It's Thursday again, and that means it's time to examine which players in this week's upcoming Packers game deserve a start on your fantasy team. I should warn you, though, the Cardinals probably won't get a whole lot of love this week, much like the Jaguars a week ago.
GB: QB Aaron Rodgers
As usual, Rodgers finds himself as the only member of this list. If you own him, you start him, period. He just won NFC Offensive Player of the Month for October. And while the Cardinals have been tough on opposing quarterbacks' fantasy numbers this season in general, they gave up over 400 yards to Ryan Tannehill and three touchdowns to Alex Smith last week. Expect around 300 yards and at least two scores from Rodgers, and he may be able to contribute with some rushing yards as well, as he'll likely need to run to escape pressure on more than one occasion.
Start with confidence:
GB: Defense/Special Teams
ARI: WR Larry Fitzgerald
The Cardinals have allowed a league-high 39 sacks this season, 11 more than the team in second (that would be Green Bay with 28). The Packers' pass rush should be able to get to John Skelton early and often, and with the Cardinals' running game being terribad this year, Skelton will be dropping back to pass a ton on Sunday. Oh, and Skelton has one passing touchdown to go with four interceptions this season. Expect the Packers' secondary to get their hands on multiple passes this week.
When Skelton throws the ball a lot, who gets most of those throws sent his way? Fitzgerald. Expect Dom Capers to be double-covering the heck out of Fitzgerald, but he is so good that he should still catch 7 or 8 passes on 15 or so targets.
GB: WRs Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones
ARI: Defense/special teams
These guys are all lumped in together this week because of two factors: the Cardinals have a solid secondary, and I have no idea which player will be this week's "number one" receiver. They're all worth serious consideration as a WR3 or at a flex position. I think Cobb is the best play of the bunch right now, as he has had a knack for getting open in the end zone over the past few weeks. Nelson will likely be a game-time decision again this week, so if he doesn't go, have a little more faith in Cobb and Jones to be productive.
The Packers and Cardinals are tied at the top of the NFL for most sacks by the defense. That is where the Cardinals' defense could pay off for you. They may also force a fumble or two, as they have recovered seven on the season. You could do worse, but remember who's on offense for Green Bay.
Avoid if possible:
GB: RB Alex Green, TE Jermichael Finley
ARI: WR Andre Roberts
The Cardinals' rushing defense has given up better than 4 yards per carry in three of the past four weeks, and allowed big days to Buffalo and Minnesota on the ground. The difference is that those teams have established, Pro-Bowl caliber running backs and offensive lines that are built to block for them. The Packers' have neither of those. Green could see 80 combined yards, but I wouldn't count on him for a touchdown, especially if John Kuhn is back in the lineup.
Finley should be no surprise on this list. he lit up the Cardinals in the playoffs in 2009, in what many thought would be a harbinger of his explosion as an All-Pro tight end, but since then he's been injured and disappointed. Plus, the Cardinals have only allowed six catches to tight ends in the past four games.
Devin touched on Roberts' matchup with Casey Hayward earlier today, and I have to think that favors Hayward right now. He's playing with excellent ball skills and smarts, so don't expect Roberts to have much success.
GB: RB James Starks, WR Donald Driver
ARI: RB LaRod Stephens-Howling, William Powell
These Packers probably won't see much playing time. If Nelson plays, Driver's snaps will be reduced again. The Cardinals' running game is not pretty and the Packers' rushing defense has played well of late, so leave these guys in the free agent pool.