Aaron Rodgers has been cleared to play just in time for… wait, what’s that? Fantasy football is over? Son of a…
OK, so I’ll be honest. Rodgers’ return for Week 17 leaves a bitter taste in my mouth because I had Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy in just about every league. But should it? The comparison:
Jordy Nelson with Rodgers (first seven games): 5.5 catches, 92.7 yards, seven touchdowns
Jordy Nelson without Rodgers (past seven games): 4.5 catches, 62.4 yards, one touchdown
Eddie Lacy with Rodgers (excluding Week 2 concussion, so five games): 22.2 carries, 87.2 yards, three touchdowns. 2.4 catches for 15.6 yards.
Eddie Lacy without Rodgers (past seven games): 18.4 carries, 73.7 yards, six touchdowns. 3.0 catches for 23.4 yards.
As you can see, the red-zone gameplan understandably flipped with Scott Tolzien/Matt Flynn under center. Nelson’s touchdown chances will be up, and Lacy’s will be slightly down. Still, it’s tough to argue that Rodgers’ return is a bad thing for Lacy no matter what the numbers say. Less eight-man fronts means more room for the big man to eat.
In other Packers news, Randall Cobb (leg) is expected back as well. I’d expect him to play on special teams and in the slot on passing downs, which is great news for the Packers. However, I’d be hard-pressed to put him in Week 17 lineups off such a long layoff.
NEWS OF THE DAY #2
The Cowboys continued their charade Thursday, saying they have no new information on Tony Romo’s back. The entire sports world seems enthralled by this saga even though the intent here is obvious – Dallas wants Philly to have to prepare for two quarterbacks.
Romo didn’t practice on Wednesday, hasn’t been going to meetings, isn’t learning the gameplan and didn’t practice on Thursday. Per ESPN’s Ed Werder, the epidural injection only “slightly” improved his back pain. Kyle Orton is going to start Sunday and will be a strong FanDuel option at a $5,000 salary in a potential shootout for the NFC East.
NEWS OF THE DAY #3
Rueben Randle was something of a bust as a Week 16 plug-n-play, compiling a 4/40/0 line on nine targets. So far this week, he’s sat out each day of practice due to a knee flareup. It puts him off the fantasy radar despite another monster opportunity and plus matchup (vs WAS). I’d rather use slot man Jerrel Jernigan, who has 13 catches for 147 yards and a touchdown on 20 targets over the last two weeks.
In other longer-term Giants news, David Wilson’s future remains in doubt due to his neck injury. He fully intends to return next season and compete for the starting running back job, but gaining medical clearance could be another story. Per the New York Daily News, some people think Wilson shouldn’t play again. It suggests he’s been told that another blow to the neck could affect his life off the field, something no one wants. Wilson remains a hold in Dynasty formats, but his arrow is pointing down.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: QUARTERBACK AND RUNNING BACK
Adrian Peterson (foot) is questionable and Toby Gerhart (hamstring) is doubtful. It’s a situation to avoid. … Andre Brown (concussion) has been cleared and is ready to rock. … Shane Vereen (groin) is practicing this week, rubbing salt in the wounds of owners that saw him bow out in the first quarter in Week 16. … Maurice Jones-Drew (hamstring) got in a limited practice, keeping him on track to share the work with Jordan Todman Sunday.
INJURY QUICK SLANTS: WIDE RECEIVER AND TIGHT END
Dez Bryant tweaked his back during Wednesday’s practice, but he’s fine for Sunday. … Garrett Graham (hamstring) is out, giving Ryan Griffin TE1 appeal once again. … Steve Smith (knee) isn’t going to play Sunday. Ted Ginn has upside as a boom-or-bust WR4 type. … Jordan Cameron (concussion) still hasn’t gained clearance. Not a good sign. … I’d be surprised if Calvin Johnson (knee) played in a meaningless finale. … Wes Welker (concussion) is practicing, but he can’t realistically suit up Sunday. If he were to get a third concussion, he’d be out for the playoff run. … Dwayne Bowe has a concussion. The only Chief I might want to start this week is Knile Davis. That’s it.
DEPTH CHART QUICK SLANTS
Joseph Fauria and newly promoted Matt Veldman are the only tight ends on the Lions active roster right now. I like Fauria as a FanDuel play, especially with Calvin Johnson likely sidelined. … Ladarius Green is playing on about half the snaps over the last three weeks, but he’s seen just two targets during that span. The fear is that the Chargers see him as a blocker long-term.