Does Aaron Rodgers Injury Create Value in Green Bay?

 Aaron Rodgers injury (broken collarbone) has thrust Brett Hundley to the top of the depth chart in Green Bay. Although he has very little regular season experience, he has played very well in the preseason. Hundley is near the minimum salary for quarterbacks and has a great supporting cast around him. How do you see Hundley fairing as a starter, and will you have any exposure to him or the Packers wide receivers and running backs?

BJ VanderWoude:  Aaron Rodgers injury (broken collarbone) has thrust Brett Hundley to the top of the depth chart in Green Bay. Although he has very little regular season experience, he has played very well in the preseason. Hundley is near the minimum salary for quarterbacks and has a great supporting cast around him. How do you see Hundley fairing as a starter, and will you have any exposure to him or the Packers wide receivers and running backs?

Phil Alexander: I wasn't too big on Hundley coming out of UCLA. His internal clock was something out of a Salvador Dali painting, he couldn't read defenses, and short-armed too many throws. That said, he has spent two years in an incubator learning under the best quarterback in the league. And despite an ugly 157-1-3 stat line in relief of Aaron Rodgers last week, he didn't look completely out of place as an NFL quarterback. I'm willing to give Hundley a chance in Lambeau, after a week of first-team reps, in a matchup with New Orleans (whose defense is a far cry from Minnesota's).

The dropoff from Rodgers to Hundley is clearly a net loss for the Packers receivers, but the sites have priced them accordingly. Jordy Nelson costs about $1,000 less than his season average (DraftKings) but was still targeted 10 times last week, is always in play at home, and faces off with a defense ranked 28th at defending the opposition's WR1 (DVOA). Davante Adams' price is $200 less than it was Week 4, even though he's been targeted 21 times and scored 3 touchdowns in the two games since. I'm not sure either qualify as high exposure plays, but they're absolutely in my player pool for GPPs.

Green Bay running backs are another story. Ty Montgomery returned to 30% of the snaps and 11 touches last week. His presence on the active roster blocks Aaron Jones' upside. Besides, Rodgers made things easy for Green Bay's running backs, not the other way around. If I were making 30 lineups, maybe Jones makes it into one due to the matchup.

Jason Wood: Hundley's preseason heroics mean nothing, and we caught a glimpse of his ineffectiveness this past week. Green Bay is going to struggle and Aaron Rodgers' injury is cause for worry across the Packers roster. I'm not playing anyone in Green Bay until their salaries adjust for the new reality. 

John Mamula:  I am taking a wait and see approach on Brett Hundley and the Packers offense. Hundley is a substantial downgrade regardless of the talent around him. As a fifth-round rookie, it will take him multiple weeks before the speed of the NFL game slows down for him. Vegas has the Saints as 6-point road favorites in Lambeau. That line should tell you how influential Aaron Rodgers is for the entire Packers offense. If Rodgers were healthy, you could expect the Packers to be at least a 4-6 point favorite in this matchup. 

Justin Howe: Indeed, all of Green Bay’s targets take noticeable hits as cash plays until we see what Hundley is at the moment. We don’t know his preferences, his real talent level, nor the Packers’ plans for a post-Rodgers offense. At least, as Phil mentioned, they all depressed greatly in price, so Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams stand as decent speculative GPP plays. They’re certainly not “I must have exposure” guys, but they fit fairly and sensibly into one’s portfolio. I followed Hundley’s play closely this preseason for our Training Camp Reports and saw a solid (if unspectacular) NFL arm and an intriguing makeup. I wouldn’t base any real evaluation on one play, of course, but he threw a touchdown to Jeff Janis that featured both a seasoned look-off to clear the safety and an impressive ball placement in the corner of the end zone. It was an indication that Hundley generally looked comfortable running the offense to that small degree – something we fail to see in many, many backups – so I’m not bracing for abject failure across the board. I think we can project the Packers to hover at or a little above league average for passing production, with weekly upside in their dynamic receivers.

A common narrative dictates that, when a backup quarterback steps in, prepare for turbulence and consider his checkdown targets. And Hundley gets to work with a strong receiving back in Ty Montgomery, which could boost both their values. Montgomery saw just 20 snaps in Week 6, but managed to draw a carry or target on 13 of them. Of course, if we’re following backup narratives, we’ll also pay attention to Aaron Jones. He looks installed as the team’s primary runner, and there’s a strong chance the Packers will lean away from the pass with Hundley in. It seems there’s a better chance, however, of the Packers being perpetually in negative or neutral game script and not having the luxury of sitting on the ball.
 
Chris Feery: There’s no way to sugarcoat the fact that the loss of Aaron Rodgers is a massive hit to the Packers offense. However, the unit is not going to completely fall off of a cliff either. Hundley has shown some flashes of promise in limited duty, and I’m actually comfortable considering him for GPP purposes. There could actually be a potential shootout brewing with the New Orleans Saints coming to town, and it’s not too hard to envision a scenario in which Hundley finds a decent amount of success. At his affordable salary, it doesn’t take all that much for him to crush value on the week. Pairing him up with Jordy Nelson makes for an affordable stack that could be quite fruitful. For a week in which there aren’t a ton of quarterback options jumping off of the page, Hundley at least deserves some consideration for GPPs. 

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