown. He's a help in PPR leagues though, as he showed last week that he can be an active receiver (4 catches, 29 yards).
Jennings takes over for Jones-Drew, and will get the bulk of the carries for the Jaguars. He carried the ball 21 times after MJD went down last week, so there's no time share in play. He's got the best chance of anyone on the Jaguars to get into the end zone this week.
Wait and see:
GB: WR Jordy Nelson
Nelson tweaked his hamstring in practice on Wednesday, and coach Mike McCarthy said he will be re-evaluated on Saturday. If he can play, don't expect him to be limited too much by the Jaguars' secondary. He has caught at least six passes for a minimum of 84 yards in each of thePackers' wins this season, and has five touchdowns in the past four games. His short-term success is even better, with over 120 yards in each of the past two weeks. If he get the go-ahead to play, start him against a Jaguars secondary which shouldn't be able to keep him in check. If he can't go, however, Jones should be bumped up to solid WR2 status.
Playing the lottery:
JAX: WR Cecil Shorts
Shorts has been the only real playmaker in the passing game, and I see him as being similar to Chris Givens last week. He's a lottery play, with a shot to take a short pass 50+ yards for a score and just as good a chance to leave you with a goose-egg on the scoreboard. If you're stretched due to byes, though, he's worth a look.
Finley has a chance to bounce back this week, but the Jaguars have actually been pretty stingy to tight ends this year, allowing an average of only 4.3 fantasy points to that position. Whether Gabbert or Henne starts, either will be under a lot of pressure and won't have much to work with in terms of receiving weapons. Blackmon hasn't developed much to this point, and he doesn't have Shorts' big-play ability. And finally, if you are even considering starting the Jaguars' defense, may whatever God(s) you believe in have mercy on your soul.