We're headed to Week 15 of the National Football League regular season, and in fantasy it's either the first or second week of the postseason. If you're still alive, once again congratulations go out to you in your quest for a trophy, money or both. It's a fun time of the year, especially in close games coming down to the final minutes on a Monday night. I am pleased to move on in the FLEX League PPR, drafted on Sirius XM Satellite Radio back in August. Joe Dolan of FantasyGuru.com also finished 10-3 during the regular season and his team will be a formidable test. In the Triple Crown Football Standard Experts League, it will be a battle with Steve DeAngelo of FantasySavvy.com in a battle of No. 2 vs. 3 seeds. It's always an honor to make the playoffs in leagues against my peers, and experts leagues are difficult because no one is ever asleep at the switch. Good luck in the pursuit of your championship!
The Green Bay Packers lost Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone back on Oct. 15 in Minnesota, and the team went on to suffer a 23-10 setback at U.S. Bank Stadium in the Twin Cities. Enter Brett Hundley, who suffered two straight setbacks at home against New Orleans and Detroit. He finally picked up his first road win at Chicago on Nov. 12, and he nearly pulled off a huge road win as two-touchdown underdogs in Pittsburgh on Nov. 26 in front of a national audience. Hundley righted the ship and won a pair of overtime games against Tampa Bay and at Cleveland, helping the Pack stay afloat at 7-6. Oddly enough, Hundley's career record in overtime sits at 2-0, while Rodgers is 1-7 all-time in the extra session.
Editor’s Note: FanDuel is hosting their Super Duel for a Difference contest this Sunday, where you can win tickets to the Big Game in Minneapolis! Support a good cause and compete for an unforgettable grand prize.
The fact that the Pack remain smack dab in the middle of the playoff race paved the way for Rodgers to return perhaps sooner rather than later, or even 2018. If you had the foresight save Rodgers on reserve after drafting him, or you picked him up in recent weeks to stash, congratulations. Can you imagine someone stashing Rodgers away for the fantasy playoffs, and also having Ezekiel Elliott coming back from suspension next weekend? I'd love to hear from anyone who has that combination going on. The schedule doesn't set up terribly favorable for Rodgers and his fantasy owners, though, as the Pack hit the road for Carolina this week, before hosting the Vikings in Week 16. If your championship is in Week 17, the Packers will travel to meet the Lions in regular season finale. The Panthers rank 11th against opposing fantasy quarterbacks, while the Vikings rank fifth. The Lions rank 14th in the league, so Rodgers and his teammates will be facing three opponents ranking in the upper half of the league against opposing QBs, in terms of fantasy points allowed.
That being said…it's Aaron Freakin' Rodgers! Regardless of the competition, and regardless of the weather, which is also a factor for the Week 16 game at Lambeau. In fact, a quick perusal of the long-term weather forecast shows just one day in the next 10 above the freezing mark, so that might be something to watch with his collarbone. Whenever Rodgers is under center, he is a must-start fantasy option even under adverse weather conditions.
Perhaps no one will be happier to see Rodgers back in action than Jordy Nelson. He really never jelled with understudy Brett Hundley. Nelson wasn't tearing it up early on, as he has no 100-yard games this season. However, in the four full games with Rodgers under center, Nelson posted 19 receptions for 230 yards and six touchdowns. He had six grabs and a season-high 10 targets in the Oct. 15 when Rodgers was hurt and Hundley took over. In the seven starts by Hundley, Nelson was good for just 22 grabs, 153 yards and no touchdowns on 39 targets. He devolved into more of a WR3 or flex option rather than the WR1 he was drafted to be. So perhaps a return to the end zone is in order for Nelson with No. 12 back under center.
Davante Adams has jelled with everyone so far this season. It was more of a seamless transition from Rodgers to Hundley for No. 17, as he posted 23 catches for 285 yards and four touchdowns in the five starts by Rodgers, five grabs for 54 yards and a score in the game both quarterbacks played in Minnesota, and then 32 receptions for 424 yards and four scores over his past five outings. He has easily been the No. 1 receiver in Green Bay, and a WR2 for the first time in his career for fantasy players. The return of Rodgers should open up even more running room for Jamaal Williams, too, who looked like a legitimate star in the making with a rushing touchdown in each of his past three games, and five total touchdowns during the span. Rodgers hasn't really worked with him in depth during regular-season game situations, but he'll undoubtedly be happy to have a new tool at his disposal.
Man, the Washington Redskins really angered the injury gods. Yes, every team has had a difficult time this season, and major stars have fallen by the wayside in seemingly record numbers. But the Redskins seem to have had it just a little bit rougher than everyone else. Oft-injured Jordan Reed (hamstring) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list on Tuesday, officially ending his season. Really, it ended back on Oct. 29 in the last game he played with the team. Byron Marshall (hamstring) joined him on IR due to a hamstring injury suffered on a non-contact injury on special teams last week. Marshall was the emergency No. 2 back behind Samaje Perine with Rob Kelley (knee) and Chris Thompson (leg) already on the IR and done for the season.
So Perine and Vernon Davis will be starters down the stretch for the struggling Redskins. Perine has emerged as a low-end RB2 or flex fantasy option, mainly because he is the bellcow for Washington with no other healthy bodies left to tote the rock. Amazingly, Josh Doctson, who struggled with injuries limiting him to two games in his rookie season, is finally healthy. He is making the splash the team hoped for when tabbing him with the No. 22 overall pick in the draft in April 2016, and it might not have happened unless Terrelle Pryor (ankle) went down with a season-ending injury. It has been a season of punishment in the capital, and one the 'Skins likely can't wait to be over.
Quick Hits: Ameer Abdullah (neck) is back to practicing on a full basis for the Lions, and it sounds like he could be good to go for Week 15 against the Bears on Saturday. The backfield in Motown is likely to be a hodgepodge of Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Tion Green and even Zach Zenner. If you absolutely had to bank on someone for fantasy, Riddick is the best bet, especially with a little upside in PPR formats. … Tevin Coleman (concussion) is in the league's mandated concussion protocol still, so no practice on Tuesday. The team will not 'officially' practice until Thursday, with a game Monday night in Tampa. So he has a few more days to be cleared by an independent neurologist. Stay tuned. … The Rams are expected to welcome back Robert Woods (shoulder) after a multi-week injury. He had really started to jell nicely with Jared Goff before going down to injury. The return of Woods might have a negative impact on the fantasy appeal of Cooper Kupp, who has basically worked as the team's No. 1 receiver with Woods on the mend. … Hunter Henry (calf) was limited in practice Tuesday, but he is expected to be good to go for Saturday's battle against the Chiefs at Arrowhead. … The Patriots picked up Kenny Britt on Tuesday, as he inked a two-year deal with the defending champs. Talk about going from the basement to the penthouse in a big hurry. He goes from the winless Browns to the defending champs in a matter of four days. Despite the performance of his real team, his fantasy prospects remain rather dim. … With Marshall hitting the IR in D.C., the 'Skins inked former Broncos RB and Colorado State standout Kapri Bibbs to finish out the season as the backup.