Packers fantasy football outlook: With or without Adams, start Rodgers
The Green Bay Packers are 2-0 and ready for prime time. The Packers play this Sunday night in New Orleans — which is nice as a fan to have your team in the spotlight but can make things a little tougher at times for fantasy football owners.
So, which Green Bay players should you start in Week 3? And are there any New Orleans Saints worth taking a chance on? We are here to help.
Each week during the regular season we’ll give our fantasy advice for the Packers and their opponent. Players are graded on a 1-5 scale of football emojis, from “don’t even think about starting him” (🏈) to “you’re a fool if you bench this guy” (🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈).
GREEN BAY PACKERS
QB Aaron Rodgers: 🏈🏈 🏈🏈
At this point, honestly, we don’t know why you wouldn’t start Rodgers — unless you’re skittish on the status of Davante Adams (hence four footballs for us instead of five). In two games this season, Rodgers has thrown for 604 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. New Orleans, facing Tampa Bay’s Tom Brady and Las Vegas’ Derek Carr, is tied for ninth in most fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks (using a standard scoring method). On top of that, Rodgers has always done well playing in a dome — he has his highest passer rating indoors (106.9) compared to a retractable roof (104.9) or outdoors (101.7) — averaging 280.3 yards per game with 58 TDs and 12 INTs in 28 games. The Packers are just 15-13 in those games, but hey, here we’re concerned about fantasy points and Rodgers is a good bet to produce again Sunday.
RB Aaron Jones: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
Only four footballs? Yeah, we wouldn’t bench Jones, but there’s a caveat for the Packers wunderkind, who already has five touchdowns (three receiving!), and it’s that New Orleans has been pretty good against the run. The Saints have allowed only one rushing and one receiving touchdown to a running back in two games. This past Monday night, the Raiders’ Josh Jacobs had 88 yards rushing and three receptions for 17 yards. He didn’t score. We expect Jones to be once again heavily involved in the offense, but maybe don’t expect a repeat of his first two weeks.
RB Jamaal Williams or A.J. Dillon: 🏈
If you’re going to need one, pick Williams, who has 15 carries and four receptions — but no touchdowns as of yet. It doesn’t mean he won’t be able to break one, of course. Dillon has just seven carries this season and has yet to catch a pass. If you’re in a PPR league best to completely ignore him, no matter how many running backs you have to start. Williams has played 41.1% of Green Bay’s offensive snaps, so in a deep (and we mean deep) league maybe you give him a shot, but keep in mind the Saints defense has been good against the run. We’d pass, too … on playing Williams.
WR Davante Adams: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
We’re taking away a football from Adams this week basically because we don’t know if he’s going to play. Adams didn’t practice Wednesday and his status for Sunday is unknown. Even if he does play, there’s, of course, no guarantee he won’t re-injure his hamstring. If he plays, of course we’re all-in. But keep an eye on his status the next couple of days. This being a Sunday night game makes the situation a little more difficult – we’d make sure to have another receiver on our roster in Sunday night’s or Monday night’s (Chiefs-Ravens) just in case.
WR Allen Lazard: 🏈 🏈
The football we took away from Adams we’re putting here. Someone is going to have to catch Rodgers’ passes if Adams is out and Lazard is our bet. He’s been targeted less frequently than the receiver we list below but has the same number of catches (7) and touchdowns (1). We wouldn’t put him in WR1 or WR2 conversation, but if you’re looking for a sneaky WR3 with some upside he could be your guy, especially in PPR leagues.
WR Marquez Valdes-Scantling: 🏈🏈
There’s a lot of boom or bust with MVS. He’s averaging 22.9 yards per catch but has just the one TD. He’s more of a big-play threat – which is why we prefer Lazard in this game. New Orleans hasn’t allowed a touchdown of longer than 20 yards in two games and just one TD pass of 10 yards or longer (15). There’s always going to be a risk-reward factor with Valdes-Scantling, however the small-sample size of no long TDs against the Saints scares us a bit more than usual with him this week.
TE Robert Tonyan: 🏈🏈
New Orleans stats against tight ends are a bit skewed since the Saints faced Darren Waller, one of the best in the league, in Week 2. However, the Saints also allowed a touchdown to a tight end in Week 1 (the Bucs’ O.J. Howard) and do rank fourth in fantasy points allowed per game to a tight end. Tonyan had just two catches last week, but one was for a touchdown. We’re not saying he’s going to do it again, but if the Packers get in the red zone, he’ll be a viable option and the Saints, so far, have shown to struggle against tight ends.
Packers D/ST: 🏈
Much like Adams, New Orleans wide receiver Michael Thomas might not play Sunday night. Obviously this changes things a bit for the Saints, although they still had 424 yards (312 passing) against Las Vegas on Monday night. Even without Thomas New Orleans has a pretty dynamic offense, led by quarterback Drew Brees and running back Alvin Kamara. Last season at home the Saints reached 30 points in six of eight regular-season games (Brees didn’t play in one of the times they didn’t get to 30). Green Bay’s defense has been adequate with six sacks and two interceptions. Brees, even at 41, still has a quick release and has been sacked just once in two games. This doesn’t feel like a game in which the Packers defense will rack up a lot of fantasy points.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
QB Drew Brees: 🏈🏈 🏈
As mentioned, Brees is 41 and he kind of looked it on Monday against the Raiders. Although he still did throw for 312 yards, Brees had only one touchdown and threw a bad interception. He’s still a good quarterback, no doubt, and will continue to complete a high percentage of passes, but in two games thus far his QB ratings have been 96.5 and 91.1. Good, but not Brees-like. Having a healthy Thomas, of course, would help. Without Thomas, based on what we’ve seen so far, we’d call Brees a good, solid play in Week 3, but not upper echelon.
RB Alvin Kamara: 🏈🏈🏈🏈 🏈
If you play in a PPR league this is a no-doubter. Kamara leads the Saints in targets (17), receptions (14) and receiving yards (146) and tied in receiving touchdowns (1). The Packers haven’t seen a pass-catching back like him yet – opponents have completed 10 of 13 passes for 88 yards to running backs. Kamara hasn’t quite got the run game going yet (25-93, 3.8), but he’s in during goal-line situations and has three TDs. This might be the game he gets untracked as Green Bay is allowing 5.2 yards per rush through two games – which ranks 30th in the NFL.
WR Michael Thomas: 🏈🏈🏈🏈
Like Adams, if he’s playing, he’s a must-start. But like with Adams, you need to keep an eye on the injury reports and hope you have a backup plan. We really wouldn’t recommend any Saints wide receiver in his sted.
WR Tre’Quan Smith: 🏈 🏈
We’re putting Thomas’ lost fifth football here only because if you really need another wide receiver on the Saints, this is the one we’d choose. Smith leads New Orleans wide receivers with eight targets, six catches and 90 yards – no other wideout has more than 40 – and is capable of breaking one deep.
TE Jared Cook: 🏈 🏈 🏈
Green Bay has been pretty solid against tight ends in two games, allowing just seven catches for 101 yards with no touchdowns. Cook, though, has been targeted 12 times in two games, recording 93 yards and a TD. The Packers have yet to have an incompletion thrown to a tight end. Especially with Thomas possibly out, we like the former Green Bay tight end Cook to put up decent numbers with a chance of getting into the end zone.
Saints D/ST: 🏈
New Orleans opponents are completing 68.9% of its passes with five touchdowns. While the run defense has been decent (3.3 per carry, 2 TDs), this might be a Brees vs. Rodgers shootout and that means a lot of yards and scoring. Rodgers, like Brees, has only been sacked once and has no turnovers. We’d stay far away.