We have to have a bit of a different take this week. There is no way to go through a fantasy review of the Green Bay Packers without talking about the Aaron Rodgers injury. Rodgers is clearly the player that makes things happen in Green Bay. Every play starts with the ball in Rodgers' hands. Everything has to run through him. This is true of every team in the league, but things are different when you have an elite player at this position.
This week's Fantasy Ups and Downs is a look at where we stand now with the offensive weapons at Green Bay's command.
Deep breaths. So, this will be the first week where Hundley will have a full week of first team reps before a game. All the real game footage we have is from games where he was the clear second team quarterback. Count on McCarthy building him up better this week. He should look more confident. He is not a fantasy start in standard ten team leagues. Still, if you have the roster space, he could be a valuable stash for later.
Ty Montgomery / Aaron Jones
These are the two players who might retain their fantasy value the best. With a young quarterback getting his feet under him, the running game and the dump off game should be big components of the game going forward. It looked like the Packers were trying to set up some screens against the Vikings ... although they were unsuccessful. The increase in the total number of carries should guarantee that Jones still gets some carries. We should be talking about a continued low-end RB1 for Montgomery and a Flex option for Jones.
Jordy Nelson / Davante Adams / Randall Cobb
This is where things will get worse. Coming into the week, I would have thought Cobb would have gotten a good number of targets to attack nickel backs and avoid Xavier Rhodes and Trae Waynes. At the end of the day Nelson and Adams each had ten targets. One of those targets for Nelson came from Rodgers (whose other three passes were all aimed at Martellus Bennett). Cobb actually finished fifth on the team with just three targets.
What we have learned is that Adams and Nelson will retain much of their value. The targets will not be as good. The accuracy will diminish and that will hurt. Prior to the Minnesota game, Nelson was catching 67.8% of his targets and he caught 60% against Minnesota. Adams was catching 60.5% of his targets and he managed 50% against the Vikings. This was the first game since 2015 when Adams had eight targets but did not catch over 50% of them.
The targets will still come, but they will be shorter yardage and likely the higher percentage plays. Hundley will look more confident and have better preparation in the coming weeks, but he will never give the Packers the options that Rodgers did. The playbook will shrink. So, in the end, Nelson moves down to a low-end WR1 and Adams moves to a low-end WR2. Cobb is now just a Flex at best until we see differently.
Martellus Bennett / Lance Kendricks
Hundley only targeted one tight end in the game. Just one target for Bennett. It was an odd circumstance. You would expect that an inexperienced quarterback would lean heavily on the tight ends. By contrast, Aaron Jones had four targets, Montgomery had three, and even Aaron Ripkowski had one. So the dump offs and safe passes went to the running backs and not the tight ends. Expect that Bennett and Kendricks will be more involved in the coming weeks. Neither is really much of a fantasy value so far. Bennett has had trouble holding on to catches so far and Kendricks has been used too infrequently.