Yes, this week is time for this year’s Green Bay Packers Thursday Night Football game. These games have not been consistently good games, and there has been plenty of talk regarding the drop off in offensive production in these games. However, It does not seem there is significant data to confirm this. Some places show that there is a slight change, though not statistically relevant as a measure. Others claim there is some change and it is more felt negatively by QBs and positively by defenses.
Whatever the feeling or the statistics, the Packers face the Philadelphia Eagles this Thursday. Here are the takeaways to prepare for your fantasy matchup.
Aaron Rodgers - Green Bay
Aaron has not yet hit his stride in this offense. True, he has faced three of the top five defenses from a season ago, but the new offense is just not humming yet. New coaches and their systems tend to struggle for the first quarter of the season. I would think Rodgers will start to pull up in his numbers soon, but until he shows it he really is not a starter unless you are in a 2QB league. Rodgers has been outside the top 15 all year so far. A short week could hurt, but he is going against an Eagles team that is giving up big yards. The Eagles are currently the fourth-worst pass defense in yards per game (293.7 y/g). That was against the sixth, seventh and ninth best passing attacks so far (Atlanta, Detroit and Washington respectively).
I still do not start Rodgers at this point until you see it. If you are looking for a streaming option try Case Keenum (at New York Giants). He has been a solid start most weeks so far and remains just 16% owned in Yahoo leagues and 10% in ESPN. Another surprising option is Andy Dalton (at Pittsburgh). He is a top ten player at this point even with his losing team and a WR1 out with injury. Dalton is just 32 % owned in Yahoo and 18% in ESPN.
Carson Wentz - Philadelphia
Wentz has looked very good so far. Two of his three games have been against defenses currently in the top ten of DVOA. It might be a bit early to trust the DVOA too much, but it is still useful to note. The Packers will be the hardest test for Wentz. With the Packers’ defense currently third in passing DVOA and leading the league in takeaways, it could be a rough day on the road for Wentz. He is doing better than Dalton or Keenum, but they have better matchups. You probably reluctantly start him, but I think he is likely in that QB8-12 range this week.
Aaron Jones / Jamaal Williams - Green Bay
Aaron Jones is a sure start for me, but I have him in the RB2 realm as the Eagles’ defense has been difficult to run on. They have given up just 57.0 yards per game, second-best in the NFL, and they also rank second in rush defense DVOA. Jamaal Williams is a flex option based on his pass catching ability and his third down and short yardage usage. Jones should still get some points through the passing game.
Miles Sanders / Jordan Howard / Darren Sproles
Miles Sanders is on the same level as Jamaal Williams. He has upside as the starting back and someone who can get touches in the passing game, but the running back usage in Philadelphia does not give me the confidence to start any back in the top spots. the Packers’ defense has been a little more susceptible to the run than the pass, but the Eagles are a middling running team.
RECEIVERS / TIGHT ENDS
Davante Adams / Marquez Valdez-Scantling / Jimmy Graham
Davante Adams will only be limited by how quickly they can get the offense on track. Adams should be a top ten WR this week with the weakest pass defense the Packers have faced thus far. MVS is a flex start because he is a little touchdown dependent at this point. There is no reason at all to start Graham. He has not provided anything other than one touchdown this year.
DeSean Jackson / Alshon Jeffery / Nelson Agholor / Zach Ertz
Jackson has the ability to make some big plays in this offense, but he is out with an injury. Alshon Jeffery could be a difficult fit over the middle in this defense, and he should be active. Still, be prepare for other options. D.J. Chark is only 41% owned in Yahoo and goes up against Denver this week. Mecole Hardman is 49% owned and faces the Detroit Lions. Either could be a good stash right now as you watch the injury reports.
Meanwhile, Nelson Agholor is a very good option. He has put up good numbers so far and will likely be the top option this week for the Eagles. He is actually available in about 46% of leagues. The Packers defense has been pretty great so far and might be a rough match up for the Eagles receivers. The Packers have historically had issues with Tight Ends and Zach Ertz is the favorite target for Carson Wentz. Look for him to be a possible TE5-7 this week.