From the Far Hash: Where to Draft Packers in Your Fantasy League
It’s that time of year now. It’s time for many of us to participate in fantasy football and to draft the players we hope will bring us fame and fortune. Fantasy football is awesome, isn’t it? What other sort of activity would have us obsessing over stats of players on teams we traditionally hate?
Some of us are superstitious and will never draft a player from our home team, whereas some of us homers do nothing but fill our team with the hometown heroes. That works great until the bye week.
Undoubtedly, many of us Packers fans will soon be participating in fantasy drafts in the next week or two. Many of us will be interested in taking some of our favorite members wearing the green and gold. Should you reach and draft your favorite a little too early just to have him? Or, should you gamble and hope your favorite will fall into your lap during the lower rounds?
Let’s take a look at where I project some popular Packers to rate in this year’s fantasy leagues. In case you’re asking about my credentials, I’ll take a page out of Steve Spurrier’s playbook. The rumor is that when he reapplied for the head coaching position at Florida after leaving the Washington Redskins, all he did was send in a picture of the trophy case. I’ve finished in the money the last four years. Ask Kelly about her Minnesota Vikings-like trophy case sometime. Now, since I made fun of her in public venue, she’s probably going to sweep me head-to-head this season.
The recommended draft positions below are assuming a non-keeper 10-team league format that starts 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 DEF/ST, and reserves at least 5 bench players. In other words, a draft for this format should be 13 rounds. If your league has individual defensive players, you may need to tweak the bottom rounds slightly. If your league has a flex position, the round values should remain the same. Also, I’m assuming no auction or salary cap.
Most leagues are weighted in favor of running backs. Quarterbacks aren’t as beneficial to fantasy teams as they are to real teams. Numbers are weird in that regard. Hint: don’t overreach for Aaron Rodgers.
These are the highest rounds you should draft a Packer:
1st Round (Top 10 Players)
None. This is a very deep year for quarterbacks. You can sit back and draft one in the mid-rounds and still have a very competitive team. Your first round pick should be spent on a stud running back. Resist the urge to take Aaron Rodgers with your first pick. Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Tom Brady, and Peyton Manning will all be there in rounds 2-3. Eli Manning, Joe Flacco, Andrew Luck, and Tony Romo will be there in rounds 3-5. Be patient. The Packers do not have a running back worthy of a first round pick this year. Hopefully next year!
2nd Round (Top 20 Players)
Aaron Rodgers. Undoubtedly, someone in your league will take Aaron Rodgers in the first round. All that means for you is you’ll end up getting running backs Ray Rice or Doug Martin with your mid-first round pick. If you have the first overall pick, you can say hello to Adrian Peterson or Arian Foster. However, if Rodgers somehow falls in the draft (remember the green room, where he had to live for 18 days without food, water, or shelter during the 2005 NFL draft?) to the second round, grab him immediately. You won’t be sorry. He won’t make it out of the second round, so this is where you take him.
3rd Round (Top 30 Players)
Randall Cobb. Many draft projections have him going in the second round, but that’s too high for me. We all know Aaron Rodgers loves to share the ball, so Randall won’t have the numbers of Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, or A. J. Green. Don’t reach for Randall in the second, but if he falls into the third, take him. If Cobb ends up being the kick and punt returner, and your league gives points for that, you could potentially bump him up to the second round.
4th Round (Top 40 Players)
None. There’s a huge drop off after Randall Cobb in Packers fantasy value.
5th Round (Top 50 Players)
James Jones. This pick always scares me because Jones has never been “the man” on any Packers team. He has up and down years, and last year he lead the NFL in touchdown receptions. That will undoubtedly make his value over inflated this year because I doubt he can match last year’s success. Someone will probably reach for him in rounds 3-4, but if he somehow falls into your lap at 5, take him. Jones is always one of the riskiest Packers to draft because he’s hit or miss on any week.
6th Round (Top 60 Players)
7th Round (Top 70 Players)
Jordy Nelson. The fact he hasn’t practiced all preseason worries me. He’ll be a little rusty and lack some conditioning during week one. He’ll be back to the Jordy of old by week 3, so he’s still a good pick. Just don’t reach for him before the 7th round. He’s also a risky pick, because like Jones, he’s hit or miss from week to week.
Eddie Lacy. By this round, all of the stud running backs will have been long gone. But, Lacy is a great value pick at this position. He’ll be a great bye week or injury fill-in as a worst case scenario; as a best case scenario, he turns out to be a stud and the steal of the draft. However, at this point, he’s still a big unknown coming out of camp, so anything earlier than a 7th round pick is too risky. He’s definitely getting drafted somewhere, but the key is to be patient with him.
8th Round (Top 80 Players)
Jermichael Finley. Many draft projections have him going in rounds 9-11, but I think he’s better than that. He’s had a great camp, and he seems to be developing great chemistry with Aaron Rodgers. Plus, if Eddie Lacy’s running can set the stage for a powerful play action pass package, Finley will get many catches and scores. Jimmy Graham, Rob Gronkowski, and Tony Gonzalez will be long gone before this round, but if you need a tight end and Jermichael is here, pick him.
9th Round (Top 90 Players)
10th Round (Top 100 Players)
DEF/ST. Once you filled out your starting lineup and built some depth, you can take a stab at your team defense. The Packers may give up yards, but they always seem to generate turnovers and score defensive touchdowns. They are worth a pick at 10. If your league penalizes for giving up points, drop them into rounds 12-13.
11th-13th Rounds (Top 110-130 Players)
None. If any Packers have not been drafted by the 10th round, you’re better off gambling on the waiver wire instead of burning a pick on unknown and unpredictable commodities.
Post-Draft Waiver Wire Priorties
Johnathan Franklin. He’s still an unknown, but could get a hot hand mid-season.
Whatever kicker is on the Packer’s roster. Mason Crosby is not guaranteed to make the team, so you can’t draft him unless your draft is after the final cut down to 53. The Packers score points, so any kicker they have is worth a serious look.
James Starks. He shows flashes of brilliance, but is always hit by the injury bug. If he stays healthy and gets the hot hand, he should be a waiver priority.