Monday night’s game against the San Francisco 49ers was another insane chapter in the legend that is Aaron Rodgers, but it was also a game that helped boost confidence in other players going forward. While it wasn’t necessarily a make-or-break game for the Green Bay Packers, it did feel as if this was a “get right” game going into a bye. Considering the Packers come out of the bye playing two of the strongest opponents in the league on their own fields (@ Rams, @ Patriots), the Packers can avoid the “What’s Wrong with Them?” headlines and shift more to the “How Can They Get Better?” headlines.
Keep monitoring these players as they go into a bye week stretch that sees several teams having an off week. Some of these players aren’t worth dumping to stream another option.
Mason Crosby, K
Credit where it’s due. Including a clutch game-winner on Monday night, Crosby kicked the ball perfectly finishing 4/4 on field goal attempts and 3/3 on extra points. This was a great sign as the longtime Packer kicker was—to put it delicately— a disaster in Detroit. It helped that QB1 put him in a position to kick a make-able game-winning field goal, but getting that confidence boost is important. While that game against the Lions was a tough look, Crosby should be back on your rosters if the Packers can’t figure out their red zone offense. Currently, Crosby leads the league in field goal attempts (20).
Jimmy Graham, TE
Graham’s season has been mostly up-and-down. With Davante Adams as the primary target no matter what field position the Packers have, Graham has been slow coming out of the gate. His five catches on nine targets were a great sign, though, as he went over 100 yards for the first time this season. His 20 yards per catch average was nice to see, even if it was against the Niners. The Packers next three games after the bye are all against teams that are at least in the top-12 for DVOA defending tight ends (LAR, NE, MIA), but hopefully two weeks of rest and preparation will put other weapons back on the field to open up more opportunities for Graham.
Rookie wide receivers
While the stats favored Marques Valdes-Scantling, I’m keeping an eye on Equanimeous St. Brown, especially in dynasty leagues. MVS again showed why he’s a developing deep threat that could help stretch the field for years to come by reining in three catches for 103 yards. St. Brown only recorded one catch, but it was a 19-yarder that was huge in the final drive of the game. Granted, it was a masterful throw by Rodgers, but that doesn’t take away from the clean route and impressive grab by the rookie. After struggling to get on the same page with Rodgers earlier this season, it’s plays like those that can help build the confidence Rodgers has in you. There are no moral victories in football, but the Packers should feel more confident in their offense moving forward.
Aaron Jones, RB
I hate writing that. Jones is such an excellent playmaker and his declining stock isn’t through fault of his own. He still averaged five yards per carry against the Niners, but as McCarthy keeps stating, the game script is calling for Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams to underwhelm out of the backfield. I get that there’s more to playing running back than running the ball, but Jones is so dynamic that he helps put the Packers in more manageable field position. Thanks to The Ringer’s Danny Kelly, he pointed out that only the Browns have faced more 3rd-and-long situations while also ranking 3rd in average yards to go per play. At this point you should probably take Jones out of any flex situations until proven otherwise. Keep you ears open for any clues as to the direction of Jones’ usage during the bye week.