With the NFL Draft and free agency having come and gone, we’ll break down all sorts of fantasy-relevant questions entering the 2018 season. Up next is a look at a perennially underrated Green Bay Packers wide receiver who will enter the season as Aaron Rodgers’ unquestioned No. 1 option.
Making the Best of a Terrible Situation
The Packers offense fell apart after Aaron Rodgers broke his collarbone in Week 6 of 2017. Whereas they averaged 24.4 points per game with Rodgers under center, they managed just 16.6 in nine starts with Brett Hundley. Longtime offensive stalwarts Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb averaged 10.8 and 3.4 fewer DraftKings points per game, respectively, with Hundley under center in 2017.
And then there was Davante Adams, who converted a career-high 8.4 targets per game into a season-long 74-885-10 line despite working mostly with a quarterback in Hundley that ranked outside of league’s top 30 signal callers in adjusted yards per attempt (4.7), air yards per attempt (2.5), and completion percentage in every type of situation, per Player Profiler.
Adams’ ability to win on a snap-by-snap basis was evident in his ranking among the league’s receivers:
- Touchdowns: Second (10)
- Fantasy points per snap: Tied-sixth (0.3)
- Wide Receiver Rating (Pro Football Focus): Third (120.3)
- DraftKings/FanDuel points per game: 11th/10th (15.6/13.0)
- DraftKings/FanDuel Plus/Minus: Ninth/fifth (+3.3/+2.4)
By all accounts, Adams was a top-10 receiver despite mostly working with a bottom-10 quarterback.
The return of Rodgers — coupled with some key depth-chart subtractions — could mean the best is still to come for the Packers’ 25-year-old top wideout.
One of the NFL’s Premier Touchdown Connections
Including the playoffs, Rodgers and Adams have connected for 20 touchdowns in their 26 games together in 2016-2017. No other receiver in the league has managed to match Adams’ regular-season touchdown mark during that span.
Question: Who has scored the most receiving TDs over the past two seasons?
Answer: Davante Adams – 22 pic.twitter.com/tvWgckcz2L
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) April 11, 2018
Adams has maintained a spectacularly fantasy-friendly target workload; he and new-teammate Jimmy Graham have each seen a league-high 46 targets inside the red zone since 2016. Adams’ ex-teammate Nelson is third on the list with 44 such targets, so there figures to continue to be plenty of opportunities in scoring position to go around.
There’s no doubting that Adams is a talented receiver. Still, plenty of talented receivers don’t manage to score 20 times in their career, let alone in two seasons. Rodgers managed to feed Nelson’s corpse a league-high six touchdowns in 2017 before his injury, demonstrating his never-ending ability to get the most out of his receivers, which is good news for Adams going forward.
The Sky Is the Limit
Rodgers has finished as a top-two fantasy quarterback in seven of his eight seasons with at least 15 starts. The NFL’s all-time leader in adjusted yards per pass attempt “struggled” only in 2015, finishing as “only” the fantasy QB7. Perhaps it wasn’t a coincidence Rodgers had his worst professional season in a year when Nelson played zero games due to a torn ACL, but that didn’t stop him from getting his teammates into the end zone.
TDs from Aaron Rodgers' top receiver
2017: Davante Adams – 10
2016: Jordy Nelson – 14
2015: James Jones & Richard Rodgers – 8
2014: Nelson – 13
2013: Nelson – 8
2012: Jones – 14
2011: Nelson – 15
2010: Greg Jennings – 12
2009: Donald Driver – 6
2008: Jennings – 9
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) June 10, 2018
The top receiver in the Packers offense has averaged 10.9 touchdowns per season during the Rodgers era, while the No. 2 option has averaged 7.4. Rodgers essentially provides enough touchdowns to sustain two, sometimes three, top-tier fantasy receivers.
Adams is currently the WR7 in PPR average draft position on Fantasy Football Calculator at the time of this writing. Rodgers’ No. 1 receiver has routinely offered top-tier touchdown upside, and Adams was already the team’s featured red-zone weapon before Nelson left.
Freshly strapped with the league’s seventh-highest average contract among all wide receivers, Adams couples a top-five ceiling with a top-10 floor.
You can use our tools to research more player- or team-specific questions for yourself, and be sure to check out The Action Network for more in-depth NFL analysis.
Pictured above: Jordy Nelson (left), Davante Adams (right)
Photo credit: Jim Matthews – USA TODAY Sports