Oct 4, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) against the San Francisco 49ers in the third quarter at Levi
QB – Aaron Rodgers
Last Week: 22/32, 224 passing yards, 1 passing TD, 33 rush yards; 16.26 fantasy points
After a stellar start to the year, Aaron Rodgers kind of had a down game. That works in terms of both his actual statistics and his fantasy output; he collected only 16.26 this past week, compared to over 20.00 in each of the first three weeks (23.06, 22.26, and 34.92, respectively).
This occurrence doesn’t mean he had a necessarily bad game, just not one that was as useful to fantasy purposes as we would have hoped. He was still able to make enough plays when needed to bring about victory, both through the air and with his feet; Pro Football Focus’ grading system gave him a +4.4 rating for the performance despite the low-ish yardage total and only a single touchdown pass.
For a litany of reasons, this unfortunately may be another week where we see an underwhelming performance numbers-wise that provides enough for a victory on the field.
First off, the team they face is about as unpredictable as they come. St. Louis has major talent across their defense even without Alec Ogletree (injured last week; will miss most or all of the remaining season), especially on the defensive line. This talent has been key in their victories over Seattle and Arizona, but it noticeably did not play nearly well enough in losses to Washington and Pittsburgh. They tend to show up for bigger games however (with Green Bay being 4-0 and considered by many as the top NFC team), so that should be taken into account.
What also needs to be accounted for is the fact that this Packers line has dropped off big-time from their high-level play during 2014. That is easily explainable: Bryan Bulaga has missed three weeks, leaving Don Barclay as the starter at right tackle in that time. Of course, it isn’t all Barclay’s fault (David Bakhtiari has also struggled on the left side), but his PFF rating* after just three games of playing is an abysmal -22.0, while allowing 22 quarterback disruptions (i.e.: sacks, hits, hurries). The interior guys have been better, but even if they manage to shut down players like Aaron Donald, Nick Fairley, and Michael Brockers, the pressure applied from the outside guys like Robert Quinn and Chris Long could still be a major issue on passing downs.
That all spells trouble for Rodgers.
Now before we get too doom-&-gloom here, there are some favorable factors to consider too. That inconsistency issue could play out well for the Packers if St. Louis can’t step up their emotional fire after another big divisional win. The defensive line’s impact can be suppressed somewhat if the run game works well. Quick-hit play-calling can counter the pass rush to some degree. This game is at Lambeau Field, where the team tends to play at an almost-unbeatable level. And of course, Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in football.
All factors considered I think we’ll see another strong game from Aaron Rodgers, but just as with last week it won’t be one that wows anybody on the stat sheets (fantasy or otherwise).
Still, if you have him, you start him. Any given game he’s liable to go off (who really saw that 5-TD outburst against Kansas City?); do you really want to be the guy who lost because he benched Aaron Rodgers?
Week 5 Prediction: 225 passing yards, 2 TDs, 15 rush yards; 18.50 Fantasy Points
Verdict: Underwhelming By His Standards (But Still Worth The Start)
*PFF = Pro Football Focus