Some fantasy football leagues started their playoffs last weekend and the rest should be starting this week. If you are still playing, you did something right. Still, there are some new things to consider as you start your fantasy football weekend in Week 15.
Sure, there is the fear that maybe there will be some rust. There is also some concern that Rodgers is coming back against one of the better pass defenses in the league. I do not care. Look, if you reached your playoffs, you probably have a starting quarterback who helped get you there. If you were lucky enough to reach the playoffs while storing Rodgers on your bench, then you are in a great spot. You start Rodgers.
The Packers have not been very good at stopping the passing game this year. Also, the Packers always seem to have a hard time dealing with running quarterbacks. Something about the rapid pass rush seems to lose contain. Cam has not been a high yardage passer, but he has taken care of the ball this year and always adds the running component to the game. In a home game against a battered Packers secondary, Newton is still a starter for your playoff team.
Jamaal Williams / Aaron Jones
Williams has taken over the lead role. Jones was not able to make anything out of his limited carries last week. There might be a little more room to run this week, though only because of the return of Aaron Rodgers. The Carolina Panthers are a formidable defense. Williams should make a serviceable RB2, but you will want him to be a Flex if you can. Jones had too many issues and too few snaps last week to be worth the risk of starting at all this week. Williams' demonstration that he is a very good pass catcher has made him a serious and true lead back.
Jonathan Stewart / Christian McCaffrey
Stewart is the hammer and McCaffrey is the finesse. McCaffrey already has 67 receptions. He has 834 total yards so far and five touchdowns. Stewart has been serviceable as a pure runner. He exploded last week for three rushing touchdowns against the stout Minnesota Vikings defense, but that doubled his season total. Still, the Packers have surrendered 100+ rushing yards against two consecutive running backs of less stature. Stewart should be a high-reward RB2. McCaffrey will be a very valuable RB in PPR formats.
Davante Adams / Jordy Nelson / Randal; Cobb
Davante Adams had continued to find his way to remain relevant and even elite. He has been the only player to continue making big plays. The biggest change is Aaron Rodgers is back and he will spread the ball around more. There should also be more overall targets as Mike McCarthy will almost certainly throw the ball more now that he has his star quarterback back again. Carolina has a very good defense and there will be some rust to start off with, but both Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams will both be WR2s this week. Cobb is a bit of a lottery ticket. High risk, high ceiling. Tough to tell where he will be. If you are a lower seeded team, he might pull you over the edge.
Devin Funchess / Russell Shepard
Carolina traded away their most accomplished WR when they sent Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills. Now, Funchess is the leader of this corps. This is a team that relies more on tight ends and running backs. Shepard is unstartable in all formats. He is second among the WRs on this team with just 17 receptions. Funchess has seven touchdowns. This is the majority of the 12 touchdowns scored by the WRs in Carolina (counting two by Benjamin). Funchess is a WR2 and might be a little touchdown dependent.
Lance Kendricks / Richard Rodgers
There will probably a little more value here than with Hundley. Still, neither has shown any particular flair yet. You cannot start either of them.
Ed Dickson / Greg Olsen
Olsen has had some difficulties trying to get back on the field. There is no sign that he is completely ready to assume the role of star TE. Dickson has been interesting at times, but the passing game does not have a lot of yards to go around and it is difficult to predict his good games. Olsen's return has stolen the targets from Dickson. You cannot trust either TE particularly at this point.