The middle of August means that fantasy football drafts are just around the corner. If you are like me your anticipation for the start of fantasy season can hardly be contained. Your upcoming draft suggests that you most likely have magazines to read and compare, preseason games to watch, strategies to decide upon, and league trends to identify.
Even more, Green Bay Packers fans have an additional temptation to consider as they approach their fantasy drafts.
This is the temptation to draft with your heart.
Every offseason Packers fans are filled with optimism about the coming regular NFL season – and for good reason. As Green Bay Packers fans we follow the best organization in the league. Our annual optimism is certainly justified.
However, this optimism often carries over into fantasy football. Before we know it our fantasy roster can be comprised of mostly Packer players. This can be a lot of fun because you get to watch your fantasy players as you watch the Packers each week.
On the other hand, it can also mean that we tend to overvalue Packers players in our fantasy drafts. We are inclined to draft with our hearts, not our heads. I am writing about this because I am a victim of this temptation. As Packers fans we are all predisposed to this weakness.
Therefore, I wanted to provide a sober analysis of what we should realistically expect from our loved Packers players this fantasy season and what we can do on draft day to make sure that we value them appropriately.
Quarterback – Aaron Rodgers
Rodgers will easily be one of the most coveted players of your draft. Experts project the value of top tier QBs (Rodgers, Brees) to be in rounds four or five of most 12 team drafts. However, these players seem to be coming off the board in late round one or two in actual drafts simply because of big name recognition.
Recommendation: A-Rod will certainly be a consistent fantasy contributor this season. Do not hesitate to draft him, but do not overpay for him. The falloff between him and tier 2 QBs is not great enough to cost you a first or even second round pick in my opinion.
Running Back – Lacy, Franklin, Harris, Green
The Packers seem more committed to establishing a legitimate running game than they have been in years. The offseason additions of Lacy and Franklin in the backfield show promise at a position that has been lacking in recent years.
There should be some concern, however, with how many bodies could be taking handoffs. McCarthy still seems high on Harris, Green is as healthy as he has been in some time, Franklin will steal some third down snaps and receptions, and Lacy needs to stay healthy. It is also worth noting that the offensive line took a hit with Bryan Bulaga’s recent injury. This could certainly affect the running game.
Recommendation: Expect Eddie Lacy to be come out of the preseason with the starting gig. However, be advised that Franklin and these other backs will steal carries and third down work. Lacy could potentially be a steal late in your draft, but I wouldn’t expect anything higher than RB3 play out of him.
Wide Receiver – Cobb, Nelson, Jones
This position is one of the most interesting to me. Randall Cobb is being drafted in round 2 of most leagues. People are expecting big things out of him this year in Greg Jennings’ absence.
I am one of those people.
Jordy Nelson is also expected to have a big year as the Packers’ second receiver. However, his recent injury has him plummeting down draft boards. James Jones, the assumed third man, has had a great camp thus far. He was a touchdown machine last year, but it will be interesting to see what kind of work load he gets this fall.
Recommendation: Cobb could be a stud this year, but you will not be able to get him as a value pickup. He will be taken quickly. Don’t drool over him and pull the trigger too fast. Nelson’s recent stock fall could mean that he could be a huge value. Keep an eye on his injury, but be aware that you could get great value out of Jordy on draft day. James Jones is my favorite on this list. I really think that he could be the best value in the crowd. With durability concerns looming at the position, he could easily be drafted as a WR3 that ends up putting up WR2 numbers.
Tight End – Jermichael Finley
Each year we hope that Finley’s potential is realized. So far we have been disappointed. Reports out of camp have been mixed.
Recommendation: He is the starting TE in a pass heavy offense. He could get some of Jennings’ old looks in the offense, but that is being optimistic. Should be a low end TE1. Draft him with sober expectations.
Anyone who owned Mason Crosby last year experienced frustration. The Packers brought in Giorgio Tavecchio this offseason to compete with Crosby. The high octane offense should allow for lots of kicking opportunities for whomever the Packers kicker ends up being.
Recommendation: Feel free to draft the Packers’ kicker. Just make sure you know who it is going to be first …
In theory, this unit should be better this year. It should be a more balanced pass rush with the additions of Datone Jones and a healthy Nick Perry. It should produce some good turnovers. Just note that a high scoring offense like the Packers’ requires the other team to try to keep up.
Recommendation: This defensive unit could be a really good one this year, but you could say that about so many defensive units around the league. Never overdraft a defense. They are far too difficult to predict.