When you are evaluating this week’s Green Bay Packers game against Washington, it might look a lot like the Atlanta game. Washington is a great passing offense and an okay running team. Washington is the third-ranked passing attack and still a top 15 rushing team (12th ranked in yards per game). Keeping that in mind, here are the fantasy players to watch in this week’s Packers tilt.
Rodgers gets another middling pass defense this week. Aaron started last week’s game slowly against Tennessee and came back strong in fantasy, by throwing a high volume. Expect Rodgers to again be the entire focus of the Packers offense. Sure, James Starks will start to see more carries as time goes on, (as will new addition Christine Michael) but the Packers are going to have to score this week. Rodgers is a top five fantasy quarterback and you start him every week, but again, I am not starting him in my Daily leagues. I am not keen on the price for his services.
His postgame yelling is just as fun as his actual play. Cousins has been a good actual QB and a low-end QB1 in fantasy. Cousins is 8th in the NFL in passing yards per game, but tied for 13th in touchdowns. Touchdowns are the biggest part of a fantasy score and Cousins is okay at this. Oddly, while Washington is the fourth ranked offense in yards/game, they are the 16th ranked offense in points/game. Cousins has only had one multiple touchdown game and has just one touchdown in the last three games. That makes him a low-end QB1 this week. Not starting him in Daily because there is no clear pairing with a receiver that excites me.
James Starks/Ty Montgomery/Christine Michael
Starks led the Packers in rushing last week with all of 33 yards on seven carries. The carries will go up this week. Starks had a small sample size, but ran for 4.7 yards per carry. This immediately decreases the value of Ty Montgomery. Montgomery will be more of a third down back and likely in the backfield more frequently if the Packers fall behind. Neither of these players excite you and both are generally flex plays at best. Starks is far more likely to get any goal line carries. Since Starks seems more likely to fall into the end zone, I would make him slightly higher on the list.
For now, add and stash Michael if he is available, but don’t expect him to do much this Sunday, as the Packers will likely only have a couple of packages prepared for him on offense.
Rob Kelley/Matt Jones
I’m not ranking Chris Thompson as Kelley and Jones have taken the clear lead. Thompson is a possible pass catching back if Washington falls behind badly, but even then he has limited value. Rob Kelley is the clear leader and has been averaging 4.3 yards a carry since taking the lead back role two games ago. Kelley is a low end-RB2 or a flex play this week. While top tier running backs (Ezekiel Elliott and DeMarco Murray) have torn apart the Packers defense, average running backs have been okay to bad. Look for Kelley to have 50-60 yards. At that point you are just gambling on him finding the end zone. Matt Jones is a flex at best. He will not see enough carries to be valuable.
Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb/Davante Adams
Start them all. While Nelson has been nice, but not great this year, he is tied for eighth in the NFL with 91 targets. He is on pace for the most targets of his career (161 targets would crush his previous high of 142). Davante is the next best fantasy player. He is out targeting Cobb 74 to 65. Adams, though far behind Nelson in targets, has matched him with 50 catches now and Nelson only has 14 more yards. For all intents and purposes, Adams is the Packers’ second wide receiver. Adams and Nelson have combined for 14 of Rodgers 22 touchdown passes. Nelson is a low-end WR1 and Adams is a high-end WR2. Cobb has come on great in the last four games. The touchdowns are up now and Cobb is a solid WR2.
DeSean Jackson/Pierre Garcon/Jamison Crowder
Crowder is the top guy here (just as we all predicted pre-season). Crowder is very much like Stefon Diggs or Cole Beasley. He gets the ball in the short game in the high-percentage targets, and he makes yards after the catch. DeSean Jackson is a one trick pony. It is a great trick, he out runs everyone down the field and scores (or just fumbles the ball at the one). Still, he is reaching the end of that trick. Pierre Garcon was the short threat previously, but Crowder has usurped that role. Expect Crowder to be a solid WR2 and Garcon to be a flex this week. I would not start DeSean Jackson unless you are looking for one possible home run hitting hero. Maybe he explodes, but this is not the sort of receiver who hurts the Packers.
REST OF THE LEAGUE
Marcus Mariota should be owned in every league. If you did not know about him before he beat up the Packers pass defense, you know now. Mariota has 2+ touchdowns in six straight games and 3+ in four of those six games. Also, 280+ yards in five of those six. Now, Mariota will face a the Colts. Mariota is a top-five QB and is available in 11% of Yahoo leagues and 23.3% of ESPN leagues. Blake Bortles has suffered from diminished play this year, but he is currently a low-end QB1 to high-end QB2 by points. Bortles has multiple touchdowns in each of his last three games. Bortles went against Kansas City and Houston in those games so it was not low level competition. Bortles is available in 30% or Yahoo and ESPN leagues. His poorer performances in weeks six and seven harmed his overall value, but he is still valuable and this week he gets to play Detroit.
C.J. Prosise had a very nice game in his first chance to be the top guy in Seattle. His value was so high that the news that Thomas Rawls is ready to come back led the Seahawks to cut Christine Michael. Prosise looked good last week and that was against the Patriots, who routinely take away running backs. Prosise will still have value with Rawls on the field because he can line up out wide and he can play all three downs. He has managed double digit points in two of the last three weeks. Prosise is available in 41% of Yahoo leagues and 60.9% of ESPN leagues.
Theo Riddick was dropped last week during the Lions’ bye week and his ownership is still low. Riddick is on the field all three downs. Jacksonville has been a good defense this year, but Riddick has been valuable in all scenarios. Having the week off will continue to help Riddick get back to full speed. Riddick is available in 11.4% of ESPN leagues and 16% of Yahoo leagues.
If you are getting desperate and looking for at boom or bust gambles then look at Ryan Matthews. Matthews is available in about 20% of all leagues. He has scored a touchdown in each of his last three games. He has RB1 potential, but the Eagles are an offense that is fungible and may be a pass team today or a run team or maybe running with someone else... not confidence inspiring. Still, if he is the guy then you could get big rewards.
Rishard Matthews’ slow start is over. With the rise of Marcus Mariota, Matthews has been a consistent producer. Matthews has been around double digits each of the last three weeks and has scored a touchdown in each of these three games. He is still out there in 52.5% of ESPN leagues and 37% of Yahoo leagues.
Here is an odd one: Kenny Britt. Why odd? A guy who has had double digit points in three of four games (including a big 25+ point game)? Well, Jared Goff will be making his inauspicious first start of the season this week. Goff was the first overall pick who has been held back as he was unable to unseat Case Keenum. This is difficult to predict what this will do to Britt’s value, but he is available in 39% of Yahoo leagues and 41.2% of ESPN leagues. If you are on the edge of possible playoffs, then maybe you take this chance.