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After writing about the Chicago Bears, who are limited from a fantasy standpoint, it comes as a breath of fresh air to write about a team that is one of the more loaded fantasy options. The Green Bay Packers are, again, one of the more explosive offensive teams in the NFL and I expect their fantasy stats will reflect that. Despite being somewhat underwhelming last year, the Packers should get a boost from the return of wide receiver Jordy Nelson, who is returning from a knee injury that sidelined him for all of last year. In fantasy it all starts with the guy under centre though, and Green Bay has one of the best.
I think we can all agree Aaron Rodgers is a stud. He has been one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks for close to a decade and is always a top-3 choice in fantasy QB’s. He will be a locked in QB1 and there is really no reason to even think about taking him out of your lineup. Even last year when Nelson went down with an injury, and his teams top running back struggled, Rodgers still managed 3,821 yards and 31 touchdowns. Expect Rodgers to eclipse those numbers this year and finish this season top-5 (at least) in QB scoring.
The key element to Rodgers surpassing his stats from last year is the return of Nelson. We have briefly talked about Jordy already in the post but his importance cannot be understated. Nelson is a perfect blend of size and speed. Quick enough to be able to get down field behind the defence, yet big enough to muscle out defenders and make catches in traffic. If he returns at full strength, which it looks as though he has, he is a WR1 with a chance to repeat on his 98 catch, 1,519 yard, 13 touchdown year in 2014.
Nelson’s return means the other Green Bay wide outs also receive a boost, specifically Randall Cobb, who was forced into the number one role last year, a spot he was not ready for. While Cobb is unquestionably a good player in this league, he is much better suited being a number two receiver working out of the slot. With his return to a secondary role this season expect more of a 2014 Cobb and a potential WR1 moving forward. The Packers number three receiver is proving to be an interesting camp battle with as many as four players vying for the coveted role. Devante Adams, Ty Montgomery, Jeff Janis and Jared Abbrederis all have roles in the Green Bay offence but I expect Devante Adams to emerge as the winner of this battle, but he will be pushed by Ty Montgomery at some point.
The position to watch most in Green Bay however is running back. Eddie Lacy was not the Eddie Lacy we were used to seeing last year as he struggled with weight problems during the season. This offseason though all we have heard about is how Lacy worked on the weight issues and has come into camp in far better shape. We will see if that means a return to his old self, he has looked solid through two preseason games, but we will have to see what happens when we reach the regular season. For now Lacy is a RB2 with RB1 upside.
Tight end is also a position up for debate in Wisconsin as well. The recently acquired Jared Cook, who spent the last three seasons with the Rams, and was with the Titans before that, tries to supplant Richard Rodgers as the teams starting TE. Rich Rod put up 510 yards and eight touchdowns last year while Cook, playing in the anemic Rams offence only amassed 481 yards and a goose egg in the touchdown category. Cook has also dealt with injuries in the past but he has shown the ability to play tight end in this league, while never playing with a QB of (Aaron) Rodgers capabilities. Cook has the talent to be a sleeper in the TE category, and could be worth a late round pick if he can stay healthy and build up some chemistry with Rodgers.
Kicker Mason Crosby is also a name you should not forget. Crosby is one of the leagues best kickers and is a no brainer to be picked. The Packers D/ST is also worth a look if you wait until the end of your draft and all the top defences are gone.
QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Eddie Lacy; WR Jordy Nelson; WR Randall Cobb; WR Devante Adams; TE Jared Cook; K Mason Crosby; Packers D/ST