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Week 3 Fantasy Football Picks: Packers’ offense seeks a fantasy foothold

Green Bay’s fantasy players have given you no reason to be confident, but there are signs the tide could turn this week.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

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Trends are emerging. Sadly, one of those trends has been the inability of the Green Bay Packers to consistently throw the ball. To be fair, both defenses the Packers have played are currently in the top ten defenses (small sample size, where half that ranking is due to the Packers). This week will see two NFC North teams trying to get to 2-1 and not fall too far behind the Vikings.

LIONS-PACKERS

Aaron Rodgers

If you have Rodgers, you do not have a backup who will do better. The biggest fantasy advice is do not start him in daily fantasy. One of the biggest helps in daily is to find a quarterback/wide receiver group that will score together and double the points for you. No one in the receiving group gives you this. Also, the small sample size has seen Rodgers unable to put up more than 213 yards in a game. He has two rushing touchdowns, but you cannot count on those. The Lions seem like a better matchup than the last two opponents and a first home game is tempting, but the cost on Rodgers considers his 2014 MVP, but he last played like that in 2014. Still, looking at Marcus Mariota (who played Minnesota and then at Detroit), his completion percentage went from 61.0% at home against the Vikings to 75.7% in a road game in Detroit. Look for an upswing of some kind as Lions opponents have a combined 70% completion percentage (Rodgers has completed just 57.1% of his passes so far).

Matthew Stafford

The health of Sam Shields has something to do with the final decision. The Vikings sure seemed to attack Damarious Randall with Shields out. Stafford racked up big stats against the Colts (who also gave Trevor Siemian 266 yards and a 66.7% completion percentage). Still, Stafford completed 55% of his passes against Tennessee for 260 yards, 1 TD and 1 pick - and that Titans defense gave up 236 yards at home to Shaun Hill (completing 54.5%). If you are taking Stafford in a daily league, pair him with Marvin Jones.

Eddie Lacy

At this point, Lacy is a mid-range RB2 who might be an RB1 if he can finally get in the end zone. The biggest issue so far is the Packers willingness to abandon the run. Meanwhile, James Starks has managed 10 yards on 11 carries (doing the math on the yards per carry just makes me sad). Still, he was on the field most of the second half against Minnesota. Lacy has 26 carries for 111 yards (4.3 yards/carry). Lacy’s numbers are not skewed by large runs, but the Packers have only given him 14 carries in a win and 12 carries in a close loss. The lack of touches is the only reason you see if you can find Melvin Gordon, the loss of Danny Woodhead will boost Gordon’s touches.

Ameer Abdullah/Theo Riddick

Both of the Lions’ running backs would have fantasy value if healthy, but Abdullah was just placed on Injured Reserve. The Packers have been very good against the run this year, keeping T.J. Yeldon and Adrian Peterson to under 40 yards rushing each. Riddick is primarily a shifty pass catcher, though. Abdullah has out-gained Riddick in rushing yards (101 yards to 82), but Riddick has twice the targets in the passing game through two games (10 to 5). With a heavier workload, Riddick becomes a decent RB2 start (though you’re probably better off if you can keep him in your Flex position), but he is a must-start this week in PPR formats.

Jordy Nelson/Randall Cobb

Neither player is a WR1 at this point. You likely drafted Jordy as your WR1, but 11 receptions on 20 targets for 105 yards is far from ideal. Jordy has maintained value with a touchdown in each game, but you cannot count on touchdowns. The saddest part in looking at the games is the yards after the catch. Jordy has just 13 YAC on his 11 catches and Cobb managed 14 yards on 11 catches. The Packers are not finding ways to get the ball to the receivers running down field. WR2 for both these guys. Still a better upside in the downgrade in defense they will face this week, but it has been hard sledding these first two games.

Marvin Jones/Golden Tate

Jones’ name goes first because he is the #1. Jones has been targeted more than Tate through two games 21 to 19. Jones is also clearly running the first reads and Tate in the dump off role as Jones leads the team with 203 yards and Tate has been limited to 54 yards. After seeing the Packers give up 182 of their 286 passing yards to a single player last week, look for the top option on opposing rosters. If the Packers get Shields back, then Jones’ value goes down some, but the Lions are going to throw the football. Jones has a 57.4% catch rate, and Tate has 56.2%.

