Aaron Rodgers: Why Packers QB Is Best Buy-Low Candidate in Football
In a vacuum, Rodgers' numbers, 26 of 39 for 223 yards with no touchdowns or turnovers, are not horrible. He managed the game relatively well and found open receivers while facing a hostile environment and one of the NFL's best secondaries.
Unfortunately, none of that matters for fantasy football. And considering the Green Bay signal-caller was likely drafted no lower than No. 4 overall in your league, his early-season performance has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster.
Although certainly flawed in the large scheme of things, Rodgers' projected numbers for 2012 based on his current performance are: 3,973 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.
Despite his shortcomings thus far, Rodgers is still the best quarterback in fantasy and (if available via trade) is easily the best buy-low candidate in your league.
When considering all factors, it's not hard to figure out why the Green Bay offense (and, as a result, Rodgers) has struggled this season.
First and foremost among those factors is the Packers' schedule. Based on yardage-allowed statistics, each of Green Bay's first three opponents rank in the top 11 among defenses in the NFL. What's more, the "worst" team they played was the San Francisco 49ers.
That changes big-time in the coming weeks.
In fact, the schedule breaks wide for a potential fantasy renaissance for the Packers. Of their remaining games, only four (at Houston, vs. Arizona, at New York Giants, at Chicago) can be considered difficult matchups. The rest of the schedule is riddled with the Detroits, Tennessees and Jacksonvilles of the world.
For Rodgers, that should mean bigger passing lanes and more time to throw—the latter of which is of the utmost importance.
The Packers signal-caller went down for a sack eight times in Monday night's game against the Seahawks, all in the first half. Through three weeks, that gives the Green Bay offensive line 16 sacks allowed, which is four more than any other unit in the NFL.
That isn't a small problem, but one that will be mitigated by a weaker schedule and a higher emphasis on short passes.
Though an increased emphasis on the short game may seem like a problem, it really isn't. Rodgers used short passes to atone for an ineffective running game all last season, so this would not be much of a change.
What the Packers need is for their receivers to start breaking out those short completions into longer gains. Battling a groin injury, Greg Jennings has averaged an astonishingly low 6.3 yards per catch this season while Jordy Nelson has been intermittently effective.
As Jennings heals and Nelson sees less-focused coverage, look for Rodgers and the Green Bay offense flourish.
If you can nab Rodgers for a package that includes an early-season breakout star (say, Robert Griffin III) or simply trade him straight up for your second or third round pick, jump on the opportunity.
When it's all said and done, the Packers will be back among the NFL's elite offenses and Rodgers will be back near or at his perch atop fantasy quarterback rankings.
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