Jonathan Franklin is expected to be the backup to Eddie Lacy, but he is a wild card in the Packers plans who could surprise many. Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports photograph
About a month ago, I wrote an article that detailed where the Green Bay Packers backfield teammates were being drafted in fantasy football drafts this season. And before I get into the pass-catchers, I thought I would update everyone on how things have changed over the past four weeks for Aaron Rodgers and the runners.
Below I will be referencing the average draft position, or “ADP” of the players below. The data I am utilizing is not based off of practice or “mock” drafts, either. These are all real drafts that have been run by the Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). The FFPC is already the largest high stakes fantasy football contest in the world, and is expected to be the largest contest in the history of the high stakes fantasy sports industry this fall.
While these are all “satellite” drafts, many of the players in them will be the same ones forking over between $1,450 and $1,650 to play in the live event (or draft online) in Las Vegas in September. The overall winner will cash in more than $250,000 in prize money, so these drafters really are the best of the best.
All of these drafts are based on 12-team point-per-reception (PPR) leagues that feature one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, two flex players (running backs, wide receivers and tight ends), one kicker and one defense/special teams units in the starting lineup each week. Another wrinkle is that in the FFPC, tight ends get 1.5 points for every catch making them more valuable than in other formats.
Briefly, here’s how things have changed for the backfield:
June 12 ADP: 4.07 (The seventh pick of the fourth round)
July 9 ADP: 3.12 (The twelfth pick of the third round)
Each year, quarterbacks get depressed in the May and June drafts. With things starting to heat up, you can probably expect Rodgers to rise another round by the time the season rolls around.
June 12: 6.07
July 9: 6.03
Lacy’s rookie (and healthy) status has him climbing a bit. But unless he has a strong preseason, he’ll probably only rise as high as the late fifth round.
June 12: 11.08
July 9: 11.08
Nothing’s changed for Lacy’s projected back-up. The Lacy owners looking to give themselves a little insurance are still drafting Franklin at the same spot.
June 12: 17.03
July 9: 19.11
Alex Green is still listed as the Packers number one running back – on paper. That will most likely change come training camp. Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Alex Green running with the starters for the majority of OTAs probably is the biggest reason for this drop. But Harris isn’t even guaranteed a roster spot at this point, so he’s a solid flier selection here.
June 12: N/A
July 9: N/A
High stakes fantasy football players are certainly not buying into Green despite him working with the ones so far this season. Lacy, Franklin and even Harris stand as higher-drafted players at this point.
June 12: 20.09
July 9: 19.11
Kickers can fluctuate wildly over the course of the last two rounds, so this isn’t a surprise to see Crosby shoot up almost a full round.
That’s the backfield recap. Here are the wide receivers, tight ends and defense:
Randall Cobb: 3.08
The FFPC is a PPR contest, so Cobb has quite a bit of appeal here. He caught 80 of his 104 targets last year, and with Greg Jennings in Minnesota, he stands to take another step forward in 2013. High stakes guys are believers so far, and his ADP could even crawl up another eight or nine picks when it’s all said and done.
Jordy Nelson: 4.11
Not too far behind is Cobb’s teammate Nelson here. Injuries curtailed his fantasy production in 2012, but players are still willing to pay a premium fourth round pick for Rodgers’ secondary target on an elite offense this season.
James Jones: 6.11
Most people outside of Wisconsin (and even some within the state borders) don’t know that Jones led the NFL in receiving touchdowns last year. Not bad for a guy who had to fight for targets from Cobb, Jennings, Nelson and Finley. Still, a regression to the mean is almost inevitable, and fantasy football players are drafting him accordingly.
Jermichael Finley’s fantasy stock is somewhat low at this point, but that could change. Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports photograph
Jermichael Finley: 7.10
This one is a little surprising given the premium tight end scoring in the FFPC format. Eight tight ends are going ahead of Finley, so clearly the high stakes guys and gals are liking Rodgers’ wide-outs more so than his top tight end. I would still expect Finley’s ADP to climb, especially if he notches a couple solid preseason games under his belt.
Perhaps the more useful information is that the Packers’ D is the sixth one being selected on average in these drafts. While Green Bay will miss the ball-hawking Charles Woodson and Cobb’s expected absence on punt and kick returns, Dom Capers’ unit should be able to be among the league leaders in turnovers again with his aggressive strategy. At least, that’s what the fantasy footballers are saying.