After two weeks of the regular season, it’s time to analyze the Packers playmakers that are trending up and who is trending down. Who will flip the script and go from trending one way to the other way?
The Packers are currently 1-1 through two games this season and both came from blowouts. The first two games were on point with the latest trend of coming in rusty in game one and bouncing back in game two. Green Bay has already played two of the six games against NFC North opponents, the Minnesota Vikings, and the Chicago Bears. Two games is a decent sample size to evaluate how well the guys are playing or not.
Packers Players Trending Up
1) Elgton Jenkins
After tearing his ACL in Week 11 of the 2021 season, Jenkins was able to return to the Packers’ offensive line sooner than expected. His return in Week two was a big boost to the offensive line and being able to block pass rushers going after Aaron Rodgers. Jenkins was able to play 68 snaps at his right tackle position. He blocked better than expected and was not on a snap count during his first game back. As he battles to get back to full health while also still playing, he’ll continue to get back into true form and block for his quarterback. He will need to bring his A game against the stout defense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
2) Quay Walker
The rookie linebacker from Georgia, Quay Walker, has been been a rockstar during the start of the season. He has lined up mainly in the box next to De’Vondre Campbell. These two are the dynamic duo on the defense. Walker has lined up in three different positions but spends most of his time in the box, he has also helped out in punt coverage on special teams. Through two games, Walker has 13 tackles as a Packers starter. Ten solo tackles and three assisted tackles. He has quickly become an essential piece in this elite defense.
3) Aaron Jones
Like most of the offense, Aaron Jones started slowly in Week one. AJ Dillon did most of the damage in Week one so Jones didn’t get many touches. Week two was a different story as Jones went super Saiyan on the Bears’ defense and racked up 170 yards from scrimmage. After two games, running back Aaron Jones has 181 rushing yards, six receptions for 65 yards, and two touchdowns. Yes, Jones and Dillon will still operate as a duo but I believe that Week two was just the beginning. Week three against the Buccaneers’ defense will be a struggle but Jones’s receiving ability will make him a must-start in fantasy leagues.
Packers Players Trending Down
1) David Bakhtiari
Yes, left tackle David Bakhtiari is still questionable. Things still aren’t looking bright for the former pro bowl lineman, as it’s been almost two years since he tore his ACL, and hasn’t been able to stay healthy enough to start. When healthy, he’s an elite tackle that helps cover Rodgers’ backside but he hasn’t been able to protect his quarterback since 2020. He was limited to 27 snaps in the 2021 season. No one seems to know when or if Bakhtiari will return, which isn’t a good sign since the Packers are fully invested in him. So for now, he’ll continue to trend down until we receive any positive news from him.
Sammy, Sammy, Sammy, why can’t you stay healthy? The Packers were able to get two games from Watkins before being limited and not practicing this week due to a hamstring injury. Let’s hope that it’s just him resting his sore hamstring after compiling 93 yards on three catches against the Bears. With Watkins’s history, any news regarding an injury is never good news. This is why he is on the trending down list, hard to tell if this will be a lingering issue throughout the season or if it’s just a sore hamstring that needs rest.
3) Allen Lazard
After missing the start of the season against the Vikings, top wideout Allen Lazard was able to come back and join his teammates against the Bears. He was on a snap count as he returned from the ankle injury that has nagged him for some time now. Right after logging two receptions for 13 yards and a touchdown in Week two, Lazard found himself right back on the injury report. Like most injuries, the timetable for a player to return to full health is up in the air, especially when they continue to play with the injury. Lazard was a limited participant on Wednesday and did not practice Thursday.
Which Packers Playmakers Are On The Edge?
Until the receiving corps are figured out and can maintain some consistency, Aaron Rodgers will ride the hump as a questionable fantasy starter each week. He has the talent to lead and throw the football, he needs trust from his receivers that they’ll break from coverage and catch any balls thrown their way. Once Allen Lazard and tight end Robert Tonyan are no longer limited in games, that will open two big targets in the passing game. Currently, Lazard and Tonyan have been on snap counts and limited on certain plays to avoid re-injuring themselves.
Wide receiver Randall Cobb has exceeded my expectations as a veteran of the Packers. I expected him to be more of a depth piece but with the rookies taking some time to acclimate to the NFL and injuries with some of the starters, he’s been the guy that Rodgers has looked for. No, he doesn’t have crazy stat lines, but he has consistently gotten open for Rodgers when needed. Currently, Cobb is not practicing due to an illness. Hopefully, he can shake the illness and play Sunday. Rodgers will need help against the elite defensive line of the Buccaneers.
Rookie wide receiver Christian Watson has been an eye sore and a bright spot for the Packers to start the year. After dropping the would-be 50-plus yard touchdown pass from Rodgers on the first snap of Week one, he was not bailed on. The Packers started using the stud wide receiver out of the backfield, short passes, and on pitches. The coaching staff is trying to include Watson on a plethora of opportunities to get his morale back so he won’t drop that hail mary next time. Watson is also currently banged up but he should be active on Sunday.
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