Nov 1, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) looks to pass during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 29-10. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
QB – Aaron Rodgers
Last Game: 14/22, 77 passing yards, 31 rush yards; 6.18 fantasy points
Despite completing 63% of his passes and not turning the ball over, Sunday was obviously the worst game of Aaron Rodgers’ career.
Luckily, it’s also unlikely a game that terrible will occur again.
While the issues with his receivers being unable to gain separation could and likely will continue (seeing as it has been an issue he’s discussed in three straight postgame interviews) — especially against a stout defensive unit such as Carolina (#2 in pass defense DVOA*, #2 in Weighted** Defensive DVOA) — it is extremely unlikely that a defense can completely dominate an offense in the fashion Denver handled Green Bay last week.
The Broncos were able to completely cover and follow receivers throughout the entirety of plays, even after they broke down. Rodgers was getting to hold the ball for 5-6 seconds at times, but the corners would not let their guards down. That may sound like something that would be second-nature for pros — especially against players like Aaron who are known for their penchant for extending plays and exploiting when coverage lags after the initial routes — but it is A LOT harder than it sounds to actually do that.
The Panthers will assuredly plan on doing the same thing — and do have capable coverage men in Josh Norman and Charles Tillman at CB and Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis at LB — but it would be foolish to expect them to have anywhere near as much success in that facet.
Is it impossible? Not at all; they are more than skilled enough. But just purely by happenstance the odds are astronomical for a performance of that level to occur in back-to-back games for an offense that is usually pretty strong and has plenty of talented pieces.
Rodgers should do markedly better this week, but that doesn’t exactly mean he’ll be at the levels we would like him to be at. There will likely be some decent percentage of production added by purely by regression to the mean and then some more due to Panthers being somewhat more susceptible in their secondary as a whole.
Despite those factors, I would not think he’s going to go off here. As I said, this Panthers defense is a powerful group. It will be difficult to make any huge plays consistently, and scoring likely won’t be too high.
It’s tough for me to actually believe I’m saying this, but if I were putting money on it, I would look for another option on the free agency pile this week. I’m too leery of where the offense is as a whole and the defense they have to face this week to bank on Rodgers having an outing worth playing him.
Week 9 Prediction: 275 passing yards, 1 TDs, 1 INT, 20 rush yards; 15.00 Fantasy Points
Verdict: Sit This One Out
*DVOA measures a team’s efficiency by comparing success on every single play to a league average based on situation and opponent.
**WEIGHTED DEFENSE is adjusted so that earlier games in the season become gradually less important. It better reflects how the team was playing at the end of the season.