Tag Archives: Rodgers

2013-2014 Green Bay Packers Preview

By: Prad

 

Projected Record: 10-6

NFC North Rank: 1st

The Packers have won the NFC North the last two seasons behind one of the best quarterbacks in the league. Last year, Green Bay had a 5-1 NFC North record en route to finishing the season off 11-5, but they eventually succumbed to the 49ers in the Divisional Round in a high scoring bout, 45-31. Their record will take a small hit as a result of some losses of veteran players, but they ended up doing very well in April’s draft, which gives them a bright future. They’ll most probably clinch a playoff berth sometime in Week 16 or even Week 17, but only that late because of their difficult schedule. 10 of the 16 games their slated to play this season, have teams that owned a winning record a season ago.

James Jones Courtesy of Telegraph Herald
James Jones
Courtesy of The Telegraph Herald

Aaron Rodgers has been among the league’s best quarterbacks for the last three years and has the accolades to back it up. He won the 2011 MVP award, the Lombardi Trophy the same year and snagged the Super Bowl MVP too. Essentially, the triple crown for football. Although he hasn’t lost any luster, his receiving corps suffered a blow following the departure of WR Greg Jennings to the Minnesota Vikings. Jennings was injured for a large part of last season, but when healthy was a dominant presence. He has topped the 1,000 yard receiving mark three of the last five seasons and has hauled in 12 TD receptions two times in his career. WR James Jones and WR Jordy Nelson will have to make up for the significant loss of production, which they have proven they can do. Jones filled in very nicely for Jennings last year grabbing 14 touchdown passes.

OT Bryan Bulaga has left a void at offensive tackle Courtesy of SB Nation
OT Bryan Bulaga has left a void at offensive tackle
Courtesy of SB Nation

Rodgers has been known for getting sacked frequently throughout his career. In fact, last year, the Packers offensive line gave up 51 sacks, which is the second highest total in the NFL, behind the Cardinals. To make matters worse, they lost their best offensive lineman in Bryan Bulaga, who is out for the season with a torn ACL and lost C Jeff Saturday, who decided to retire. Although Rodgers is an above-averager scrambler when under pressure, he’ll have to do much better this upcoming year to make up for the key losses. Bulaga was a left tackle, which means Rodgers is going to be vulnerable on his blind side. As a result, he has to be cognizant about his numbers in the fumble department throughout the season. However, it’s a good thing GM Ted Thompson selected two offensive lineman, OL David Bakhtiari and OL JC Tretter in this year’s draft. They’ll prove to be helpful in providing good blocking for the rushing attack but I can’t say with certainty whether they’ll aid in providing Rodgers more time in the pocket. Only time will tell their immediate impact.

Former Alabama RB Eddie Lacy Courtesy of ESPN
Former Alabama RB Eddie Lacy
Courtesy of ESPN

This April, Green Bay drafted two halfbacks, RB Eddie Lacy and RB Johnathan Franklin, who can bolster a previously mediocre rushing attack. Even though this has the potential to be a dynamic combo in the backfield, the more talented and athletic Lacy will take most of the rushes this year. Hopefully, with some young legs, Rodgers and the aerial attack don’t need to take on a massive chunk of the offensive burden this year, something they’ve gotten accustomed to in the past few seasons. Last year, the rushing game had 1,702 yards throughout the season, while the passing game was responsible for 4,049 yards. Although it is common for a team’s passing attack to outperform its rushing game in terms of yards, the disparity between the two with Green Bay is one of the greatest in the NFL. If the rushing game has good production in the first few weeks, that bodes well for the team and Rodgers for the rest of the season, since he’ll be more of a threat with a degree of uncertainty.

Packers Defense Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Packers Defense
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

The Packers defensive unit has been one of the league’s best in recent times. They sacked an opposing quarterback 47 times last season, which ranked them 4th in the NFL. Their secondary was tremendous as well, ranking inside the top 10 for both yards allowed and points allowed. Charles Woodson was a pivotal element on the Packers for seven seasons, attaining 38 interceptions during that time. He got elected to the Pro Bowl four times as a Packer and was considered amongst the league’s best safeties just a couple seasons ago. Although his departure to the Oakland Raiders is disappointing, the aging Woodson, 36 was injured for half of last season and probably would’ve become more injury prone in future years. The team’s D still remains excellent with linebacker Clay Matthews as the centerpiece. To round out their linebacker crew is rookie first round selection Nick Perry, LILB AJ Hawk, and MLB Brad Jones. This four man group is set to be a top 5 linebacker unit in the NFL next season. Their defensive line has also excelled, which is led by DT BJ Raji and DT Ryan Pickett, both Pro Bowl caliber players. The only concern on this defensive unit seems to be the secondary. They haven’t done enough to replace Woodson and his production. The Pack didn’t acquire a safety during this offseason. Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers seems to simply be starting MD Jennings at strong safety and Morgan Burnett at free safety, both of whom lack starting experience. Yet, nobody can argue against the potent cornerback duo of Tramon Williams and Sam Shields. So, this defensive will NOT inevitably fail without the veteran Charles Woodson leading the secondary.

