Green Bay Packers Late August Scouting Report
As training camp progresses things change - again. However, all the significant changes could occur at the bottom of the roster (except for cornerback) so primary fantasy league players remain the same. The bad news is that the injury report got larger. Those among the longer term injured include LB Vince Biegel, CB Demetri Goodson, DE Montravius Adams, TE Aaron Peck, and TE Beau Sandland. In addition, CB Herb Waters (shoulder) has been placed on Injured Reserve. Not one of these guys are starters and four of them will not make the 53 man roster. However some starters have experience short term injuries – I will cover those as I go. Hopefully it doesn’t get any worse than that. Perhaps the best news from a fantasy point of view is that the Packers have more than talked about a fast start to the season. They are planning to make it happen – unlike last year (in my opinion). Providing the details for all that would be more than this report should cover. That and good health will go aa long way toward making everything click when the season starts.
So far the starting Offense has been doing great. Quarterbacks continue to perform. QB Aaron Rodgers played one series and led a touchdown drive vs Washington’s starters. (Remember, Washington beat Green Bay badly last year) QB Brett Hundley has come on as camp progresses. It turns out that all he really needed was reps with the offense to maintain his edge. It will be interesting to see if Packer coaches make sure he gets those reps once the season starts. He has played so well that if another team has injury problems and waved enough draft picks in front of the Packer General Manager, he could end up a starter on a different team. QB Joe Callahan has also played well but hasn’t scored any touchdowns. He was the star of last season’s preseason for the Pack, but penalties and bad offensive line play have derailed drives he conducted. I think he is doing great considering he comes from a division 3 school, where the play book might be mistaken for a comic book. QB Taysom Hill has lead drives in both preseason games that scored touchdowns – now if only I could somehow forget about his college injury history. If Hundley gets traded one of these two would be the number two guy, and the other would be number three. At running back RB Ty Montgomery, who is now temporarily hurt, struggled in his first preseason game. Ty will be back soon. RB Jamaal Williams is now doing well enough to work his way into a running back rotation. That is good news and bad. Good news is that the Packers have depth at the position. But it is bad news for fantasy owners if the snaps are shared too much. In addition, Head Coach Mike McCarthy is saying good things about RB Devante Mays. Then there is also RB Aaron Jones, RB William Stanback, and RB Kalif Phillips. Jones stands a chance to stick, but Stanback & Phillips are toast. At wide receiver WR Jordy Nelson played with Rodgers in the last preseason game. WR Davante Adams and WR Randall Cobb will play sparingly as well. The majority of the remaining preseason game snaps will go to everyone else. WR Geronimo Allison is clearly the number four guy. He has improved a lot. But as the number four guy someone will have get injured for him to get significant targets, or maybe matchups will dictate how many he gets. If any of the top three get injured he is the unquestioned next man up. If WR Trevor Davis is the number five guy, he is going to have to do much better catching punts. He has had one punt drop in a game and one in practice recently. But as a receiver he beats people with his speed – and he does so consistently. Don’t look now but WR Jeff Janis is turning into a complete receiver. And he is doing well in his special team responsibilities. Coming from a division 2 school, it has taken some time for him to learn how the pros do it, but that transition is almost complete. WR Max McCaffrey is turning it on in both practice and games. Don’t forget his dad was an all pro wide receiver for the Broncos. But he has the speed his dad didn’t have. He is making it tough for the coaches to cut him so he would be the number seven guy if they keep Davis. And then there are the draft picks WR DeAngelo Yancey and WR Malachi Dupre. Yancey is showing well in both the first preseason game and practice. Dupre sustained a concussion in his first preseason game and did’t play in the second game. But the coaches want to see him in play in games more. He was showing well before the injury. Then finally undrafted free agents WR Montay Crocket and WR Michael Clark have shown enough to make the practice squad. But both have a ways to go before they can play on Sundays. Like me, you may be wondering why the Packers are stock piling wide outs now? I think the answer lies partly in the contracts for Adam & Cobb that come due next year, and partly in one more consideration I am not at liberty to say at this time. But those reasons will not affect this year. How to keep what they have will be an issue. At Tight end, some think that TE Martellus Bennett will have his best season ever. However, the number of receptions TE Lance Kendricks and TE Richard Rodgers gets will eat into Bennett’s chances.. How the work load is shared will affect Bennett’s fantasy value. Unfortunately we are going to have to wait to see how the work load shakes out for tight ends in Green Bay. On the offensive line, OT David Bakhtari, OG Lane Taylor, OC Corey Linsley, OG Jahri Evans, and OT Bryan Bulaga are the starters and are all healthy. Bulaga limped off the field this week. No problems, OT Kyle Murphy, who is doing well, can take his place. OT Jason Spriggs however is struggling, but there is a lack of concern as all think he will be fine. OG Kofi Amichia, OC Justin McCray, and OG Lucas Patrick have all shown they can play physically, but mentally there is some work to do with all three of them.
Defensively the Packers have played better in the first two preseason games. On the defensive line, the continued improvement of DE Kenny Clark and DE Dean Lowry were on display in the games. Although Lowry is now hurt, he should be back soon. DE Mike Daniels was his usual effective self. DE Ricky Jean Francois and DE Christian Ringo have played well too. They have applied plenty of pressure, but haven’t gotten many sacks as a unit. At linebacker LB Jake Ryan, LB Joe Thomas, and LB Blake Martinez are the top three and will be kept. But I don’t get the impression they are settled on how this area of the defense will be play. LB Jordan Tripp is doing well also, but there may not be enough room for him. On the outside LB Clay Matthews and LB Nick Perry will start. The next pair is probably LB Jayrone Elliott and LB Kyler Fackell. The next pair looks like LB Reggie Gilbert and LB Vince Biegel, although Biegel is injured. In the defensive backfield there is a lot of mixing and matching. CB Devon House is injured. CB Kevin King and CB Josh Hawkins started the last preseason game together. In the slot CB Demarious Randall, CB Quinten Rollins and CB Ladarius Gunter have been getting reps. Rollins, CB Lenzy Pipkins, CB Donatello Brown, and CB Raysean Pringle have all received good comments and have played well in preseason. S Morgan Burnett and S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix will start at the basic safety positions. S Josh Jones has been hurt and will miss another preseason game. The practice time he is missing hurts as well. The Packers should be ok until Jones returns and learns his role better. S Kentrell Brice and S Marwin Evans continue to do well. They have been playing well without Jones, but having a ball-hawking enforcer with 4.40 speed helps. S Jermaine Whitehead and S Aaron Taylor are toast. Like last year the Packer defense has been tough against the run. In the preseason so far they have been better than last year against the pass. And health will be the key this year.
My top tier Packer fantasy players are, QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Jordy Nelson, WR Davante Adams, and TE Martellus Bennett. Second tier is, WR Randall Cobb, RB Ty Montgomery, and PK Mason Crosby. I would wait to see what happens with the defense before taking thm unless you can have two defenses on your team. No real surprises there. The next report will preview game one vs. Seattle. Meanwhile you can prepare for cut day when about 1000 players will learn that have to do something else for a living. If nothing else it should redefine chaos.
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