Jordy Nelson Tears ACL, Goes on IR

Jordy Nelson had the worst news possible for his fantasy owners: a torn ACL which puts him out for the entire 2015-2016 season. The news leaves the Green Bay Packers scrambling to fill a huge wide receiver void. Since 2011, Jordy Nelson has been one of the most productive receivers in fantasy football.

Below is a snapshot analysis of what the injury means to the Green Bay Packers offensive scheme, particularly from a fantasy football perspective. This sets up a situation which can be exploited, for those who read the tea leaves and make adept decisions in the days and weeks to come.

Jordy Nelson’s replacement is going to receive a high volume of targets. He could become a fantasy force, so picking that player is important for your upcoming local league drafts. In Week 1 of the DSF season, whoever gets (most of) the departed receiver’s numbers could be the difference in winning and losing. Let’s see who that man is.

Packers Jordy Nelson Gets Injured

The Next Man Up: The team’s 2nd-round pick in 2014, Davante Adams, is the player most likely to be affected by this news. Adams is likely to be the new starter in Green Bay. With high-volume passer Aaron Rodgers throwing him passes, Davante Adams suddenly becomes a breakout candidate in 2015.

In 2014, after receiving criticism from Coach Mike McCarthy in preseason, Davante Adams showed flashes in the third receiver position. As the season wore on, McCarthy began to praise the young pass catcher. Adams should produce in the role, given his pedigree and the limited results this far.

As an aside, I’m glad I made Davante Adams a mid-to-late round pick in my dynasty league last year. As a person who’s followed him particularly close this last year, I felt like he was likely to step up and be a more significant contributor in Year 2. Now, I think he could be a breakout candidate.

Maybe I’m biased.

Other players should receive more targets and more opportunities to shine. Here is how I see the Jordy Nelson injury affecting other Packers:

Jeff Janis and Ty Montegomery

Jeff Janis, a 7th-round pick in 2014 (6’3″, 219), and Ty Montegomery (6’0″, 216), a 3rd-round pick in 2015, are also in line for more snaps due to the Nelson injury. Either Janis or Montegomery is likely to fill the role of the third receiver, which has been productive in the past. In 2012, James Jones led the NFL in receiving touchdowns as the Packers’ third receiver.

Davante Adams Quote

When asked about the loss’s impact on the receiving corps as a whole, Davante Adams said, “We have a lot of guys that know what to do out there. The rookies, the guys that have been here and haven’t played as much, everybody has something to offer.

Lean on Eddie Lacy

One of the key effects of Jordy Nelson’s injury is the Packers are likely to lean more heavily on Eddie Lacy than before. Lacy’s been a key part of the offense these past two years, but in his 3rd season, you might expect to see him become top-level force in the fantasy football world.

In fact, I’m not so sure if the Nelson injury doesn’t put Eddie Lacy at the #1 spot in most fantasy redrafts. I’d pick Le’Veon Bell over Lacy if Bell wasn’t set to miss the first two games of the season, but I’d rather start the year with my 1st round pick in the lineup. Is Le’Veon Bell for 11 games better than Eddie Lacy for 13 games? I don’t think so.

In daily fantasy sports, I’d say Eddie Lacy would be one of the players I’d start in Week 1. The Packers play the Chicago Bears lousy run defense, so this is a good play in most circumstances. In this circumstance, the Packers are likely to want their offense to get off on solid footing. To settle into the new alignment (without Nelson), they’re likely to run and run and run Eddie Lacy on the road in Chicago in Week 1.

Impact on Aaron Rodgers

As for Aaron Rodgers, I’d say this impacts his numbers, but not much. Aaron Rodgers makes receivers better. James Jones, Jarrett Boykin, Randall Cobb, and Jordy Nelson have all been better because they had Rodgers throwing to him. AR needs good targets, but he has a bigger impacts on the WRs than they have on him. He’ll keep rolling.

In redraft leagues, this might allow Rodgers to fall a round later than he otherwise would. If so, draft him with confidence he’ll maintain him career momentum. Talk up the injury of Jordy Nelson in the days leading up to the draft, if you want to put out a smokescreen.

In dynasty leagues, the injury might allow you to make a good trade for the Packers passer. Probably not, though. Anyone who’s had Rodgers on their roster for multiple seasons is likely to trust him implicitly–or at the very least be a big fan at this point. No discounts for Rodgers as a keeper or a dynasty player.

In one-day fantasy sports, I’d say there’s a chance Aaron Rodgers is undervalued in Week 1. If he is priced at a lower level than the top quarterbacks, add him to the team knowing he’s likely to keep chugging along.