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Sell or Sit? What to do with under-performing Packers on your Fantasy team

Maybe you went a little too homer with your fantasy team, do you wait for this offense to rebound or try to improve your fantasy standing through a trade?

NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

We are six games into the fantasy football season and it is time to take a good hard look at your roster. If you read this site, you probably like the Packers. Maybe you went a little higher to get Packers players because you have a league of Packers fans. Now you are looking at five games of data on them and you just cannot decide if you are holding on to players for your love of the players or if they have true fantasy value. This week, I am going to walk you through some of these tough decisions and give you some advice on what you should likely do.

Aaron Rodgers

Currently, Rodgers ranks seventh among quarterbacks in standard formats on a per game basis. He looks lower on straight points, but that is due to the bye week. You likely drafted him with only Cam Newton off the board. Teams behind you drafted Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford. The hope you have is that the Packers, have frequently started slowly under McCarthy in terms of fantasy production. It does take some time for the timing necessary to run this offense well to develop. This seems to have been possibly exacerbated by the fact Rodgers only ran two drives the entire preseason. Timing is off and the defenses are ahead of the Packers at this point. If you are keeping Rodgers now, you are doing so because you believe the trend will improve.

Here is the counterpoint: this trend has really been a full season. Last year, the Packers actually started off hot. In the first six games of 2015, Rodgers had 15 touchdowns and two interceptions. He was throwing for 248.5 yards per game and completing 68.13% of his passes. He maintained an 8.19 yards per attempt average. Getting above 8.00 yards/attempt is a good standard - an elite stat. Even getting 7.0 yards per attempt is an average sort of performance. Andy Dalton has a career 7.3 yards per attempt. Kirk Cousins averages 7.6 yards per attempt in his short career. Brian Hoyer has managed a 7.2 yards per attempt career average. Over the last 16 games, Rodgers has a 6.26 yards per attempt average.

Going back to the San Diego win on October 18, 2015, Rodgers is averaging 234.7 yards a game, completing 58.0% of his passes, and has a touchdown to interception ratio of 2.6:1. His career averages since becoming the Packers’ starter in 2008 are 268.1 yards per game. 64.9% completion percentage, a touchdown to interception ratio of 3.9:1 and a touchdown percentage of 6.38%. In the last 16 games, Rodgers’ interception percentage has remained right around 1.6%, but the touchdown percentage has dropped to 4.67%. Add into that the fact that 6.38% includes those 16 games. It is not just one stat and it is not only when players are hurt. It is a longer trend.

What I am doing in the leagues where I own Rodgers is looking for trade partners. I am targeting owners of Matthew Stafford, but taking a look at Andy Dalton and Marcus Mariota as well. Mariota is a last resort. He is a bit too up and down and run-dependent. The numbers are skewed by two giant games in the last two weeks, but his schedule gets easier from here on out. He has already played Minnesota and Houston and there are plenty of good matchups left for him. Dalton has been pretty consistent so far and he is keeping at or near his projections. Stafford has been in a position of throwing pretty often and Golden Tate is starting to pick up. Marvin Jones has been very good and Boldin as a third option has been nice. All these players are statistically equivalent to Rodgers at this point and maybe you can address a RB or WR need by convincing your opponent that a lateral trade is really a trade up. It is possible Dalton (79% owned in Yahoo and 69.9% in ESPN), Mariota (60% owned in Yahoo and 41.0% in ESPN) and Stafford (88% owned in Yahoo and 84.0% in ESPN) are just available in your league. Pick them up as backups and look to trade Rodgers. The name has more value than the production.

Eddie Lacy

This is a hard one. Lacy is 12th in the NFL in yards per game at 72.0. Among the top 20 running backs in yards per game, only five have a better yards/carry than Lacy (his 5.1 yards per carry is also tied with Ezekiel Elliott). If you are looking to keep Lacy, you rest on this stat and the fact that Lacy has been valuable, though not great, without scoring a touchdown through five games.