Clearly, GM Ted Thompson has addressed many concerns on the offensive end with this year’s draft and much of the defense remains intact despite a few alterations. The Green Bay Packers, a fixture in the postseason, are a formidable threat to any opposing team on their schedule, but will not be able to advance past the Divisional Round again this season due to a highly competitive NFC.  However, Green Bay will remain NFC North Champions, because nobody in their division has enough versatility on both sides of the ball to dethrone them.

Top Fantasy Football Players at each Position and Sleepers

By: Jon

Quarterback

Best: Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers

Rodger is the best quarterback in the league because of his quick release and accuracy. Last year, Rodgers had the second most fantasy points in the league. Rodgers has one of the best receiving corp in the league, Cobb, Nelson, and Jones. Compared to Drew Brees, Rodgers has better accuracy and more weapons on offense. Rodgers does not throw as many INT as Brees and runs more than Brees. Although he is no RGIII, he can run for 250 yards and a few touchdowns. Aaron should have another great season for the Packers this season.

Rest:

2) Brees

3) Manning

4) Ryan

5) Brady

Sleeper: Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill
Ryan Tannehill

The second year player has the potential to be a solid a good fantasy quarterback. Tannehill is a dual threat quarterback because of his strong arm and fast feet. Last year as a rookie, Ryan was ineffective because he has not played many games at quarterback in his life, only 19 before last season, and his receiving corp was horrible. However, the Dolphins added Mike Wallace and Dustin Keller, while re-signing 1000 yard receiver Brian Hartline. Although he may not be a top 5 quarterback, he may be a top ten fantasy quarterback by the end of the season.

Reach: Tom Brady

Tom Brady
Tom Brady

I know people are about to refresh their page or think that I am an absolute retard for calling Brady overrated, but he is not deserving of a first or second round pick. I am not doubting Brady as a quarterback, but rather his fellow offensive play makers. If ‘Gronk’ is not there for the Patriots first game, the Patriots second best receiver will be Danny Amendola. The Patriots receiving corp is in complete disarray, which will hurt Tom Brady’s stats. For the first time in a long time, the Patriots will have a quality running game. The Patriots have three quality running backs, Ridley, Vereen, and Bolden, which will take away from Brady’s pass attempts and stats. Although I still believe Brady is one of the best quarterbacks in the league, his stats will not warrant a first or second round selection.

Running Back

Best: Adrian Peterson

Adrian Peterson
Adrian Peterson

Peterson, the MVP, is an absolute freak and should be the first pick in your NFL fantasy football draft. Last year, Peterson came within a few yards of breaking the all-time rushing record, while his next closest peer was 450 yards away from Peterson. Peterson is going to get his touches because Ponder is not able to lead a offense, like the Minnesota Vikings. Peterson is one of the most consistent backs in the NFL and will rack up at least 15 points every week. Unlike other backs, Peterson is a goal line back so he will  Peterson has the ability to catch the ball, which adds to his fantasy value.

Rest:

2) Foster

3) Lynch

4) Rice

5) Morris

Sleeper: Chris Ivory

Chris Ivory
Chris Ivory

The new Jets running back is going to have a breakout season for the New York Jets. The Jets will run the ball frequently this season because their quarterback situation is one of the worst in the league. Ivory is a talented running back and should have a great season because of the increase in touches. The Jets have a quality offensive line, which will help Ivory gain extra yardage and points. Ivory has the ability to gain extra touchdowns because of his physicality. Ryan likes to run the ball, which will help Ivory’s case.

Reach: CJ Spiller

CJ Spiller
CJ Spiller

The Buffalo Bills running back will not produce the same stats as last year. Spiller will not be receiving the touches and carries, like the other first round running backs. Spiller is going to be a first or second round pick in fantasy football drafts, hopefully you will not select him that early. Last year, Fred Jackson hurt himself, which enabled Spiller to receive more carries. When Jackson played for the Bills, Spiller only accumulated 100 yards once and scored more than 15 points only once in ten games. Jackson is a quality running back, who will take carries away from Spiller. Spiller has been injury prone as well.

Wide Receiver

Best: Calvin Johnson

Calvin Johnson
Calvin Johnson

‘Megatron’ is ridiculous and the best receiver in football since Jerry Rice, in my opinion. Johnson was first in points, among receivers, although he caught only 5 touchdowns. Johnson set the record for most receiving yards in NFL history. Luckily for Johnson, the Lions throw a lot, most in NFL history, and Stafford is a really good quarterback. Johnson ended the season with eight one hundred yards games in his last nine games, including two two hundred yard games. Johnson should be a first or second round pick because he will have a better season than last year. Johnson will score more touchdowns to make up for his lack of yardage.

