Packers vs. Browns Fantasy Advice: Start Jarrett Boykin; Bench Willis McGahee

Patrick McDermott

With Green Bay down a few playmakers on both sides of the ball, expect Cleveland to take advantage. But both teams should feature big performances from a couple players who have been pretty quiet in 2013.

This Week 7 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Green Bay Packers is a much more interesting game in late October than it would have been in early September. In Week 1, the Packers had a brand new, shiny backfield to pair with a young, athletic linebacking corps. The Browns were introducing a new offense with the 2012 third overall pick running between the tackles in Trent Richardson, an unproven--but highly touted--tight end in Jordan Cameron and wide receiving corps liking a suspended Josh Gordon.

Fast forward to October 20. Richardson is a Colt. Gordon and Cameron are destroying secondaries. Green Bay is missing four starters in their back eight. For the second straight week, this Packers game has the makings of a high-scoring affair.

I got fried on Twitter last week for projecting a Packers/Ravens shootout. The total stayed well below what Vegas projected with Randall Cobb and James Jones getting hurt. While my yardage totals weren't all that far off (sorry about that, Eddie Lacy), my touchdowns were.

That's important to remember when you're reading fantasy predictions. Touchdowns are so dicey. Sometimes they come in bunches. Sometimes they don't come at all. So when you're setting your lineups, always err on the yardage totals over the touchdown projections. Yardage and touches are much easier to predict than who "lucks" into a touchdown every week. That said, here's my forecast for Sunday's game:

QUARTERBACKS

Aaron Rodgers won't have Cobb, and probably not Jones either. But he'll still have a bevy of weapons. Rodgers is good enough to make his receivers a lot better than they are. Clevelend's Brandon Weeden is not, but his supporting cast should be able to keep him from embarrassing himself.

Aaron Rodgers: 280 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 0 interceptions; 30 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in nearly every league

Brandon Weeden: 210 yards, 2 passing touchdowns; 2 interceptions; 5 rushing yards
Verdict: Start only in start 2-QB leagues

RUNNING BACKS

Green Bay leaned heavily on Lacy last week when Cobb and Jones left the game. I expect a big dose of him again this week as the Packers lay out an attack with the ground game heavily involved. Cleveland has the offensive line to produce a good NFL running back. But Willis McGahee is simply too old and too dinged to be it. Chris Ogbannaya however should have some healthy garbage time when Cleveland tries to catch up.

Eddie Lacy: 115 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns; 3 catches, 25 receiving yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in nearly every league

Johnathan Franklin: 15 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns; 0 receiving yards
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Willis McGahee: 35 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns; 1 catch, 5 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in most leagues

Chris Ogbannaya: 30 rushing yards, 0 touchdowns; 6 catches, 40 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start as an RB2 in 12-team PPR leagues

WIDE RECEIVERS

Welcome to the party, Jarrett Boykin. Rodgers called him one of the smartest guys on the team this week, and anytime an MVP is going to make a comment like that, I'm going to listen. I don't think Jones plays, and Cobb is basically out for the year. Boykin makes a great plug-and-play this week if you have Marques Colston or Denarius Moore on a bye. Gordon is going to give Green Bay fits, but I don't think Greg Little is going to continue his resurgence this week.

Jordy Nelson: 8 catches, 110 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Jarrett Boykin: 6 catches, 70 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start as a WR2 in all leagues

Josh Gordon: 9 catches, 120 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Greg Little: 4 catches, 40 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

Davone Bess: 5 catches, 45 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

TIGHT ENDS

Jermichael Finley will be a much bigger part of the offense this week, but Lacy will rule the end zone. So Finley will be grabbing most of his fantasy stats in between the 20s. Jordan Cameron is a big-time mismatch for the Pack's linebackers. I expect Morgan Burnett and MD Jennings covering him most of the day. Still, Cameron is going to get his for sure.

Jermichael Finley: 7 catches, 80 yards, 0 touchdowns
Verdict: Start in all leagues

Jordan Cameron: 8 catches, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
Verdict: Start in all leagues

KICKERS

Mason Crosby continues to roll. If you have him, you don't need to be searching elsewhere on the waiver wire. I foresee extra points for him this week, but those could easily turn into field goals. And if you're playing Billy Cundiff this week, you've either given up on the season or are a huge Browns fan.

Mason Crosby: 4 extra points
Verdict: Start in most leagues for offensive upside

Billy Cundiff: 2 extra points, 1 field goal
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

DEFENSES

Green Bay really surprised me last week with how they shut down Baltimore without Matthews and Jones. Now they'll have to do it without Perry as well. Capers is sure to call a good game and take advantage of Weeden's inexperience/not-very-good-edness and force a couple turnovers at a minimum. Cleveland's defense is above average, but you don't want to start them in Lambeau this week:

Packers: 2 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, 315 yards, 17 points allowed
Verdict: Start in most 12-team leagues

Browns: 1 sack, 0 fumble recoveries, 0 interceptions, 0 touchdowns, 460 yards, 28 points allowed
Verdict: Bench in all leagues

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