Here comes the double-edged sword of stats. Eddie Lacy ranks 20th in attempts per game, at just 14.8. Part of this is the missing some playing time with the ankle injury. Lacy did have 81 yards in a half against the Giants before an ankle injury kept him out the rest of the game. Maybe you can believe that it is what limited his carries against Dallas as well. Still, give him more carries and Eddie Lacy is an elite producer. Maybe if he were healthy the Packers give a goal line carry to Lacy rather than that quarterback draw fiasco. On the flip side, the Packers clearly have very little interest in running the football. With just two running backs, the Packers have devalued the running game recently and are running on just 41.42% of plays.

If you are looking to trade, Terrance West and Matt Jones are fairly comparable in terms of usage and production. Ryan Mathews is another player who is roughly the same in terms of fantasy production. If you have Packer fan friends who might still value Eddie, maybe you can make this work. The name value is less after the poor 2015, but Lacy has value this year and he is already done with his bye week. Personally, I have Lacy in two leagues and I am keeping him. His value is not likely to pull in enough for what he is worth. Still, he has many favorable matchups ahead as well. Yet, it is a close call.

If you have a dynasty format, trading for someone like Kenneth Dixon or Derrick Henry might get you another valuable player and someone with value in the coming years. Lacy is in his fourth year and the down-turn in his production seems possible soon. Also, this is a contract year and might celebrate an offseason deal with a burger or ten.

Jordy Nelson

We were all hoping for WR1 production when we drafted Jordy. I do not own Jordy in any leagues as I always downgraded him slightly and other managers always had him higher on the draft boards. Despite having a bye already, Nelson is tied for 19th in total targets. Jordy has only caught 55.3% of his targets so far. That has been thrown off by the 11 targets for five catches against the Vikings and the 13 targets for four catches against the Giants. Other than the big, two-touchdown game against the Lions, Jordy has been stable yet unimpressive in fantasy, usually getting just under 10 points.

If you are keeping him you say that he has a good target share and he is still getting back into timing with Rodgers so those numbers will be going up. To say this, you have to believe the Aaron Rodgers stats mentioned above are also a fluke. The biggest point is that Jordy is still getting big target numbers. If just pulls a few more of them down he would be a consistent 12-15 point per week player.

If you are thinking of trading Nelson, take a stab at getting Terrell Pryor, Sr. Roughly the same sort of production so far and it would be easy to convince most people this is a trade up rather than a lateral. You might be worried as the quarterback situation in Cleveland is hardly stable, but they are going to have to throw somewhere. If you are in the market for taking some risk, Kenny Britt has had very similar production to Nelson with the exception of a single terrible game so far. Do not give up much for Britt and remind Britt’s manager that you think it was a fluke game last week and you are not buying high. I am keeping Jordy, but I am looking to add Corey Coleman for when he does finally come back from injury. It should give me a little more WR cushion and allow me to play the matchups.

Randall Cobb/Davante Adams

Sorry, but they are essentially interchangeable parts. Cobb has now had two good games in a row, the last game buoyed by his first touchdown catch of the season. Both players have had two games getting you double digit points. Cobb has much more value in PPR formats, mostly because Cobb has had 11 targets in each of the last two weeks. The targets are more consistently Cobb’s and he has started getting the looks on underneath pass attempts while Adams is still being used primarily on the 10+ yard routes. Adams has been a better end zone target as well. Cobb might be someone you can sell high after two big weeks. Is this the new norm or is it just a blip? I think it is the start of a trend at this point. I will be entertaining trades, but not terribly invested. If I could convince someone that Cameron Meredith is a lateral trade maybe I could work out an improvement elsewhere. Adams is worth holding as a streaming option, but there is no trade market for him, especially as he works through the concussion protocol.

Other Names

There is really not much reason to be holding any other Packers players. The Defense is a streaming option at best now. The injuries at cornerback are really hurting and the run defense is not enough to make the defense valuable - they allow too many points and do not force enough turnovers. Jared Cook and Richard Rodgers are just streaming options other players’ bye weeks. Neither is consistently targeted. Even when healthy, Starks is not worth owning. He has been terrible in terms of statistical production.