2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Green Bay Packers
It’s funny that Aaron Rodgers has had the same coach for his entire prolific career and only last year was it “clearly all Mike McCarthy’s fault” that the Packers fell apart. People blame the play calling, but Aaron Rodgers had one of the highest rates of changing the plays at scrimmage of all QB’s in 2018. Hmm. Well, Rodgers got his new coach, Matt LaFleur, who has worked under some great minds. But, his two years as an OC (one with the Rams, the other with the Titans) can certainly be deemed a mixed bag.
Of course, talent helps, and the Packers have a HoF QB to run the offense. However, is more control for Rodgers the best thing for the Packers? Can the young HC implement his road map while Rodgers has the keys to the car? It would be wise to shake the misconception that Mike McCarthy’s departure is an automatic “cure all” for the ills of the Packers. Green Bay was 1-7 on the last year and that’s not a good look for a team with playoff aspirations.
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2019 Green Bay Packers Fantasy Preview
KEY LOSSES: Clay Mathews OLB, Jake Ryan ILB, Randall Cobb WR
Impact: It’ll be strange to see Clay Mathews in another uniform, but at 33, he’s slowing down and his PFF grades were not good last year. The Packers will miss his leadership, but letting him go was probably wise. Ryan missed 2018 with an ACL tear and Randall Cobb was a disappointment. The Packers have some up and coming talent at WR and there was no reason to waste cap space on Cobb.
KEY ADDITIONS: Za’Darius Smith OLB, Preston Smith OLB, Adrian Amos FS, Billy Turner G
Impact: Za’Darius Smith had 8.5 sacks last year, but he kinda came out of nowhere. We’ll find out now that he got paid, if the 2018 season was a breakout or an anomaly. Preston Smith (no relation) is another undefined entity, but he’s coming off of a down year with Washington. Adrian Amos is the best off-season defensive signing and should bring stability to the secondary.
DRAFTED PLAYERS OF FANTASY NOTE: Rashan Gary DE, Darnell Savage S, Jace Sternberger TE, Elgton Jenkins OL
Impact: I personally value productivity over “measurables”, so the Rashan Gary pick wasn’t dazzling for me. He has the tools, but there have been plenty of guys with tools before. Only time will tell if he can turn them into production. Darnell Savage is a playmaker and the Packers are hoping he can be the kind of player that can turn the momentum of a game. Jace Sternberger won’t be a useful cog in the offense in 2019, while Jenkins’ versatility makes him a nice addition to the line. He will likely play G, but played C in college.
Aaron Rodgers had a strong season, but it was a tad shy by his normal standards, and it’s possible we’ll be seeing a lesser version of Rodgers going forward. After an entire summer campaigning for Aaron Jones, I was finally vindicated by a strong second half. The trouble is the ADP has gone way up and I’m not sold that he can return that value in 2019. Davante Adams is about as steady a fantasy asset as you can ask for and there’s no reason not to bid aggressively on him again. Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham are nothing special, but Maquez Valdes-Scantling has some late-round upside. He showed some flashes in his rookie season and could be poised to take a step forward in his second season.
The Packers were a middling defense last year and particularly lame against the run (22nd overall). The goal this off-season was to put more pressure on the QB and it’s possible they’ve done so. Although, creating turnovers is where they lacked and that’s still a potential issue.
The Packers are fighting for air in a tough division and although they have the best QB, they don’t have the best roster nor the defense to really compete. Still, Rodgers has carried them before with less. However, that was in his younger days. If they struggle, it will be fascinating who the next scapegoat will be?
Joe’s making his way through all 32 teams. Check out all of his Fantasy Previews.