With the NFL rolling out its first full week of preseason games Thursday night, a large chunk of fans out there are scrambling for the start of something else: fantasy football.
Leagues will do most of their drafting throughout the month of August and in the days leading up to the official start of the regular season on Sept. 5 when the Chicago Bears host the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field in Chicago.
As always, there is a wide array of talent in Green Bay that can make or break fantasy teams in 2019. Here are draft assessments on some of the safest bets dotting the Packers roster this season along with breakout contenders, sleepers and high-risk choices:
Follow the Heavy on Packers Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Best of the Bunch
Aaron Rodgers, Quarterback. If you can believe it, Rodgers throwing for 4,442 yards and 25 touchdowns last season was actually a bit disappointing as his 19.5 PPG dipped below eight others in the league. But Rodgers evidently played hurt last season and has a smart new coach that recognizes him as Green Bay’s biggest strength. Depending on your league, it’s easy enough to justify grabbing him with your first-round pick on the smartest man in the room.
Davante Adams, Wide Receiver. As explosive as Rodgers can be, Adams might be the best Packers player out there, if only for his consistency. He averaged 14.6 PPG in 15 games, third-best among wide receivers, and ranked second in touchdowns (13). Perhaps more importantly, though, was his tied-for-second 169 targets from Rodgers. If the Packers improve even marginally on their 6-9-1 season, Adams is in line to be a top-tier receiver yet again.
Aaron Jones, Running Back. Jones made NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks’ list of six breakout candidates for 2019, and for good reason after Jones has averaged 5.5 yards per carry in his first two season — both of which saw him battling injuries. Jones’ skill and versatility paired with new coach Matt LaFleur’s experience could see him become a 1,000-yard rusher in 2019 and makes him a possible RB1 option.
Geronimo Allison, Wide Receiver. Before Allison’s 2018 season ended with an injury in practice, he caught 20 of 30 targets for 303 yards and 15.1 yards per reception. Now that he’s healthy and figures in at wideout, Allison could break onto the scene this season. He’s got the hands, he’s got teammates saying he “will be dangerous.” And frankly, the Packers only have Adams as the better option. Read your room and, if you can snag him late, stash him on the bench and wait for him to cut loose.
Full of Risk
Jimmy Graham, Tight End. Graham will be 33 before the end of his upcoming second season with the Packers, and his debut year left owners wanting more. He caught a modest 55 catches for 636 yards but averaged just 4.7 points per game behind 19 other tight ends around the league. Rodgers and Graham seemed to have chemistry, but how he will be used in LaFleur’s system remains to be seen. Graham isn’t terrible if you aren’t gunning for a top-tier tight end, but his outlook is murky.
Aaron Jones, Running Back. It’s no mistake that Jones is on this list twice. As much potential as he has for a breakout season, there is just as much of a chance that the Packers top option in the backfield is limited with injuries. Rookie running back Dexter Williams played during Friday’s Packers Family Night in place of both Jones, who sat with hamstring injuries. The Packers will be cautious with Jones, who is coming off a season-ending knee injury, and so should you on draft day.
Jamaal Williams, Running Back. Williams ability to boost your team depends as much on Jones’ injury status as his own. Williams, too, missed Friday’s fan-welcoming scrimmage with a hamstring injury and requires caution on the Packers’ end. Should he be cleared before Jones or — even better for his stock — outright appear No. 1 on the Packers’ first depth chart, he could be used to surprising effect in the Green Bay backfield.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Wide Receiver. Valdes-Scantling had just two touchdowns and 38 catches during the 2018 season, but his 15.3 yards per reception put him well above both Allison and Adams. Considering Randall Cobb is in the Packers’ rearview and Rodgers has the ability to turn good receivers into great ones, Valdes-Scantling could be worth a late-round pick. Even if he just rides the bench for a few weeks.