The last thing we ever want to see is an injury to a star player. We've already lost Arian Foster (groin) for potentially half of the season and Kelvin Benjamin (torn ACL) for the year. On Sunday, Jordy Nelson went down during the second preseason game against the Steelers, and it didn't look good.
The initial report is a torn left ACL, which would force Nelson to miss the season. That's terrible for Nelson, the Packers and Fantasy owners. Nelson was a consensus Top 10 Fantasy receiver and was being drafted in the first 20 picks in the majority of leagues.
You can't replace a player of Nelson's caliber. He's averaged 92 catches, 1,417 yards and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons and has been Aaron Rodgers' No. 1 receiver since 2011. Many of you have drafted already, and Nelson's production will be missed.
In Green Bay, Rodgers should be able to manage without Nelson, but this injury should end the debate if Rodgers is better than Andrew Luck. It was a close call on the No. 1 quarterback coming into the season, but losing Nelson downgrades Rodgers in this competition.
It also hurts the Packers overall coming into the season. According to SportsLine, the team has less win potential if Nelson is out. And SportsLine has new projections for Rodgers following the injury.
Now, that doesn't mean Rodgers will suffer with his production. Randall Cobb is still an elite talent, and he will be the No. 1 target in this passing game. Rodgers should still be drafted in the second round, and Cobb moves up to No. 8 in the receiver rankings behind Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, Odell Beckham and A.J. Green. Cobb just solidified his standing as a Top 20 overall player.
Another reason Rodgers should still do well are the receivers behind Nelson and Cobb. Davante Adams was already a popular sleeper as the No. 3 receiver coming into the season, and he now gets a huge boost in value with Nelson out.
This offseason, Adams spent plenty of time running in Nelson's spot in the first-team offense when Nelson was dealing with a hip injury. That should help the rapport with Rodgers and Adams, and he immediately jumps into the Top 20 receivers in my rankings.
I like Adams enough that I would draft him as a high-end No. 2 Fantasy receiver in Round 5. His Average Draft Position prior to Sunday was Round 12, so anyone who drafted already has potentially the steal of the draft.
Last year as a rookie, Adams had 38 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns on 66 targets, which doesn't seem like much, but when Adams was involved he produced. He had four games with at least eight targets in 2014 (at MIA in Week 6, at NO in Week 8, vs. NE in Week 13 and vs. DAL in the playoffs). In all four games he had at least six catches and 75 yards, including two 100-yard outings against the Patriots and Cowboys.
Nelson had 11 games with at least eight targets last year, including the playoffs, and finished with 151 targets. Hopefully those looks from Rodgers go to Adams, and we expect him to deliver.
There's also a hole to replace Adams as the No. 3 receiver, and Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery will fight for that role. Green Bay could also use the tight end more, with second-year man Richard Rodgers potentially in line for a boost.
The one to speculate on would be Janis, who earned plenty of praise this offseason but has struggled in training camp. He will get the first opportunity to be the No. 3 receiver for the Packers, and he's definitely worth a late-round flier in all leagues.
We wish Nelson didn't get hurt, but hopefully Adams and even Janis will step up in his place. The Packers offense should be fine, including Eddie Lacy, but we wish Nelson was playing in 2015 instead of dealing with a season-ending injury.