QB – Aaron Rodgers
Week 9 Statistics:
26/43, 297 passing yards, 3 passing TDs, 1 INT, 43 rushing yards; 27.18 fantasy points
Rodgers and his offense, despite their 26 points, did not have a great day.
Despite a terrible defense across from them (per Football Outsiders, Indianapolis ranks #30 in Weighted Defensive DVOA) and a ton of positive opportunities, Green Bay found little consistency until they were down 31-13.
At that point, Rodgers had gone just 16/31 for 178 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The next two Packers drives saw him lead the offense through the air for 119 yards on 10/12 passing and the two TDs (as well as 21 of his rushing yards) to salvage his fantasy performance and give the team at least one last chance to win if they could get the ball back.
Of course they never did, but the offense showed the kind of urgency and playmaking which proves it is there for them somewhere; the team just must actually find a way to harness it more effectively without putting themselves in such drastically bad circumstances first.
Part of the problem could be alleviated if they get themselves to the red zone more frequently. Per Football Outsiders’ drive stats (updated through 8 weeks, so the Colts game is not included), Green Bay has the 20th-best average starting field position in the league. Constant long drives can make it difficult on an offense to get themselves in scoring position, and elevates the odds of having ones which fall short. The issues striking the Green Bay running game also don’t help those matters; passes may accumulate more yardage than runs, but when a team cannot trust in their ability to hand off the ball for gains on occasion it hampers their ability to move up the field with consistency.
Once in the red zone, the offense rates average as a whole (per Football Outsiders, they rank #17 in points per red zone drive and #14 in TDs per red zone drive), but they have multiple individual players who have proven to be strong performers in that area — of course led by Rodgers. Though his accuracy has been somewhat subpar so far (57.89% completion percentage) he has a 17-0 TD-INT ratio there. He also has multiple capable receiving targets in that area; per Pro Football Reference, Jordy Nelson (6 TDs), Davante Adams (4 TDs), and Randall Cobb (3 TDs) each are among the 25 top-rated red zone receivers through 9 weeks.
Against Tennessee, it may be difficult to get in that area again however. Per Football Outsiders’ drive stats, the Titans have had the 5th-best average defensive starting field position in the league while having the 11th-best defensive drive success (meaning: drives that result in a first down or TD); suffice to say, they pin the opposition back with regularity and force them into failed drives.
Fortunately, their pass defense is exploitable (#27 in Pass Defense DVOA), so Rodgers should be able to find his litany of targets on the afternoon. Drives may not always reach the end zone, but a good number of them should provide points to the Packers — and add up to a strong fantasy outing for fantasy players.