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Our community can rarely agree on anything, but Aaron Rodgers being the No. 1 quarterback each year seems to be about as close as we get. Or at least it used to be. One has to wonder if it's time for him to pass the crown.
Over the past five years, Rodgers has had two "Aaron Rodgers years". In 2014 and 2016 he topped 4,000 yards and threw at least 38 touchdowns. Those are feats he accomplished in 2011 and 2012 as well. But, in two of the past five years he's he's suffered a shoulder injury and missed approximately half of the season. Also, there was that weird year sandwiched in between, where he was without Jordy Nelson and looked almost pedestrian with a receiving corps very similar to the one he has heading into 2018.
Rodgers will turn 35 during the upcoming season and will once again be without Nelson. The Packers instead added 31-year-old tight end Jimmy Graham in hopes of replacing Nelson's red zone performance. But Graham saw his catch rate (59 percent) and yards per reception (9.1) drop to career-lows last year and he's also battled injuries over the last three seasons.
It's not difficult to craft a narrative where Rodgers is no longer the No. 1 quarterback in Fantasy, but we're not here for narratives right now. When looking at this from strictly a numbers perspective, it's hard to expect anything less that 4,000 yards and 35 touchdowns and that makes him comfortably the top signal caller in Fantasy.
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
EXPECTED PPR FP
Breaking down the touches
Edgar Bennett has been replaced at offensive coordinator by Joe Philbin, but it will still be Mike McCarthy calling the plays. Philbin was the Packers' offensive coordinator from 2007-2011, and Rodgers sounds very happy to have him back. While I won't discount the possibility that Philbin's arrival means good things for the offense, I mostly just enjoy that we have a three year history of McCarthy and Philbin working together to look back on.
The offense was rather consistent in those three years, with the team throwing the ball between 541 and 553 times all three years. The Packers really didn't involve running backs in the passing game much back then, and their tight usage was sporadic. With Graham on the team, I'd expect he'll get plenty of targets, and the receivers always do in this offense. That's probably bad news for pass-catching running backs.
- By far the most interesting thing happening with the Packers from a Fantasy perspective is the battle at running back. If one back wins the starting job and keeps it all year, he's likely a top-20 option. But guessing which back that will be before camp is near impossible. It sounds like they plan on a committee approach and Ty Montgomery will be heavily involved for as long as he stays healthy.
- I could be a little low on Davante Adams' touchdown rate, but only because the Packers' history just doesn't seem sustainable. Adams had 10 in 14 games last year, and 12 the year before. If he keeps that rate up he's a top-eight receiver.
- Jimmy Graham has huge upside and enormous risk. If last year's decline was a deterioration of skills, he may be nothing more than a low-end, touchdown-dependent tight end. But if he bounces back, he could give you double-digit touchdowns and be a top-three option.
Geronimo Allison is the main name to know here, especially if Ty Montgomery stays at running back or can't stay healthy. Allison has been unimpressive thus far in his young career, but he's a third-year receiver and he has Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback. With the injury history of both Montgomery and Randall Cobb it's not difficult to imagine Allison becoming the team's No. 3 option in the passing game. But he'll have to beat out a host of rookies.
The Packers selected three wide receivers in the draft, taking J'Mon Moore with pick 133, Marquez Valdes-Scantling at 174 and Equanimeous St. Brown at 207. St. Brown is the one who interests me the most in the short and long term. He can win big in a situation where coverage is slanted toward Adams, especially with Rodgers as his quarterback. But he'll have to make the team first, which is no sure thing with the sudden depth the Packers have at receiver.