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What If: Aaron Rodgers

What if Aaron Rodgers were to fall to injury?

Sorry Tom Brady fans, but Aaron Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL right now. He is also the best football player on the planet and the league has never really seen anyone quite like him.

Brett Hundley is a very promising backup that could soon garner Jimmy Garoppolo-like buzz, but if Rodgers were to go down, you would see the Packers offense truly exposed for what it is: A remedial scheme with slightly above average talent around Rodgers that is carried by the game’s best player.

Rodgers helps his offensive line in many ways. But he also holds the football a very long time and takes his share of hits and sacks. Green Bay is very good at the tackle positions, but neither of those players are elite pure talents. The interior of the line has question marks as the Packers have allowed quality starters to leave at guard and center over the past two seasons.

The Green Bay offensive scheme is basically built on the receivers winning one-on-one matchups rather than out-scheming the opponent with route combinations and presnap motion like is the case in so many other systems. This makes things very difficult on the quarterback. Because of this, Rodgers holds the ball longer to extend the play and give his receivers more time to eventually create separation. Things don’t happen quickly in the Packers scheme compared to others. And it sure helps that Rodgers is elite late in the down while also having a great sense of how to buy time while staying in balance to make any throw or to finally tuck the ball and run.

Many looked at Rodgers as a slumping player to begin the 2016 season. And by his standards and his usual statistics, that is rather true. But the reality was that Rodgers was more being let down by his receiving corps than the other way around. Jared Cook hadn’t yet been apart of the passing attack and Jordy Nelson was still looking sluggish coming off injury. Randall Cobb has been underwhelming for some time now and Davante Adams made dropping touchdown passes a new hobby.

Let’s just pretend that group of pass catchers played at that level while Rodgers was injured. Well, that is a recipe for just terrible offense. Remember, Rodgers raises all ships in this offense more than any quarterback in the game today.

Rodgers’ career highlight tape can compare to anyone that has ever played the position. But what separates him from other extreme playmakers like his former teammate Brett Favre is that Rodgers’ career lowlight tape is also one of the very best in history. He routinely connects on passes all over the field that the majority of quarterbacks to ever play the game would not even consider attempting. His loss would be immeasurable.

Again, Hundley is very promising and would be worth adding to your fantasy roster (and you should already have him in dynasty) if Rodgers were to go down for an extended stretch. But even if, hypothetically, Rodgers’ backup were a league average starting signal caller like Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco or Kirk Cousins, Green Bay’s offense and fantasy production would suffer dramatically across the board.

This probably isn’t late breaking news. But if Rodgers were to miss time, every single facet of the Packers offense would spiral downward at a rapid pace. Maybe this would be the best way for Rodgers greatness to truly be revealed.

BUY

Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones

The might be a little optimistic for Williams and Jones, but if Montgomery were forced to carry more of the offense on his shoulders, there is a much better chance of the former wide receiver breaking down. Then, with Rodgers and Montgomery out of the mix, what could be a three-headed backfield could be down to just two. That is admittedly going out on a bit of a limb however!

HOLD

Ty Montgomery

You would think Montgomery’s reception total would spike with Rodgers out of the lineup, as the Packers would devise easier dump off type throws for Hundley. You also would think that Green Bay would run the ball a higher percentage of the time without Rodgers behind center. The only reason Montgomery is a HOLD rather than a BUY is the presence of Williams and Jones, who could eat into his piece of the pie or even overtake Montgomery as the lead guy.

Martellus Bennett

Having Rodgers throwing him passes surely is better for Bennett than Hundley. However, a big-bodied target in the middle of the field with Bennett’s abilities should also quickly become a safety blanket for a young inexperienced quarterback. Bennett would be a borderline BUY and you could get him at a cheap price.

SELL

Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Devante Adams

Nelson, Cobb and Adams all should see the same amount of playing time with Hundley behind center, but can someone with such little experience keep all three of these mouths fed? Probably not.

ADD

Brett Hundley

Hundley is a high quality backup with loads of ability. No one can replace Rodgers, but Hundley is about as good as it gets with NFL backup quarterbacks. Sure, the offense isn’t real diverse and Rodgers makes those around him look better than they are, but the cupboards also aren’t bare around Hundley if he were thrust into action.

DROP

None