As the fantasy football season comes to a close, congratulations to those of you who still might be fighting for that elusive championship. It’s been a long road to this point and I hope the Green Bay Packers were able to provide you with a little boost during this playoff stretch as star players suddenly seem to be dropping like flies.
Under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, the Green Bay offense and its skill players have looked anywhere from great to inconsistent. Less practice time means that a lot of this offense is being adopted and adjusted to on the fly. Some players have exceeded expectations while other have faltered.
As the season comes to a close, we give out some final superlative awards to the players we’ve watched all season. The awards include: The Big Cheese (read: MVP); our Number One Boy (or, player with high expectations, but who let us down and we still love them anyway); and The Big Short (or player whose stock descended all season long.)
The Big Cheese
Aaron Jones, RB
Awarding Aaron Jones as The Big Cheese is a no-brainer. He ranks third among running backs in all of fantasy and averages 17.6 points per game, per ESPN. While he has a modest 830 rushing yards (good for 15th), he’s tied for the league lead in rushing TDs with 14 and added three receiving TDs to that total. His UTEP highlights displayed innate pass-catching ability and Jones showed that this season, catching 45 passes for 425 yards and a 9.4 yards per catch average. His 76 percent catch rate is impressive considering his yards per target is 7.2.
The only thing holding Jones back, critics will say, is a lack of opportunity. That the timeshare with Jamaal Williams is slowing him down and that Williams isn’t as effective and should therefore not get opportunities that could go to Jones. However, I’ll point out that as Williams grinds out short, tough yards, Jones is able to collect himself on the sideline and that rest has allowed him to be as explosive as he is once he gets back in the game.
Jones, in just his third season, has yet to play a complete season and playing in every game so far this season is already an accomplishment for the young back. He’s also far outpacing his rushing attempts from last year (133 in 2018 to 188 in 2019) and if he plays through Week 17, he could very well surpass his total rushing attempts from 2017 and ’18 combined. Opportunity is the name of the game in fantasy, but I’ll take a healthy RB putting up RB3 numbers as opposed to a beaten down one who can’t finish the season when it’s most crucial for fantasy playoffs.
Our Number One Boy
Aaron Rodgers, QB
While he hasn’t exploded in a new offense, Rodgers has still maintained QB6 status in ESPN leagues, averaging 21 PPG. A combination of occasionally missing players and players not being in the right place have resulted in modest yards per attempt numbers (7.3). Additionally, a lack of a legitimate deep threat hasn’t allowed the offense to stretch its legs like it wants to. Rodgers’ lack of interceptions has kept his fantasy scoring floating above average, though. He has only two interceptions on the year – both of which were tipped – and he hasn’t thrown a pick since mid-October.
Rodgers hasn’t completely avoided turnovers, however. He has four fumbles on the season and every time he has put one on the ground, it resulted in a turnover. This isn’t always on the quarterback, especially when the offensive line has given up bad pressures and the receivers can’t get open. Nevertheless, it’s something to consider when you’re setting your lineup week-to-week.
Rodgers is our Number One Boy because at 36, he still has those throws and those games that remind us that he’s destroyed the hopes of teams for years, but at this stage in his career, he’s not necessarily a game-winner at QB. At least not for this season under a new offense. Still, the way QBs are hanging around these days, especially as the rules change, Rodgers still has plenty of good years left.
The Big Short
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR
In the beginning of the season, I thought I would be writing a different name here. MVS’ Week 3 explosion of six catches for 99 yards and a TD looked to be the time Green Bay’s large deep threat was about to take the step so many expected. Instead, he hasn’t approached six catches since that time and reeled in three catches only once (Week 4) after that Week 3 game.
Looking like a steal after being a fifth-round pick in 2018, MVS was poised to be yet another Packer receiver plucked from deep in the draft and turned into a bonafide playmaker. Instead, MVS failed to boost his production when Davante Adams missed the middle part of the season and has fallen to WR76 in ESPN leagues. His 4.2 average PPG is boosted largely by two games of 18.9 and 20.3 fantasy points, but he should not even be rostered at this point in the season. He has one catch in the past six games while Allen Lazard has sapped his targets.
The aforementioned Adams is a reason to believe that MVS can still turn his career around from a dreadful sophomore slump. Adams struggled mightily in his first two years in the league. Granted, Adams had higher expectations as a second-round pick, but there’s still reason to hope that MVS just needs a third year to put it all together. In a way, this season could be considered a second rookie season for Valdes-Scantling after switching up offenses. Despite this, his stock has tanked and I hope you sold your shares early this year.