We’re back to Green Bay Packers football. It was a long week without the Green and Gold and now we are back at it. This week brings a hurting Giants team to Lambeau, and plenty of other interesting matchups are heading our way this week. Again, as far as players from around the rest of the NFL, I trust you are smart enough to start your studs. I am looking for the players your rivals are overlooking.
Judging from the fast start against Detroit, Aaron is happy to be back at Lambeau. Obviously, if you have Rodgers you start him. This should be a good matchup as the Giants secondary is still recovering from injuries. Dominic Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple are working their ways back. DRC was dressed for the Minnesota game and did not play. It will important to watch the Giants injury report before you start Rodgers in Daily games.
Manning has been padding his numbers on weaker teams so far like Dallas (19th-ranked pass defense), New Orleans (28th) and Washington (25th). The thing is this will be a good match up for Eli as the Packers are currently 29th against the pass. Much of that has to do with the injury of Sam Shields. Still, the Packers defense has been strong against the run and it should allow Eli to keep being the volume player he is (attempts by game: 28, 41, 38, 45). Eli and Odell might be an interesting Daily combination, though they combine for $14,500 on Draft Kings.
The biggest issue with the fantasy value of Lacy is the usage. Lacy is averaging 5.0 yards per carry after three games but his highest carry total has been 17 to this point. Lacy has also failed to find the end zone so far. Given the limited carries and the Packers insistence on using James Starks in most passing scenarios, that makes Lacy an RB2 at this point. You still start him because, well, it is October now and Lacy usually gains momentum as the season goes on. Still, you want to see it first. Also, you cannot start Starks.
Bobby Rainey / Orleans Darkwa
These two running backs are not starters in most standard leagues. In fact, the best part of this article is writing the name Darkwa... Orleans Darkwa. Try it, it makes the day better. Anyhow, if I were taking one, I take Rainey. Packers are likely to score points and stop the run. Darkwa is just a straight ahead runner and Rainey was on the field for most passing situations. Rainey will likely get more touches in this game and will be more valuable in deeper leagues and PPR formats. But remember that the Packers are allowing just 1.8 yards per carry so far.
Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb
Mike McCarthy made some statements about how difficult it has been getting Jordy ready to be full strength while also not playing him in the preseason. Jordy has been growing in the game and he has maintained his value by being the top touchdown target for Rodgers. Cobb has yet to get things going this year. At this point Cobb’s 18 targets are only barely ahead of Davante Adams’ 16. Adams has also been more of a touchdown threat so far. Cobb is more of a flex play at this point until we see if the offense can start rolling more (as a point of order, Adams is also flex at best).
Odell Beckham, Jr. / Sterling Shepard
These have been the top two receivers on the Giants so far. The Packers have had a great deal of problems stopping number one wide receivers since Shields went out. If Shields is back he might be capable of getting in OBJ’s heads, like everybody seems to. OBJ went so far as to say he is not having any fun playing football this year. Still, if there is no Shields, OBJ might go off for more than Marvin Jones. That said, the Packers defensive backfield depth will make things harder for Shepard (and Cruz to a lesser extent). If Shields is out, OBJ might lead all receivers this week.
THE REST OF THE LEAGUE
Maybe you watched Cam Newton or Carson Palmer go down this week and you are not comfortable with your backup. Dak Prescott is still available in 47% of ESPN leagues and 41% of Yahoo leagues. Prescott has managed at least 17 points in each of his last three games. If you are looking for someone to buy low, Ryan Tannehill is still a valuable quarterback. After a bad week, his owner might be looking to sell. Analysts are also talking about Tannehill being average at best, but they are talking about Tannehill as an NFL quarterback and not a fantasy quarterback. There is no running game in Miami for the most part and Tannehill is still the 11th highest scoring quarterback, even after his poor game this last week. If you are just looking for a streaming quarterback, Paxton Lynch might be someone to watch through the week. There are some conflicting reports about whether or not Trevor Siemian will be ready this week. If not, Lynch will be going against Atlanta and the high-scoring Falcons. Lynch was not a let down when he played this weekend. He is available in just about every league (owned in 0.8% of ESPN leagues).
With the added injury to Dwayne Washington, the Lions will lean on Theo Riddick even more. Two of the top three running backs are gone and Riddick should see the overwhelming bulk of the carries and targets out of the backfield. Riddick is only owned in 84.7% of ESPN leagues and 75% of Yahoo leagues. In the short run, Terrance West will be getting the bulk of carries in Baltimore (after Justin Forsett’s release) and targets as Kenneth Dixon is eased back into the system. Dixon is the long-term solution, great vision and great hands. Dixon was the clear leader before his injury. West could be a streaming start. If you can wait, Minnesota’s Jerick McKinnon has some interesting future stock. Next week the Vikings face Houston and then there is the bye week. McKinnon saw 16 carries for 45 yards in Week 3 and then 18 carries for 85 yards in Week 4. Add to that the five targets in the passing game and McKinnon is the clear starter. On top of that the only goal line touchdown was a McKinnon carry. Asiata is done.
Baltimore’s Mike Wallace is someone I have been wary of so far. As a deep threat, he lacks the total targets and consistency to be generally immediately considered. Still, Wallace has had at least six targets every game. He is still a bit boom or bust at times, but the two point conversion last week showed that the Ravens do have some plans to target Wallace in the short game. Eddie Royal for the Bears is a player who has found ways to be relevant every week. He has seen six or more targets in three of four games and has been valuable in the return game. Royal has scored 10+ points in three of the four games so far. With the injuries to Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White (who just went on injured reserve), Royal might be even more valuable this week. Qunicy Enunwa for the Jets is another player who has been consistently valuable and might have more value in the next couple weeks due to injury. Enunwa has averaged eight targets a game. Enunwa is owned in the 37% of Yahoo leagues and 40.1% of ESPN leagues. With the injury to Eric Decker, Enunwa will likely get a few more targets. Los Angeles’ Brian Quick is the long shot guy with some high ceiling potential. Still, Quick has had three touchdowns over the last two weeks and has emerged as a favorite deep threat target in LA. The sample size is rather small, but he could be a big yardage player.
Not many surprises in the Tight End market and I have generally stayed clear of this, but if you are looking for someone, Cameron Brate is a very interesting name. Tampa Bay just cut Austin Seferian-Jenkins due to some off the field issues and the faith they have in Brate. Brate has been rather successful in two weeks. After being a backup with seven targets in two weeks, he has emerged with 18 targets, 10 catches, 113 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks.