While playoff dreams are still intact for the city of Green Bay, fantasy football managers might not be so lucky upon hearing the news that Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has tested positive for COVID-19.
Not only that, but it was also learned that he was less than truthful regarding his vaccination status and could now be lost for more than just Sunday’s game against the Chiefs.
Fantasy managers who have Rodgers on their rosters have had to dive into the free-agent pool to find an adequate replacement, but there is now a trickle-down effect within the team that may have others scrambling for replacements at other positions as well.
First and foremost, fantasy managers who roster Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon should be excited. Packers coach Mike LaFleur has always been a proponent of the run-first mentality and, in an effort to keep some of the pressure off rookie quarterback Jordan Love, should increase the workload for both. Dillon has already seen a bump in carries, and though Jones’ touches out of the backfield have dropped, his use in the passing game continues to flourish. Last week, he saw 11 targets, and Love is likely to check-down a lot more than Rodgers ever did.
The greatest fantasy concern will come with the receivers. Love is not as prolific a passer as Rodgers, and his time spent working with the first-team has been limited to early preseason work. We can expect a heavy lean on Davante Adams, as his talent level leaves him as the unchallenged No. 1 in this receiving corps.
Other veterans, such as Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard, however, may suffer from a lack of chemistry with their new signal-caller. Using either in fantasy is going to be a risk. And though Love has spent most of his practices throwing to fellow rookie Amari Rodgers and second-year wideout Malik Taylor, it seems unlikely that either will see a bump in snaps at the expense of the veterans. Where we might find the biggest boost in overall value is at tight end.
With tight end Robert Tonyan landing on injured reserve, veteran Marcedes Lewis and second-year player Josiah Deguara will both see an increased role. Most rookie quarterbacks have a tendency to stick to the short passing game over the middle and lean on their tight ends. The Packers likely will use more 12-personnel packages to increase pass-protection, which means both could be in line for additional targets.
Obviously, we’ll have to see how Love fares and what the Packers play-calling looks like, but save for Adams, you might want to hedge on the receivers. The tight ends, however, could be your new bread and butter. Don’t discount the unknown, as this offense may surprise you.
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