What’s not to like about the fantasy prospects of the Packers?
Tom Clements enters his fourth year as offensive coordinator and the team reeks of stability and firepower. Aaron Rodgers is no youngster at 32-years-old but he’s a lock for 4000+ passing yards and 30 touchdowns and could end up much higher. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are both signed to long contracts and come off dual 1000 yard seasons for a total of 2806 receiving yards between just the two plus a combined 25 touchdowns.
As if that isn’t enough, second rounder Davante Adams turned in a solid rookie season that included 117 yards and a score in the win over the Cowboys during the Divisional round of the playoffs. Richard Rogers was drafted in the third round of 2014 and is already sparking enthusiasm that the tight end position might actually start to matter again in Green Bay.
The riches don’t stop with the rushing effort. Eddie Lacy already has back-to-back 1100+ rushing yard seasons and is up to 42 receptions for 427 yards and four scores as a receiver. His 13 overall touchdowns tied for third best among all NFL running backs. What he lacks in never having a monster game is more than made up by never having a bad game. He’s money every week.
The Packers are loaded and ready to challenge for their seventh straight playoff run. And no team can claim such consistency, cohesion and firepower with the exact same set of players in the exact same scheme. It almost seems unfair to teams using one of the seven new head coaches or twelve new offensive coordinators.
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback
Not much needed to say about Rodgers who comes off yet another great season – 4381 pass yards and 38 TDs with a dash of rushing yardage and two more scores. Rodgers is in a mature offense with all the same star players returning. He and Andrew Luck should be the first two QB taken in every draft.
Eddie Lacy, Running Back
Lacy’s second season was a near mirror image of his rookie year – 1425 total yards and 11 TDs (2013) vs. 1566 total yards and 13 TDs. The beauty of Lacy is that he consistently produces good games thanks to his role as a receiver as well. He only had three 100 yard rushing efforts in 2014 and those were never more than 105 yards. But he offers a reliable source of weekly fantasy points. He ended around the #5 RB last year no matter what your scoring rules were. He doesn’t offer the big spikes much but getting solid weekly points from your first pick is what you want. HC Mike McCarthy said he’ll have his touches limited to keep him healthy but Lacy is a workhorse back and the Packers will use him as much as they need.
James Starks, Running Back
Starks is only a backup and that is all he will ever be. He is used to rest Eddie Lacy but only gained 333 yards on 85 carries in that role in 2014. He’s a handcuff of sorts for the Lacy owner but would not carry much expectations even if he had to sub for Lacy.
Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver
The Packers “showed him the money” when they gave Nelson a five-year, $43 million contract in July of 2104. He rewarded them with a career best season of 98-1519-13. He needed offseason hip surgery but is expected to be fine since it was just a clean-up procedure. Nelson is Aaron Rodgers’ preferred target in the end zone and he already knows the offense so missing OTA time is not a factor. Barring any unforeseen problem from his hip, Nelson is a safe bet for another Top 10 season.
Randall Cobb, Wide Receiver
Cobb comes off a career best season when he caught 91 passes for 1287 yards and 12 TDs for his first Top 10 year. He was in a contract year and was rewarded with a four- year, $40 million contract. Cobb himself said he knew it would be very tough to match last year especially with more passes expected to be heading to Richard Rodgers and Davante Adams. But even a small receding in stats still leaves Cobb as one of the elite WRs.
Davante Adams, Wide Receiver
Adams will be the #3 WR but he is certainly no afterthought. As a rookie, he posted 38-446-3 and had two 100 yard efforts including 7-117-1 in the playoff win in Dallas. The second round pick of 2014, Adams is just a talent waiting for an opportunity and should either Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb get injured, Adams is a hot property in that offense. HC Mike McCarthy said that Adams was the MVP this spring while he worked in place of Nelson who was recuperating. With both Nelson and Cobb wrapped up for the next three years, Adams will fall short of being a fantasy starter but he needs to be fantasy depth if only in case the starting two WRs are out.
Jeff Janis, Wide Receiver
Janis has a lead on the pack for taking the #4 spot but the rookie only had two catches last year and he’ll only be depth for this season.
Richard Rodgers, Tight End
The Packers second round pick last year only caught 20 passes for 225 yards and two TDs but is expected to take that second year leap in an offense that has not had a viable TE in a few years. Rodgers split catches with Andrew Quarless but should take over as the primary now that he understands the offense. A good showing in the preseason will help Rodgers start the year out with a larger role.
Andrew Quarless, Tight End
Quarless enters his sixth NFL season and still has never gained more than 323 yards or scored more than three times. Richard Rodgers is likely to take over as the primary and make Quarless even less productive. Throw in legal problems from a gun incident over July 4th and there is no reason to consider Rodgers.