Rest:

2) Marshall

3) Thomas

4) Green

5) Bryant

Sleeper: Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem Nicks
Hakeem Nicks

After a lackluster season, Nicks will come back and become a star once again next year. Hicks is a big and talented receiver entering a contract year for the New York Giants. Nicks is finally healthy, which will make him perform like a top receiving option once again. Nicks has the ability to be a number one fantasy receiver because of his ability to catch touchdowns and Manning’s throwing ability. Nicks will probably be around in the sixth round. Nicks will be determined to top his fellow receiver Victor Cruz, who was just given a contract extension.

Reach: Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin
Percy Harvin

Percy Harvin is given a lot of credit and prestige for a player that has never recorded a 1000 yard year. Although Harvin is a good talent and versatile, most of Harvin’s stats do not help fantasy teams, PR and KR. Harvin does not record many touchdowns, which significantly damages his fantasy value. Harvin will probably be drafted in the third round, ahead of players like MJD, White, Johnson, Cruz, and Fitzgerald. Harvin is a good player in real life, but should not be your first or second wide receiver. Fantasy owners should make risks in later rounds.

Tight End

Best: Jimmy Graham

Jimmy Graham
Jimmy Graham

Although Jimmy Graham is not the most talent tight end, Rob Gronkowski, he is the most dependable and consistent. Graham is Brees’s favorite target, which allows him to rack a lot of yards and score a lot of touchdowns. Brees constantly throws Graham’s way  because of their lack of running game. Over the last two years, Graham has averged 1100 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those stats make Graham worthy of a second or third round pick in fantasy football drafts. Graham is a physically dominating presence, which allows him to overmatch defenders and score a lot of fantasy points.

Rest:

2) Gronkowski

3) Gonzalez

4) Written

5) Davis

Sleeper: Dustin Keller

Dustin Keller
Dustin Keller

The former first round pick has a lot of talent and hands. Last year, Keller was injured for most of the season, which played a major part of the Jets’ disaster. Keller will have the benefit of playing with an actual quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, instead of Mark Sanchez. The tight end is important and is frequently called upon by a young quarterback. Defenses will no longer focus on Keller, which will allow him to find wholes in the defense and score touchdowns. Keller may not be drafted in most leagues, as he is currently ranked 173 according to ESPN.com

Reach: Antonio Gates

Antonio Gates
Antonio Gates

The veteran tight end is on his last legs as a star NFL tight end. Gates will be a future Hall of Famer because of his skill and ability to catch the ball in tight windows. However, Gates cannot be depended on to be a consistent starting tight end. Gates is frequently injured, which hampers his performance and numbers. Players, such as Keller, Bennett, Pettigrew, and Finley, will be drafted behind Gates and may perform better than Gates. Gates’ stock drops even further because Rivers is an inconsistent quarterback. If Gates is drafted, fantasy owners should pick up tight ends on the waiver wire, like Keller, Fleener, or Davis.

Defense/Special Teams

Best: San Francisco 49ers

49ers
49ers

The 49ers have the best defense in football. San Fran’s D/ST is improved because they have special team studs like Ted Ginn Jr and LaMichael James. San Fran’s defense is full of studs and All-Pros. Players, such as Patrick Willis, Justin Smith, Aldom Smith, Navarro Bowman, and Donte Whitner, make the 49ers defense incredibly formidable and fantasy gold.

Rest:

2) Seahawks

3) Texans

4) Bears

5) Broncos

Sleeper: Redskins

Redskins
Redskins

Although the Redskins had a bad year last season, they will rebound because of their young talent. Last year, Brian Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan were hurt and could not make an impact on the Washington defense. The Kerrigan and Orakpo combination is one of the best and most feared pass rushing combinations in football. They will add pressure to the quarterback, which will improve the entire defense. The Redskins’ pass defense was horrendous because they did not have a pass rush, last season.

Reach: Ravens

Ravens
Ravens

The Ravens defense is no longer THE Ravens defense of the past. The Ravens have lost five starters from last year’s championship team, Lewis, Reed, Kruger, Ellerbe, and Pollard. Many fantasy owners will draft the Ravens because they have been known as a great defense. However, times have significantly changed in Baltimore. I would stay away from the Ravens because of the myriad of questions this team must answer. Owners should be wary and keep away from the Ravens defense this year.

Kickers

Top Five:

1) Walsh

Blair Walsh
Blair Walsh

2) Tucker

3) Bryant

4) Janikowski

5) Gostkowski

Stats and Pics from ESPN.com