2013 Team Outlook: Green Bay Packers
RB Alex Green, FA - Not Draft Worthy
Alex Green slowly worked his way into the starting lineup in his second season and could not capitalize. In 2012, he rushed 135 times for 463 yards (3.4 ypc) and no TDs. A very telling number, which is a bit vague for some, but he only earned 17 first downs when rushing. Look at this way, if you touch 135 times and only convert a first down about 13-percent of the time, you will not have any job security. Green went from a deep sleeper a year ago to a fantasy afterthought today.
WR Jordy Nelson, GB - Solid/Safe Pick
Update (8-21): Jordy Nelson's recovery from recent knee surgery is progressing, but at a pace that makes him questionable if not doubtful for Week 1 of the regular season. His potential with Aaron Rodgers throwing his way makes him a potential fantasy stud, but the uncertainty lowers his ranking away from any potential WR1 talk on draft day.
Profile: Injuries really hurt, no pun intended, Jordy Nelson's stats. He had two great games in Weeks 6 and 7, totaling 17 receptions for 243 yards and four TDs and then injured his hamstring. After that, he didn't play as much and was not that effective. QB Aaron Rodgers began targeting WRs Randall Cobb and James Jones more frequently, leaving Nelson as more of a decoy than threat. This down year has pushed Nelson down a full round in average draft position and that's with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver out of the picture. Great value here.
WR Randall Cobb, GB - Stud (low risk)
Update (10-14): Green Bay's victory in Week 6 reminds one of the saying win the battle but lose the war as wide receiver Randall Cobb reportedly suffered a fractured fibula. The injury is expected to keep the slot receiver out 6-8 weeks, meaning Cobb be out until Week 14. He left in the second quarter after Ravens safety Matt Elam tackled Cobb low with a helmet to the knee. Second-year receiver Jarrett Boykin becomes a strong free agent pickup this week.
In his second year, Randall Cobb blossomed into his role. He saw 104 targets, caught 80 passes for 954 yards and eight scores. For those leagues that also count return yardage, he was a prolific returner as well. Cobb is an excellent PPR player, but I'm not as high on him in standard scoring leagues. Those eight TDs will be tough to match for a slot receiver, even with Greg Jennings and Donald Driver gone. Receiver touchdowns can be a fickle thing and for a slot player, receptions and yardage are much more consistent year-to-year.
WR James Jones, OAK - Solid/Safe Pick
For years, fantasy owners had not-so-patiently waited for James Jones to live up to his potential. Finally, it all came together in 2012 with injuries to WRs Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, making Jones the primary target. Jones responded with 64 receptions for 784 yards and 14 touchdowns. His red-zone production was off the charts. Just like Nelson scoring 15 TDs in 2011, Jones should not be expected to score anywhere close to 14 TDs ever again, or even half that total. He is a very good WR3/flex player and will have his fair share of big games, but do not reach for him expecting him to put up Jennings-like numbers now that he has finally earned an expanded starting role.
WR Jarrett Boykin, GB - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update (10-14): Fantasy owners, it's time to learn about Jarrett Boykin now that Randall Cobb reportedly suffered a fractured fibula. The injury is expected to keep the slot receiver out 6-8 weeks, meaning Cobb be out until Week 14. He left in the second quarter after Ravens safety Matt Elam tackled Cobb low with a helmet to the knee. The 6-foot-2 Boykin went for 41 yards with his only catch against the Ravens. Depending on the status of James Jones, Boykin could be the Packers No. 2 receiver and have immediate WR3 status for fantasy owners.
Profile: With an offense this potent, the player that the earns the No. 4 spot on the depth chart has a big opportunity. Jarrett Boykin is a second-year receiver out of Virginia Tech with excellent hands. Former Green Bay legend Antonio Freeman was also a Hokie, so perhaps Boykin can make a name for himself as well. The problem is a lack of experience. Boykin did not play much as a rookie. He caught five of his six targets for 27 yards. Given the injury history of Jordy Nelson, Boykin is only an injury away from a lot of playing time in an excellent offense. He will have to fend off challenges from many other young receivers that are behind him on the depth chart though.
TE Jermichael Finley, FA* - Gamble (high risk)
According to the average draft position numbers from last year, Jermichael Finley was the sixth TE selected in fantasy drafts. He finished the season outside the Top 15 and it got to the point where many draft analysts expected the Packers to draft a tight end to remedy the position. That draft pick never came and now we have another year of trying to figure out Finley's enigma. We all know Finley's upside, that's why he was so highly drafted a year ago. Now he is going around the end of the 10th round. Fall far enough in a draft and eventually even the most overrated player becomes a value pick. If Finley continues to fall in drafts, especially into the 11th round, snatch him up as a backup if you can. If his stock rebounds, it is likely not worth the risk with the position full of so many breakout players with late-round value like Cleveland's Jordan Cameron.