THE REST OF THE LEAGUE

Corey Coleman, Cleveland

It seems impossible to think that Coleman is still available in 31% of Yahoo leagues and 38.8% of ESPN leagues. Coleman is a top ten WR in either standard of scoring. He still has some boom or bust probability, but he has been hitting and will be valuable for the next two weeks yet before Josh Gordon comes back. In those two games he will get to play Miami and Washington. The only remaining risk in these games is who exactly will continue to play quarterback in Cleveland (rookie Cody Kessler being the likely starter this week), but Coleman has a WR1 ceiling. If you are facing 0-2 now and Coleman is still there, get him now.

Will Fuller, Houston

I brought him up before, but Fuller is still there in just over 20% of leagues. Fuller is the only player to acquire 100+ yards in each of the first two weeks. Now, you might wait a week as Fuller will be playing in New England this week but teams have found passing yards against the Patriots. Fuller will end up playing Tennessee at home in the following week. Grab him now if he is available, he has been a top 15 receiver. The targets dropped off from 11 to seven from week one to week two, but count on New England to seek to take away DeAndre Hopkins (as they love taking away the top weapon) and Fuller will likely seek more looks.

Eddie Royal, Chicago

Sorry for suggesting a Bear, but he has been consistent early. He has the advantage of returning punts and kicks. Royal is rather touchdown dependent. This makes his points suspect, but if you are in a deeper league and find yourself in desperate need of a WR2, Royal has a big upside and is likely to see a good number of touches. He has seen 12 targets in the passing game, but again, he gets the extra touches in the return game. Again, he is only valuable in deeper leagues or leagues with multiple flex spots, but the dropoff from Jay Cutler to Brian Hoyer should not affect his production much.

Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets

Enunwa has been a lower-end WR2 in ten-team leagues, but he is still available in 89% of Yahoo leagues and 94.4% of ESPN leagues. Enunwa has taken on the slot position as the third option behind Marshall and Decker in New York. Still, he has caught 13 of 14 targets and has been fantasy relevant without being touchdown dependent. If he practices this week, there is no reason he should be unowned in any league.

Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland

It’s hard to find undervalued running backs as there are only so many top-end running backs, especially ones who carry the bulk of carries. Crowell has been between fifth or sixth among RBs in all leagues. Crowell is a true RB1 and still he is available in roughly 30% of most leagues. The only reason I can think of is that people never trust the Browns. Still, Crowell is getting the bulk of carries and needs to be owned and started in all leagues.

Tevin Coleman, Atlanta

I told you last week to add him as a flex or a stash, still, Coleman has been a solid RB2 so far placing between 12 and 15 in leagues depending on the scoring format. He presents an interesting juxtaposition in that he is owned in 64.7% of ESPN leagues, but just 24.8% of Yahoo leagues. Coleman will have greater value in this next weekend against New Orleans, but then there will be games against Carolina and Denver. He has been valuable in the passing game and Atlanta is likely to need a passing back more than pure runner against New Orleans.

Chris Thompson, Washington

This is a PPR option only. Matt Jones is going to get most of the between the tackles carries, but Thompson is going the be in the game as the passing back. Washington has turned more toward the passing game in the last year and Thompson has a clear role. Washington get to play the Giants, Cleveland and Baltimore in the next three weeks. If you had Danny Woodhead, Thompson (or maybe Woodhead’s replacement in San Diego, Dexter McCluster) is a great choice to replace your value.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami

As the quarterback recommendation of the week, Tannehill gets no love. Tannehill has been a lower end QB1 in standard ten team leagues. Add to this point production the fact that he has played two road games, one in Seattle and one in New England. Not easy games for scoring or moving the ball, but still, Tannehill has produced. Tannehill is available in 70-80% of leagues. Meanwhile Kirk Cousins, Eli Manning and Tyrod Taylor are all owned in about 80% of leagues while scoring less than Tannehill. Tannehill is better than you think and he gets home games against Cleveland and Tennessee to sandwich a road game in Cincinnati.