In 2017 we found out that the Green Bay Packers are nothing without Aaron Rodgers. Apparently, Pro Football Focus disagrees when they called Green Bay one of the better rosters in the NFL. But… We have already established that they have lost most of their credibility so let’s keep it moving. The Packers don’t have a ton of storylines outside of trying to find a new contract extension for Rodgers. Embrace player mobility! Sorry, I was dreaming, I forgot it’s the No Fun League. Enough of my rants, what can we expect from the Green Bay Packers in 2018?
3 Position Battles To Watch:
1. Running Back: Ty Montgomery, Aaron Jones, Jamaal Williams
Fantasy owners stay away because this running back situation is almost impossible to predict. Jamaal Williams averaged 3.6 yards per rush on 153 attempts. Ty Montgomery averaged 3.8 yards per rush on 71 attempts. Finally, Aaron Jones averaged 5.5 yards per rush on 81 attempts. Based on that, Jones is probably the favorite but this could really swing on a moments notice especially because Jones is suspended for two games to start the year. Stay tuned this preseason!
2. Middle Linebacker: Blake Martinez, Jake Ryan, Oren Burks
Let’s just hope the days of Clay Matthews playing middle linebacker are over. Matthews is best when he’s rushing the pass but the Packers middle linebackers have been so bad that he’s been forced to play out of position. Blake Martinez is coming off a big breakout year when he recorded 144 tackles in 2017. That take cares of one spot but Jake Ryan and Oren Burks hope to solidify the other. Ryan had 81 tackles in 2017 while Oren Burks comes over as a third-round pick.
3. Cornerback: Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Josh Jackson, Tramon Williams, Quinten Rollins, Demetri Goodson, Davon House
The Packers cornerback group has been nothing short of a nightmare over recent years. Kevin King played well as a second-round pick in 2017 but now they add two more guys in the first and second round this year. All of the sudden, this Packers group is long and physical. Josh Jackson had 8 picks in college for Iowa this past year and excels in zone coverage. Alexander was probably my favorite corner this year coming out and has some shiftiness required for the position. This is the key to getting the Pack back to the postseason.
Ready To Breakout: Jimmy Graham
I think everyone knows what Jimmy Graham is capable of but I think we forgot just how good this guy is. For people that understand the X’s and O’s of the NFL, it wasn’t hard to figure out that Seattle was a terrible fit for Graham. They really had no idea how to use him. Outside of Graham’s rookie year with New Orleans when he was still figuring out the landscape coming over from basketball, Graham flat out dominated with the Saints. He never recorded less than 125 targets in four straight years. Graham never had more than 96 targets with the Seahawks with most of them being backdoor fades in the red zone. I’m expecting a 14 touchdown, 1,000 yard season and I’m not exagerating.
Rookie To Watch: JK Scott
Punters are people too! I watched a lot of Alabama football and JK Scott booms footballs. Field position is important in the NFL so keep an eye on whether Scott helps change the Packers fortunes in that regard.
Fantasy Sleeper: Geronimo Allison
Jordy Nelson is gone and someone is going to take those targets. Davante Adams and Randall Cobb will get theirs but who will emerge as the third guy? It could be the two young guys (Equanimeous St. Brown or J’Mon Moore.) or it could be a guy who’s paid his dues in the system, Geronimo Allison. Allison was a sleeper coming out of Illinois when he played really well in the East-West game a few years ago. When he’s gotten a chance to play for the Pack, he’s been pretty good. He’s averaged 13 yards per catch in two years in the league and could be that guy who makes plays down the field in 2018.