Jordy Nelson injury fallout in Green Bay
On Monday, ESPN NFL Nation Green Bay Packers reporter Rob Demovsky stopped by the Pro Football Focus show hosted by Mike Clay on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio (10 a.m. ET weekdays – Sirius 210 & XM 87). Demovsky stopped by the show during the first week of August, but that was before Jordy Nelson’s season-ending injury. On Monday, Demovsky broke down all of the fantasy fallout from Nelson’s injury. You can find Demovsky on Twitter @robdemovsky.
Cobb’s Week 1 Status
Just one preseason game after the Nelson injury, Randall Cobb was forced from action with a shoulder injury that was later deemed to be a sprained AC joint. The injury is considered day-to-day at this point, but there has been no official update on Cobb’s Week 1 status. Demovsky provided his take on the situation.
“Sources say Packers are optimistic, but not certain that he has a pretty good chance of playing Week 1,” Demovsky said. “Cobb was upbeat after game. History with Packers, and them putting a player in front of the media after injury, points to him being okay.”
Slow Down That Adams Hype Train
Davante Adams has received a ton of buzz this offseason, mostly in the form of coach-speak and player-speak. During the preseason games, he hasn’t made much of an impact. With Nelson down, many expect Adams to inherit the majority of Nelson’s targets. Demovsky shares his take on how he feels the targets will shake out without Nelson in the mix.
“Nelson had 149 targets. Adams is not going to get 149 targets. He will play on the outside and be the guy they use on those shots they love taking down the field. That doesn’t suit Cobb’s game. Cobb said last week they’re going to be more balanced. This could mean more targets for tight ends. I expect Lacy to see more passes. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s in the upper-50’s this year. But they’re not going to have two guys with 90-plus catches this year.”
Adams has peaked into the third round in some of the most recent fantasy football drafts. Those projecting that the Packers offense will operate simply as if Adams is Nelson might want to reconsider their assumption. Nelson has unique footwork, size and route running ability. While Adams has flashed for small stretches in live game action, he’s no Nelson. Demovsky is confident the Packers will run and spread the ball out more in the passing game.
What Happens When The Packers Go 11 Personnel?
Everyone wants to know which wide receiver will be called into action when the Packers use three wide receivers in 11 personnel formations. In 2014, the Packers use some variation of a three-wide receiver set on 72 percent of their offensive snaps. The Packers want to move the offense faster in 2015, and this could mean more snaps for a third wide receiver than in almost any other offense. If one receiver emerges, he is likely to be worth a late-round flier in fantasy drafts. So who is it going to be?
“Jeff Janis has four preseason touchdowns in seven games, but there’s still a long way to go though there. Ty Montgomery is a bigger Randall Cobb that can play outside. In the last preseason game, he turned a short pass over the middle into a 52-yard gain. Don’t count out Myles White, another slot receiver who caught nine passes last preseason game. He’s fifth on the depth chart now.”
The last time Demovsky spoke with Clay, he admitted that Montgomery was clearly ahead of Janis after a strong training camp. It doesn’t seem like that has changed much, even though Janis might profile like a better fit on the outside. If you’re going to take a stab at a late-round flier after Cobb and Adams, Montgomery is your guy.
A Sleeper Tight End Emerges
In his second season, Richard Rodgers has looked much better throughout training camp. After investing a third-round pick on him in 2014, the Packers moved him along slowly in 2014. He split snaps with Andrew Quarless. According to Demovsky, that will change in 2015.
“It will be less of a committee than it was last year when Quarless and Rodgers split snaps. I think you’ll see it skewed heavily toward Rodgers, especially in the red zone. They’d love to get him involved there. I think it’s not just in the red zone. I think they’ll get him involved all over the field. The tight end position has swayed for Rodgers. He has probably had one of the best training camps of all offensive players.”
Adams has received buzz from the coaches and players this offseason, but Demovsky’s strong praise of Rodgers is noteworthy. He has seen him practice a lot during camp and it helps him project his role going forward without Nelson in the mix. Rodgers must have impressed Demovsky since he last joined Clay, as his opinion on Rodgers’ outlook has changed. Nelson’s targets will have to go somewhere, and it seems like Rodgers could be in the mix for some of those at all levels of the field, specifically in the red zone. He makes for an intriguing late-round tight end flier.
A More Run-based Offense?
Demovsky mentioned that Cobb admitted the Packers will likely be more balanced in 2015 and that should mean more carries for the running backs. Demovsky offered some insight on the run-pass distribution and confirmed the team’s third running back.
“The situation reminds me a little bit of Brett Favre in 03’-04’ when they had Ahman Green. They became a run-heavy team. That was with Mike Sherman as head coach, but I do think there will be a little bit more of an emphasis on the run.
“Rajion Neal is the third running back. He has shown he can handle everything they want out of a third back. He might even be more effective catching the ball out of the backfield.”
With an uptick in offensive plays, targets in the passing game and rushing attempts, Eddie Lacy makes for a rock solid RB1. A strong argument can be made that he should be the No. 1 overall pick in fantasy drafts.
Dan Schneier is a staff writer at PFF Fantasy and he covers the NFC East beat for FOX Sports. You can find him on Twitter @DanSchneierNFL. You can also add him to your network on Google+ to find all of his past material.