Aaron Rodgers is living his best life this summer and likely isn’t concerned with where he’s being ranked in the season following his broken collarbone.
Instead, he’s making Packer fans’ blood pressure rise swimming with sharks and going Billy Hoyle on the golf course.
However, the NFL released its annual Top-100 list and whether or not Rodgers was paying attention to the ranking— Packers fans certainly were. He was tenth on the list. TENTH. Double-digits. This is somewhat explicable since he missed the majority of last season, but as arguably the most gifted passer in modern NFL history, this hurts my feelings.
The list was decided by the players, too, so there has to be some recency bias in putting Drew Brees (8), Carson Wentz (3) and Tom Brady (1) all ahead of Rodgers, rights? Would you put these players over Rodgers if you were drafting for a dynasty fantasy football league? The short answer is “no,” but here’s the longer answer.
Aaron Rodgers is 34-years old this year, which is significantly younger than Brady and Brees, but not exactly in the range of second-year pro Carson Wentz. Ideally, in a dynasty draft you want to draft someone who is youthful and can help carry your team for the next decade like a real GM would. Rodgers only has 10 years of starting experience after holding the clipboard for the first three years of his career, so he really only has the miles of a 31-year old.
Could Rodgers play until he’s 40 or 44? It’s not inconceivable considering Brees and Brady are approaching or past 40 and still playing at an extremely high level. The question lies in whether or not he still wants to. More and more players are considering the toll on the body that playing in the NFL takes. Rodgers has missed large chunks of two different seasons because of a broken collarbone, and if there’s a silver lining, it’s that he doesn’t have an extensive knee injury history or debilitating back injuries.
No, he’s not a fresh-faced QB who just won Rookie of the Year two seasons ago, but we know what Aaron Rodgers gives you. Are you confident in your scouting ability to know which young quarterback is going to continue trending upward? Jared Goff and Jimmy Garappolo could very well regress if there’s a coaching change and Wentz could prove injury prone.
In non-injury seasons, Rodgers is good for 4,000 yards easily. He also hasn’t thrown for double-digit interceptions since 2010, so no matter what kind of receivers he has to work with or what offense is being run, making mistakes is not what Aaron Rodgers does. Being 7th all-time in completion percentage further emphasizes this point. When he’s on a roll or taking advantage of a broken play, Rodgers is like Robert McCall in the Equalizer. Silent, precise, and deadly.
Looking strictly at Rodgers’ eight non-injury shortened seasons, Rodgers averages 415.75 fantasy points. The high point came in 2011, when he scored 492 fantasy points while ethering teams with 45 passing TDs and three rushing TDs. It’s been long discussed how much of the offensive load has been placed on Aaron’s shoulders, but the offense feels more balanced now than it has in several seasons despite there not being a sure #2 outside receiver. The three-headed running back monster will give teams personnel issues and they could strike gold with one or two rookie wideouts from this past draft. I also believe that the offensive line is better than they’re given credit for.
There’s worry about how the Packers as a whole will run on offense without longtime playmaker Jordy Nelson in the fold. Davante Adams is the true star wide receiver for the team, though, and he doesn’t get enough respect after back-to-back seasons of double-digit touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards. The Packers also brought in Jimmy Graham and Marcedes Lewis to improve the tight end position that has lacked luster in the years after Jermichael Finley.
All of Graham’s TDs came in the red zone last season and if Rodgers can develop some chemistry early with him, we could be looking at something extremely potent. Before Rodgers got hurt last season, the Packers scored on 15 of their 19 trips in the red zone (78.95%) which led the NFL and contributed to a 4-1 start. Lewis’ career numbers aren’t as sexy as Graham’s, but that’s largely because he was playing with Blake Bortles and a myriad of bad Jacksonville quarterbacks. Long regarded as a strong run-blocking tight end, Lewis can help contribute in the red zone, too, as well as helping Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams bounce some runs outside.
If you’re starting a dynasty draft and need your quarterback, Aaron Rodgers is the perfect pick to make this year. He’s experienced enough to know what he’ll give you over the next few seasons and there still could be another MVP year or two coming up. Father time is undefeated and it’s coming for Brees and Brady sooner than Rodgers. Wentz’s future isn’t written in stone after one really good season and could still go both ways. Rodgers is the safest bet to win you games now and in the future whether that’s for dynasty leagues or redraft leagues. Don’t overthink it.