It’s always been a decent bet to grab a Green Bay Packers wide receiver or two in fantasy drafts because Aaron Rodgers is a demigod, and the offense ran through the passing game. The receivers themselves generally don’t get a lot of credit standing in Rodgers’ immense shadow and the reaction to receivers leaving to play elsewhere can often times read: ‘Yikes.’
Think Greg Jennings or James Jones (who eventually came back), or even pre-Rodgers, when receivers like Javon Walker and Bill Schroeder had their careers peter out after their time as Packers came to an end. Plenty of eyes will be on how successful Randall Cobb is this year.
However, it’s important to note that the receivers I mentioned had ceilings on their talent and how far their careers could go without a Rodgers or Brett Favre throwing to them. Age is also a factor to be conceded. However, I don’t think there’s a talent ceiling on the 26-year old Davante Adams, as he’s shown that no matter who’s throwing the ball to him — he’s going to get his.
Adams is a top-five fantasy wide receiver and I don’t see that changing this year. In PPR leagues, Adams is going only behind DeAndre Hopkins in the first round at seventh overall. Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham are all behind him and that’s warranted if you look at narrative. Drew Brees has taken a slight step back in his passing, Julio Jones has a touchdown allergy, and Odell is playing for a new team so there could be bumps along the way. Adams has provided consistency the past three seasons and exploded last year off of 169 targets. Targets lead to catches, and in a full-point PPR league, that extra 111 points to go along with the 1,386 receiving yards and 13 scores is money in the bank.
The next tier down in the Packers WR room includes Geronimo Allison and Marquez Valdes-Scantling. Allison missed the majority of last year due to injury so it’s easy to forget about him. Via the team’s website, Adams said Allison could be “dangerous” this year, as he’s been getting work in Matt LaFleur’s offense both in the slot and outside.
Playing in just five games last year, Allison outpaced his career high in receiving yards and got very close to his career highs in catches and targets. They were small, but if he did that in five games, I think we might have missed out on a breakout third season from the Illinois product. Year four could be a good one for him and he’s going mid-eighth round in PPR fantasy drafts. He’s in some good company with players who might be selected ahead of him due to name recognition, such as Larry Fitzgerald and Marvin Jones Jr.
MVS isn’t going much further behind Allison in the mid-ninth. The second-year pro is a big boom-or-bust candidate because of his ability to stretch the field. Fantasy players (and Rodgers himself) will be hoping that MVS has improved all around, but more specifically with his hands. His catch rate of 52.1 percent in his rookie season wasn’t great. Adjusting to game speed, playing against NFL corners, and learning Rodgers’ tendencies can all play a role in that, but with 73 targets, it leaves you wanting more.
According to Pro Football Focus, MVS had the third-best separation rate among qualified receivers at 70.3 percent of his targets. MVS definitely has the speed to get open and maintain separation, but there’s a lingering feeling that Rodgers was only looking MVS’ way when he was undoubtedly open because of the smaller number of targets. With more trust this season, Valdes-Scantling can prove that stat isn’t a fluke.
The rest of the Packers WR group isn’t very inspiring for redraft leagues. There’s merit in grabbing guys like Equanimeous St. Brown, Jake Kumerow, and J’Mon Moore in dynasty leagues or daily fantasy. St. Brown is probably the most interesting out of that trio, showing flashes of making plays last season. He and MVS were closer in the Best-Packers-Rookie-WR contest than estimated even if Valdes-Scantling outpaced him statistically. St. Brown passed the eye test often, and had a cool 15.6 yards per reception.