Plenty of names were already on the list of pass-catchers who could step in for the Green Bay Packers while star wide receiver Davante Adams remains sidelined.
After Monday night, Allen Lazard officially signed his name to that list after hauling in a 35-yard touchdown for his first reception of the season and finishing with four catches for 65 yards for the Packers, who finished with a 23-22 comeback victory over the Detroit Lions at home. The second-year wideout entered the game with just one career catch — in last year’s regular-season finale against the Lions — for seven total yards.
Here’s the shocker behind the youngster’s breakout performance: Aaron Rodgers actually lobbied to get him into the game in the fourth quarter.
According to ESPN’s Rob Demovsky, Rodgers said he went to Packers receivers coach Alvis Whitted and asked about Lazard after rookie receiver Darrius Shepherd had a pass ricochet off his facemask and turn into an interception at the 1-yard line.
“I may have put in a good word there in the fourth quarter to get him some opportunities,” Rodgers said via Demovksy.
As countless receivers over the last decade could attest, a strong rapport with Rodgers can go a long way for a career, but does it go far enough for Lazard to be a waiver wire pickup going into Week 7 against the Oakland Raiders?
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Allen Lazard Fantasy Outlook: Should You Add Packers WR in Week 7
The Packers were hurting on offense more than expected after Geronimo Allison was knocked out of the game on a helmet-to-helmet hit. He was being evaluated for a concussion and chest injury and did not return to the game after leading the team in receiving up to that point in the third quarter. Marquez Valdes-Scantling — who came up with a big 46-yard reception in the second half — also briefly exited the game after getting his leg tangled up in a play while blocking.
The Packers finished with three dropped passes, according to ESPN Stats & Info, that included running back Aaron Jones dropping a would-be touchdown untouched at the 6-yard line, Shepherd’s whiff-turned-interception at the 1-yard line and veteran tight end Jimmy Graham’s drop in the end zone.
Lazard avoided those mistakes and did nothing but build trust after entering the game, following up his big touchdown catch with three more receptions that helped the Packers complete their comeback and move to 5-1 on the season. That makes him a hot option to pick up off the waiver wire after being virtually unowned across all fantasy leagues.
But beware: One hot game guarantees nothing, as playing any Green Bay players has proved during this complicated, figuring-it-out phase of the Packers offense.
Look at Jones, who went from 182 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns in Week 5 to just 60 total yards and zero scores. Or at Valdes-Scantling, who teased regular production with a six-catch, 99-yard game in Week 3 only to make just six catches combined over the next three weeks. Even if the Packers are down their two most veteran receivers for Week 7’s game against the Raiders, there are no promises that any one player will shine in an offense that has completed passes to 14 different targets this year.
Final verdict: Scoop up Lazard if you are looking to plant a wide receiver with late-season potential deep in your bench, but don’t expect him to perform right away. If he follows up Monday’s strong game with a larger role and similar production, his stock will stabilize enough for starting him to become a real consideration.