What do we make of Aaron Rodgers for 2019? Should he be one of the first two quarterbacks chosen in fantasy drafts? The price tag will be lower than it has been in recent years.
For now, I’m operating under the assumption that Patrick Mahomes will be the first quarterback chosen in pretty much every draft. In most fantasy leagues, it’s tough to justify selecting a quarterback in the first round, but Mahomes will have many thinking about making an exception. And I would guess that many fantasy leaguers will be nervous about letting Mahomes make it past the second round.
But after Mahomes, then who? Andrew Luck and Deshaun Watson, I’m pretty sure, will be in my top 5. And I think Rodgers will be in that group.
But Rodgers hasn’t been as awesome in recent years as he’s been in the past. In each of his first five years as a starter, Rodgers finished as either the No. 1 or No. 2 quarterback in the league. That’s standard scoring, and using per-game stats (looking each year at all quarterbacks who started at least half the season).
Rodgers in his last six seasons has been a top-5 quarterback only twice (in the 2014 and 2016 seasons, when he put up 84 touchdowns in 32 games. But Rodgers missed half of the 2013 and 2017 seasons with injuries. In 2015, he simply wasn’t very good – Jordy Nelson got hurt, Eddie Lacy showed up overweight, and Randall Cobb and James Jones couldn’t get open. Passing production was up around the league last year, but it was down in Green Bay, with Rodgers throwing only 25 TDs in 16 games – he ranked 13th in per-game production.
Which brings us to this year. The cast around Rodgers looks fine, but it’s not stellar. He’s got Davante Adams, but the rest of the pass catchers look more serviceable than spectacular – Geronimo Allison, Jimmy Graham, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown. Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams at running back. A middle-of-the-pack offensive line.
They’re handing the reins of the franchise to Matt LaFleur, but I’m not sure if he’ll help or hurt. Some swear that’s he’s a young up-and-comer – he’s worked under Kyle Shanahan and Sean Payton. He obviously impressed the Packers in his interview, and he must have impressed the Titans last year when they hired him to be their offensive coordinator. But LaFleur didn’t actually elevate that offense.
We’ll see, I guess.
If I were walking into a draft today, I would make Rodgers the 3rd or 4th quarterback selected. I think he’s more likely to finish with top-5 numbers than to be a difference-making quarterback who jacks up about 40 TDs.
|AARON RODGERS / YEAR BY YEAR|