As a fantasy football expert, most of what you do is predicting the future. Trying to foresee how players will perform and how certain situations play out is essentially what fantasy football prognosticating is all about.
Normally, predicting the future is a difficult thing — but when it comes to projecting Aaron Rodgers fantasy value for the 2013 season, nothing could be easier. That’s because the best way to describe Rodgers fantasy production is consistency, like unbelievably consistent.
Since Rodgers became the starting quarterback for the Green Bay Packers in 2008, he has never finished lower than second in fantasy points scored among quarterbacks. In fact, he’s finished first in standard scoring formats each of the past four seasons.
Most fantasy experts will tell you that it’s wise to wait on drafting a quarterback but with Rodgers sitting there in the first round, it’s kind of hard to pass on him. For starters, you know you are going to get a guy stays on the field. He missed one start in 2010 due to injury and one in 2011 because the Packers were resting players, other than that he’s been the picture of perfect health.
Besides being reliable, Rodgers has also been incredibly productive. Dating back to 2009, Rodgers has posted four consecutive seasons with an average of at least 20 fantasy points per game (21.7 in 2009, 20 in 2010, 26.2 in 2011 and 21.9 in 2012) and been the top point scorer in fantasy football two years running.
Yes, Rodgers and the Packers did see former Pro Bowl wide out Greg Jennings sign with the Minnesota Vikings in the offseason. But Jennings only played in five games last season and was really only healthy down in Week 17 and in the playoffs. So, while he will be missed, Rodgers value shouldn’t suffer at all, especially considering he still has Randall Cobb, Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Jermichael Finley in his weapons arsenal.
The Packers did invest heavily in the running game by drafting Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin in rounds two and four of the 2013 NFL Draft, respectively. This could mean that the Packers will place a higher emphasis on running the football in 2013 but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a bad thing for Rodgers. For one, a better running game can help keep him upright as opposing defenses will have something else to focus on besides Rodgers and the passing game. Also, a solid running game will open up the play-action passing game, where Rodgers can be downright deadly, especially down the field. He may see a slight dip in pass attempts next season but in this case, less may be more.
The thing about Rodgers last season is he led quarterbacks in fantasy points without leading in any major single category such as touchdown passes or passing yards. He finished second in touchdown passes with 39 and eighth in passing yards with 4,303. Yet, what makes Rodgers so special is he can put up prolific passing numbers to match Drew Brees or Tom Brady, while also finishing seventh among quarterbacks in rushing yards with 241 to go along with a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Only ten quarterbacks in the NFL rushed for at least 200 yards last season and Rodgers along with Colts quarterback Andrew Luck were the only two that eclipsed 4,000 yards passing. Rodgers consistency also rears its head again as he has rushed for at least 200 yards and scored at least two rushing touchdowns in each of his five seasons as a starter.
Rodger’s ability to run is often overlooked but when considering he scored 36 fantasy points (2.25 per game) last season with his legs, you can see how it keeps him a step ahead of other great passers like Brady, Brees and Peyton Manning.
So while there are a number of highly talented, athletic quarterbacks such as RG3, Cam Newton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, until they can get in the same ballpark as Rodgers throwing the football, they are always going to lag behind in terms of fantasy production.
So here’s my 2013 prediction for Rodgers: 4, 400 passing yards, 38 passing touchdowns, 225 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. Rodgers will lead all quarterbacks in scoring once again in 2013 and has a very good chance to be the top overall scorer in fantasy football for the third straight season.
All fantasy football stats are courtesy of four-downs.com