Why Jordy Nelson Injury Makes Randall Cobb a Must-Start Fantasy Player

John RozumCorrespondent INovember 4, 2012

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 30:  Wide receiver Randall Cobb #18 of the Green Bay Packers warms up prior to the start of the game against the New Orleans Saints at Lambeau Field on September 30, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Randall Cobb of the Green Bay Packers is now a weekly fantasy football start.

According to Dan Hanzus of NFL.com:

Jordy Nelson was cleared to play on Sunday morning despite his lingering hamstring injury. He didn't last long.

The Green Bay Packers wide receiver exited in the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals after injuring his ankle. He is questionable to return.

Then, according to Michael Fabiano of NFL.com once the second half began:

Jordy Nelson is OUT for the remainder of today's game.

— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 4, 2012

So along with that unfortunate set of circumstances for Nelson, that also does enhance the appeal of Cobb as part of Aaron Rodgers' receiving corps. After all, the second year receiver did score two of Green Bay's three first-half touchdowns versus the Arizona Cardinals.

Here, we break down what Cobb provides to Titletown and why he deserves a fantasy start moving forward.


Recent Production

Leading into Week 9, Cobb had not made as much of a significant impact from the onset of Green Bay's 2012 season. Yes, he had 77 receiving yards against the San Francisco 49ers and 66 against the New Orleans Saints.

The more important aspect, though, came from Cobb making 16 catches on 17 targets between both contests. That then led toward big plays versus the Indianapolis Colts and thereafter. In the past four games Cobb has amassed 301 yards on 24 receptions and has scored four times.

This is what makes the Packers' aerial assault so effective, because everyone gets involved and produces at a high level when called upon. With Nelson now having durability issues, Cobb's 57 total yards through one half on Sunday are evidence of that dependability.

In short, we can reasonably anticipate Cobb continuing to menace opposing defenses as 2012 progresses.

Versatile Impact

Cobb is a dual offensive threat and presents double-duty talent on special teams for the Packers. Possessing excellent top speed, acceleration, quickness and agility, Cobb will always beat single coverage and accumulates impressive yards after the catch.

Then again, prior to this week, 250 of Cobb's 463 receiving yards came after the catch, and 23 of his 42 receptions went for a first down. His entire skill set can stretch a defense in Cover 1, 2 or 3 and widen any zones at the intermediate level.

A byproduct of that impact assists Green Bay's rushing offense, in which Cobb also plays a vital role. Because of that overall athleticism, Cobb is a viable option on jet sweeps, quick tosses, the Wildcat—just to expand the playbook—and gadgets such as reverses and the end-around.

He presents so much for a defense to game-plan for that Cobb's total impact is an enormous competitive advantage for Green Bay. Plus, the guy did total 1,236 return yards in 2011, which increases the Packers' defense/special teams appeal as well.

Packers' Remaining Schedule

In Week 10, the Packers have their bye. Thereafter, Green Bay gets five divisional games in addition to the New York Giants and Tennessee Titans.

However, outside of the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, no remaining defense possesses the total capability to shutdown Cobb and Co. The Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings are suspect to the pass and don't present an offense explosive enough to match Aaron Rodgers.

Each has a solid pass rush, although Cobb's versatility bodes well for pre-snap adjustments and non-traditional play fakes. New York is interesting because of its defensive line, but the Giants are still vulnerable at the intermediate level and can get burned downfield.

Provided the Pack refuse to abandon the run versus Big Blue, Cobb's impact will minimally negate Jason Pierre-Paul and Co. Then there are the Titans, who don't have a reliable pass rush, coverage or front seven to stop the run.

What remains for Green Bay is not overly difficult, so Cobb will put up some nice fantasy points and is a must-start from Week 11 onward.


Follow John Rozum on Twitter.