Just hours after Green Bay announced starting left tackle Bryan Bulaga, a key asset to one of the league's most prolific passing attacks, will miss the entire season with a torn ACL, another invaluable component for Aaron Rodgers was bitten by the unrelenting injury imp.
Jordy Nelson, a popular top-50 overall pick in the Yahoo! game (ADP: 42.9, WR14), underwent minor knee surgery Tuesday. Expected to miss 4-6 weeks, his availability for Green Bay's regular season opener at San Francisco is very cloudy. Mike McCarthy is optimistic the team's premier downfield threat will be in uniform Week 1, but entering the heart of fantasy football draft season, it's hard to trust any player with fresh wounds.
Nelson is just the latest marquee wideout to experience a setback. Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin and Jeremy Maclin are all expected to miss extensive time. Chances are Danny Amendola will fall victim next.
Entering the year, No. 87 was expected to build on his top-24 points per game effort from a season ago. Netting just 6.1 looks per game the past two seasons, he's never been a targets hog, but his remarkable efficiency on receptions beyond 20 yards made him one of the game's most dangerous deep threats. In light of the news, he deserves a demotion, but not a dramatic one. Though the odds may seem long, it's entirely possible he could suit up in San Fran. At this point, however, expect his ADP to slide into the 60s, dropping behind the likes of Amendola, Pierre Garcon and Antonio Brown.
If Nelson were to miss the first couple games of the regular season, numerous options stand to benefit. Randall Cobb could catch a bazillion passes out of the gate. Already a top-10 WR pick, he's worth every penny at his current 30.9 ADP (WR8). James Jones, off a breakout 14-TD campaign, is also worthy of an ADP promotion. With Nelson sidelined in Weeks 8, 14, 15 and 16, the backup hauled in 21 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns. The No. 28 WR crossed off cheat-sheets on average (ADP 71.8), it would be wise to snag him just inside the position's top-25. Additionally, Jermichael Finley, who reportedly is having a standout camp, would see an uptick in looks. Going on average in the mid-90s (95.7, TE8), he's worth bumping up a spot or two. Deep sleeper Jarrett Boykin is another player to monitor closely. He's a big, physical receiver who could flourish if given an opportunity. In challenging formats, stash him in the eleventh hour.
McCarthy could also choose to lean heavily on 'Jellyroll Tide' Eddie Lacy. The rookie, who was spectacular in Green Bay's first scrimmage over the weekend gaining 65 yards on just eight carries, has solidified himself as the team's early-down workhorse. The loss of Baluga smarts, but to ease pressure on Rodgers, it's entirely conceivable he racks 18-22 carries immediately, though the Niners front-line presents a very daunting opening week matchup. Last year, they surrendered a mere 3.5 yards per carry to RBs.
As for Rodgers, his value varies little. He's battled through losses before without a hitch, finishing inside the QB top-2 every year since 2008. Drew Brees is the safer, more-deserving No. 1 passer in Fantasyland, but Rodgers should again be ultra-productive, assuming he's not dismembered by a blindside blast. Under that scenario, Vince Young, inked Monday to battle for the backup job, would likely get another crack to showcase his wares, and pay-off his debts.
Bull rush Brad on Twitter @YahooNoise. Also, check out the Yahoo! Fantasy and Rotoworld crew every Thursday on 'Fantasy Football Live' starting at 6:30 PM ET on NBC Sports Network (Find channel here) and online at Yahoo! Sports (Watch here)
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