When you are as good as the Green Bay Packers are, you don’t take the preseason as seriously as some other teams. At least that is what it appears like. Most Packers starters were out of the third preseason game before the first quarter ended.
That might partially explain their sloppy performance against the Denver Broncos, a 20-17 loss at Mile High Stadium, but it doesn’t explain everything.
The Packers’ starting offensive line was still in the game when Von Miller sacked Aaron Rodgers and generally disrupted things over Rodgers’ two series. Granted, they won’t be fighting a rush as fierce as the Broncos’ all year, but it raised some flags.
Rodgers managed to get off five passes, completing three for only 12 yards before yielding control to Brett Hundley for the night. Receivers Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Davante Adams each caught one of two targets before calling it a night, as did tight end Martellus Bennett.
Ty Montgomery put talk about his starting status to rest with a 25-yard burst and a strong touchdown run among his 34 total yards. Then he watched the rookie rumored to be threatening his position, Jamaal Williams, manage four yards on three carries. Another rookie, Aaron Jones had a great night, averaging 7 yards per carry which included a 28-yard run.
The defense had its moments, providing pressure up front that helped their young secondary have a decent night.
What did we learn
The brief outings by Green Bay’s starters were enough to validate their historical status on one of the most explosive offenses in the league. We can assume Rodgers’ yards-per-attempt will be better than the 2.4 he posted against Denver.
The starting receiving corps looks comfortable and ready to start the season, as does Montgomery. What the game also showed us is an alarming lack of experience among the second team players. Running back, in particular, is manned by Montgomery and five rookies. Jeff Janis is in his fourth year as the fourth receiver, backed up by second-year players Geronimo Allison and Trevor Davis along with five more rookies.
The most experienced depth is at tight end, with Lance Kendricks and Richard Rodgers playing behind Martellus Bennett. The offensive line reserves offered little resistance to Denver’s reserve defenders. Other than Don Barclay, none have more than a year’s experience under their belts, either.
Fortunately, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers can carry a team through difficult situations. If receivers go down, he will make the young reserve corps look good. The overall leader in points last year is a safe bet to challenge that title again, barring injury. In a six point per touchdown league, he is worth drafting too early for a quarterback.
Jordy Nelson (WR6) and Davante Adams (WR20) are drafting ahead of Randall Cobb (WR39). A healthy Cobb might prove to be a slight bargain, but that is roughly where I expect them to end up.
Ty Montgomery’s ADP dropped from the third round to the fourth as Jamaal Williams’ stock rose. Now that he has proven himself healthy, his ADP could creep back up a few slots. RB 16-19 is where he sits now as a volume-driven RB option. The main reason given for a diminished role was Montgomery’s ineffective blitz pickups, but none of the rookie crop has proven particularly adept in that regard, either. Williams, Jones, and probably Devante Mays will back Montgomery up and may share some carries, but it does not look like it will have much impact on the starter’s fantasy value.
Those other fantasy guys
Martellus Bennett’s fantasy impact has come under much discussion. Traditionally, we have not seen tight ends have much impact in Green Bay. But they haven’t had a pass-catching tight end of Bennett’s caliber recently, either. I would not draft him as a top-ten option until I see what happens, but there is a good percentage of owners who are betting I am wrong. He currently enjoys the TE7 ADP in the seventh round.
Mason Crosby is holding the PK6 ADP after finishing 15th last season. I don’t know why. There are far worthier kickers to be had.
Green Bay does not have a terrible defense. The problem is that other teams are always playing from behind and that leads to a lot of garbage time statistics. They are a mid-range DST not worth starting most weeks.
So… that’s that
Green Bay will be in the playoff mix as always, but the important question is whether their players can get you into the fantasy playoff mix. We expect to see a lot of Packers drafted across the spectrum.
But you never know what will happen. If things don’t turn out as expected, check back with us at RealSport for updates and advice.
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