It's going to be weird to see Jordy Nelson not wearing green and gold, but it doesn't mean he's going to stink. The 11-year veteran continues his career as a starter with the Raiders following his March release from Green Bay. Nelson won't be a very popular Fantasy choice given his disappointing 2017, but a look inside the numbers might convince you otherwise. With quality quarterback and trusted ally Aaron Rodgers, Nelson averaged 11.7 yards per catch with six touchdowns. From backup Brett Hundley, Nelson came down with 7.1 yards per catch and zero touchdowns. Perhaps the quarterback matters when it comes to Nelson, who still has a hint of speed in his legs despite being 33 years old. Working with Derek Carr in training camp will go a long way in determining how good he will be. For now, consider Nelson a borderline No. 3 Fantasy receiver worth a pick in Round 8 in PPR and Round 9 in non-PPR.
Nelson caught one of two targets for four yards in Friday's preseason-opening win over the Lions. Nelson was on the field with the first-team offense for just one drive with starting quarterback Derek Carr at the helm, but the 33-year-old receiver still managed to see a pair of targets in only five snaps. Nelson doesn't have much to prove in preseason contests at this point in his career, but any live game action with Carr at quarterback should help as the duo builds a rapport during their first season together. The former Packer brings a mature presence to the Raiders' wide receiver corps, which figures to be led in production by fourth-year veteran Amari Cooper.
Nelson has agreed to terms with the Raiders, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Per NFL.com, the wideout's two-year deal is worth $15 million, including $13 million guaranteed. To make room for Nelson, the Raiders parted ways with Michael Crabtree on Thursday. Nelson, who turns 33 on May 31, saw his production dip in 2017, as he caught 53 passes for 482 yards and six TDs in 15 games. Much of that decline is directly related to the fact that star QB Aaron Rodgers missed the majority of the season. Nelson will now look to prove that he still has something left to offer at this stage of his NFL career, while building chemistry with QB Derek Carr and starting opposite Amari Cooper. While it's going be difficult for Nelson to approach the stellar numbers that he racked up in his prime for Green Bay in tandem with Rodgers, there should be enough volume for him in Oakland to merit fantasy consideration in the context of coach Jon Gruden's offense.
The Raiders are closing in on a contract with Nelson, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. Nelson has wasted no time in finding a new home, seemingly landing with the first organization that inquired about his services. In 2017, he looked like a shell of himself, but working with Brett Hundley instead of Aaron Rodgers for most of the season didn't help Nelson's cause. If the Raiders and Nelson reach an agreement, as expected, he'll get to work with one of the better young quarterbacks in the NFL in Derek Carr. It's been suggested Michael Crabtree would be the casualty of Nelson signing with Oakland, but Nelson would still be nothing better than the No. 2 wideout within the offense, in any case, with Amari Cooper also in the fold.
The Packers released Nelson on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports. At this point in his career, Nelson is Aaron Rodgers-dependent, posting no more than 35 yards in the eight games in which he played without the signal caller in 2017. While Rodgers will be back in the fold this season, Nelson's age (he'll be 33 in May) and cap figure ($12.5 million this season) likely swayed the decision-making process in Green Bay. The long-time Packer enters the open market with 69 touchdowns among his 550 receptions, but on the heels of a career-worst 9.1 YPC.
Packers general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Mike McCarthy were adamant Wednesday that Nelson remains a key part of the team's nucleus, Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Upon returning for the 2016 season after missing the previous campaign while recovering from a torn ACL, Nelson wasn't the downfield threat he had been in his prime years, but was nonetheless supremely impressive in finishing with 97 receptions for 1,257 yards and 14 touchdowns. That showing was expected to make Nelson a safe early-round fantasy selection in 2017, but the wideout instead saw his numbers crash in dramatic fashion, averaging a career-worst 9.1 yards per reception while scoring just six touchdowns, his lowest total in any season since 2010. While the absence of franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers (collarbone) for nearly 10 full games surely factored into the downturn in productivity, Nelson still didn't look like his usual self in the six contests Rodgers completed, reeling in 22 of 33 targets for 258 yards, with only three receptions of 20-plus yards. It appears the Packers aren't planning to limit Nelson's role or to ask him to take a pay cut as he heads into his age-33 campaign, but his diminished explosiveness means that fantasy players shouldn't necessarily expect a dramatic bounce back from the receiver in 2018 even with a healthy Rodgers back in the fold.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/11||Los Angeles Rams||11||18.47|
|5||10/07||@Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|9||11/02||@San Francisco 49ers||23||20.38|
|10||11/11||Los Angeles Chargers||7||17.00|
|13||12/02||Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
|17||12/30||@Kansas City Chiefs||30||23.35|
Red Zone Trends
|3 Year Avg||120||75||870||10||50||11.60||147|