The NFL Draft is officially over, which means we can finally move on from the endless mock drafts and on to what really matters, fantasy football. I don’t care if it’s only May. You can never be too prepared for your fantasy drafts. When it comes to fantasy, few positions are more polarizing than quarterback. Do you reach early for the elite or wait it out and target late round value? If you prefer grabbing your quarterback early in the draft than I think Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers is your guy. When healthy, he is a yearly top 3 fantasy quarterback and with new head coach Matt Lafleur running the offense, the sky’s the limit.
Aaron Rodgers Fantasy Football Preview
Rodgers spent most of his 2018 season dealing with a number of injuries that kept him from being the player we’ve all come to expect. After fracturing his tibia in Week 1 against the Bears, Rodgers was forced to wear a clunky knee brace that limited his mobility and forced him to play much more from the pocket than desired. This led to what looked like a frustrated and confused offense for most of the year causing a lot of people to point fingers at head coach Mike McCarthy. The final straw came late in the season after an ugly home loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals. McCarthy was fired later that day and a few weeks later, Lafleur became Packers head coach.
I think the switch at head coach is going to be the key to getting Rodgers back to his MVP level. Even with the injuries and all the drama surrounding the team, Rodgers still finished with 4,442 yards, 25 touchdowns, and only two interceptions. Now that he’s going into 2019 with a clean bill of health and a newly designed offense, Rodgers should be back atop the league come September.
Everyone knows this Packers offense runs through Rodgers, but maybe that’s not such a good thing. For years, every team facing the Packers put all their game planning into stopping Rodgers. That is not going to work anymore.
With the emergence of running back Aaron Jones and the playcalling style of Lafleur, teams are going to have to completely change the way they prepare for this Packers offense. Both of these factors should play a huge role in getting Rodgers back to his normal self.
Now that Rodgers has the help of a reliable run game, the whole passing game is going to open up. Gone are the two deep safeties with a four-man rush. Defenses will need to stack the box more which is going to give Rodgers deep ball opportunities all game long. In his career, Rodgers has some otherworldly numbers when going deep, most notably, his 52 touchdowns of over 40 yards. 52! I think the Packers are going to go back to that style of football, giving Rodgers a chance to make deep down the field.
Turning our attention to the Packers wide receivers and tight ends, I see a pretty top heavy group with some young breakout potential. The group is of course led by star wide receiver Davante Adams who is a touchdown machine and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham who I think is in store for a bounce-back year. Behind those two, things get a bit murkier with wide receivers Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown. All three have shown potential but none have much-sustained success. At least one of these guys will have to step up and become Rodgers third option.
Overall, when healthy, Rodgers is a lock for a top three fantasy finish. All you need to do is look at the stats. Over the last 11 seasons, Rodgers has played all 16 games nine times, in eight of those nine seasons he finished with over 300 fantasy points. For reference, Tom Brady has scored over 300 points just four times over the last 12 years.
Average Draft Position
Rodgers’ current ADP is at 54, which is considerably lower than usual. If you’re someone who really values quarterbacks in fantasy, then getting Rodgers in that 50-55 range is terrific. For me, I see quarterback as a more water-downed position due to the amount of talent that there is around the league. Just about every week there are guys drafted in the 10th round or later that score 20+ fantasy points, which is really all you can ask for.
I love Rodgers and he’s one of the best to ever do it, but quarterbacks just aren’t that valuable in fantasy. In almost every scenario your first six to eight picks should be on skill positions and then focus on quarterback a little later in the draft.