Fantasy Outlook: Time to Move on From Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers

There are few things that are a bigger part of my daily routine than my morning cup of coffee. Whether I’m dragging myself out of bed prior to getting stuck in bumper to bumper Bay Area traffic, or I’m getting ready to go to the gym before to my late shift at work, I find it hard to go a day without coffee. It has gotten to a point where I consciously try to avoid caffeine on my days off from work so that I’m not drinking it every day. Even then, my brain and body don’t seem to start functioning until I eventually have to take a quick nap (sometimes an hour or two after I wake up) or cheat and give into the dark, brown temptress. I just can’t give it up.

It wasn’t always like that.

To be honest, I never even liked coffee until I got into pharmacy school. I remember when I was a kid, my mom would drink instant coffee and she always made it seem like it tasted good. One day in high school I got home and made myself a cup, and completely butchered the ratio of water to coffee. Needless to say, that wasn’t an experience that made me feel inclined to give java a shot for some time.

Even through undergrad, I never got into the taste of it. Looking back, I don’t know how I made it through all the midterms, pledging, and horror movie nights with my friends without coffee. It wasn’t until I got into pharmacy school when I had a health fair and I carpooled with one of my fraternity brothers. He bought breakfast for us all, and along with the Egg McMuffin and hashbrown, he introduced me to a simple drink that would change my life forever.

Yes, out of all the coffees out there, McDonald’s was my gateway drink.

Ever since that day I’ve been unable to cut coffee completely out of my life. This year in fantasy football, there are definitely a few players that fall under my “coffee” category of players. These are the guys that I was high on to prior to the start of the season, but they’ve very little so far to earn or deserve my trust. Giving up coffee or caffeine leads to withdrawals, which usually manifest themselves in a pounding headache. Giving up these players on the other hand, will actually have the opposite effect, so it’s time to face the music and move on.

Aaron Rodgers

There was quite a bit of optimism for Aaron Rodgers and the whole Green Bay Packers offense heading into the 2016 season. While they had a tough 2015, they were getting back a major weapon in Jordy Nelson. With the return of Nelson, another year of progression for Davante Adams and a slimmer Eddy Lacy, the Packers were supposed to return the offensive juggernaut that dominated the NFL for the past five years. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been close to being the case.

Thus far, Rodgers has yet to eclipse the 300 yard passing mark, thrown just one touchdown in two of their five games played and is just the QB8 in points per game. He has his lowest Quarterback Rating and is averaging the lowest yards gained per pass attempt (6.5) since 2006. While their offensive line is one of the best pass blocking lines in the NFL per ProFootballFocus, Rodgers doesn’t have anyone to throw to deep to even with the extra amount of time in the pocket. While Randall Cobb has been able to return to his normal slot/scat back role, Nelson has obviously been hindered by his 2015 injury. Though he’s still Rodgers’ go-to red zone option, he’s no longer the deep threat that he used to be. Combine the lack of a vertical attack with the injuries that are piling up at the running back position, I’m all for cashing in on Aaron Rodgers’ big name and would be more comfortable rolling with guys like Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, and even Matthew Stafford to finish the season.

Jamaal Charles

I know Charles scored a touchdown in the Chiefs’ win over the Raiders last Sunday, but I would use that to get what I can for him and move on. Drafted on average as the RB10 in Yahoo! drafts during the offseason, Charles has clearly been supplanted by Spencer Ware as the lead dog in Kansas City. Everyone knew that Ware was a talented back who took advantage when Charles missed time, but few knew he’d make this much of an impact. Ware currently ranks sixth in the league averaging 15.3 fantasy points per game and is actually tied for 7th in yards per reception at 17.8 with the only other RB in the top 10, Tevin Coleman.

We all knew coming into this season that Ware was an effective runner and finisher at the goal line, but the most surprising aspect about his 2016 season is his ability in the pass game. After having just 4 targets in the two games he started last season, he already has 19 through 5 games. I know the Chiefs have said that they want to ease Charles into the game plan as he recovers from yet another major injury, but I don’t see why they would feel the need to fix what ain’t broke. The nightmare scenario for Charles owners where Ware takes the job and runs away with it is coming true, so if I owned Charles, I would get what I can from the Ware owner and be done with the Jamaalocopter.

Yes, that’s an actual nickname that people were trying to get to catch on a few years ago.

DeAndre Hopkins

DeAndre Hopkins was being mentioned in the same tier as Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. on many of the major fantasy sites during the summer, but we’re going to have to won up to the fact that we may have made a major mistake. I’m not even going to use the QB argument here. Yes, the fact that he currently has Brock Osweiler as his QB is a major factor, but we used to think he was QB proof anyways with guys like T.J. Yates and Brandon Weeden throwing him the ball. But if we look deeper, there’s been a steady decline in production ever since the Texans’ Week 9 bye last season. Prior to the bye, he was on a roll, averaging 14 targets, 109 yards and 0.75 touchdowns per game. After the bye, his targets dropped almost 30% to just 10 per game, along with 81 yards and 0.63 touchdowns. The Texans seemed to have found the recipe to success, finishing the season 6-2 after starting just 3-5.

Fast forward to the 2016 season and Hopkins is still averaging just 10 targets per game with an even lower per game yardage and touchdown output. While you don’t need to look any further to the Texans’ 0-27 loss to the Tom Brady/Jimmy Garoppolo-less Patriots for an ugly loss, they are still sitting at 4-2 in the AFC South and a full two games ahead of the preseason favorites, the Indianapolis Colts. So not only do you have an inept quarterback, you also have a head coach who has discovered that the formula to success is running the ball and not trying to force feeding his star wide receiver. As long as the Texans continue to keep winning this way, I don’t expect much to change the same ceiling that we’re used to seeing with Hopkins.

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