Despite the fact that there are many NFL and fantasy football fans who pick over offseason news with a fine-tooth comb, we understand that there are still a lot of you out there who simply don't have time to keep up with player movements or the happenings of each team. That's why yours truly is here to give you the lowdown on the recent 2014 news of each team, both AFC and NFC and how it impacts your fantasy football league/team.
Today, it's onto the Green Bay Packers, who should be in a battle with the Chicago Bears for yet another NFC North title and playoff spot.
Green Bay Packers
Reeling from another early postseason loss to the 49ers in 2013, the Packers remain one of the favorites for the NFC North title as their turnover on offense was minimal at best. Losing WR James Jones (Oak) and Jermichael Finley (free agency) shouldn't have much of an impact on the long-term value of QB Aaron Rodgers.
There is nowhere to go but up for Rodgers owners after the veteran signal caller missed 7 games last season due to a broken collarbone. For 2014, it's business as usual with Rodgers currently battling both Broncos QB Peyton Manning and Saints QB Drew Brees for the No. 1 fantasy quarterback spot. However, his current "overall" ADP comes in at around the bottom of the second round. That's fairly low compared to past years. If your league scores 6 points per passing touchdown, there is value there. Before 2013, Rodgers passed for 45 scores in 2011 and 39 in 2012, while keeping his interception total under 10 in both years. The Packers have a legitimate run game now, but that won't keep Rodgers from putting up top 5 fantasy numbers amongst other quarterbacks.
After trying and failing to make a name for themselves as a running team, it appears that last year's training camp news about Eddie Lacy being fat and lazy was all for not. Lacy proved to be a strong draft pick, having posted his first 1000 yard season in his rookie year. A fluke first year? Highly doubtful. Especially when you consider the Packers had enough confidence in Lacy to give him 15 carries short of 300. Not to mention he played most of the latter half of the year on an injured ankle.
Also proving to be a force in the passing game with 35 receptions, there should be no surprise that Lacy is flirting with RB1 rankings across the board. James Starks and coaching favorite DuJuan Harris will get there carries so Lacy remains fresh, but it's not enough to knock Lacy out of his current ranking. Especially considering guys like Buccaneers RB Doug Martin are falling. Starks and Harris don't have much stand-alone value with Lacy bogarting the touches.
As I mentioned above, the receiving corps took a slight makeover during the offseason. However, the core players like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb remain. It should be noted that both players are entering contract years and will be looking to cash in. The Packers would like to iron out a new deal with Nelson as soon as possible. Since he's the most valuable player the Packers have on offense, dynasty owners shouldn't worry. I can't see him going anywhere. In regards to his fantasy value; Nelson (along with Cobb) are both ranked in the top 10 in PPR leagues. Nelson has generated 202 catches in 48 games, along with 30 touchdowns. Before an injury-filled 2013, Cobb caught 80 passes in 2012. And that was with both Nelson and Jones on the field. It's being predicted that Cobb could reel in his first 100-catch season and, perhaps, lead the league in receptions in 2014. Cobb has tremendous upside. Nelson has that "safe pick" feel. One can't argue both being WR1s in 2014.
As for the third receiver spot, it's believed it will be "hard to dislodge" Jarrett Boykin from his No. 3 spot. Despite a crowd at the receiver position, Boykin still averaged 42.6 yards per game in 16 appearances in 2013. Boykin's value is also high due to the Packers not having a true pass-catching starter at tight end. Not yet anyways. While his value isn't that high, Boykin could be a nice grab-and-stash should either Nelson or Cobb miss time.
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Rookie Davante Adams, the team's second-round pick appears to be more of an insurance policy with both Nelson and Cobb waiting on their contract situations. For now Adams is better off as a long-term prospect in dynasty leagues. It's doubtful he'll unseat Boykin for the No. 3 job this year or make that much of an impact on the field outside of an injury.
After Finley failed to reach his fantasy potential the past few years, the team finds itself in a bit of a hole at the tight end position. Andrew Quarless is currently listed as the starter, with Brandon Bostick coming in as backup. Neither of these guys are worthy of your time. Quarless had a shot to make a name for himself in 2010 when Finley suffered a season-ending knee injury. As one of the top waiver picks during that week, he flopped terribly. The Packers have been talking Bostick up as their best blocking tight end, so don't expect many passes going his way.
We've been saying for awhile now that the player to keep an eye on is Colt Lyerla. Skipped over in the draft after quitting the Oregon program in 2013 and then getting into trouble with cocaine possession, the Packers signed Lyerla on May 19th. Lyerla is a natural talent with a 6'3/242 frame, 4.6 speed and a 39-inch vertical. While he isn't someone I would take in my initial re-draft, he is someone I have on the radar as a possible waiver pick up. Due to the lack of true talent at the tight end position, Lyerla could make a name for himself as soon as midseason. He is a must pick-up dynasty option. Some of his Oregon teammates have heaped high praise on Lyerla in recent weeks, including Eagles WR Josh Huff and Oregon CB Terrance Mitchell. While low on the tight end totem pole, Lyerla's upside is too good to ignore.