Spotlight: Donald Driver

posted by Mark Wimer on Jul 5th


Mark Wimer's thoughts

I absolutely expect Driver to be a solid WR2/outstanding WR3 during 2010 - he plays in such a powerful attack that he should match his usual level of production during the Rodgers era in Green Bay (70ish receptions, 1,000+ yards, 5-6 TDs). While it is true that he had offseason arthroscopic "clean-up" surgery on both of his knees, the good news is that the joints feel better than they have in years and Driver is pain-free heading into training camp. "I played like this for two, three years, with pain. I can jump now. I can squat." he said on June 12th. The Packers must be confident with Driver's prospects for 2010 - they paid him a $1 million roster bonus back in March of this year.

Another reason to be excited about Driver's prospects is that Aaron Rodgers is entering his third year as the Packers' starting QB. Rodgers is a well-established veteran now, captaining the most potent NFC offense (arguably - New Orleans is close to Green Bay) - the Packers passed the ball 541 times last year, so there are plenty of targets to spread among Driver, Greg Jennings, Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley, Donald Lee and James Jones. There is no reason to expect the Packers to back off their blistering pace in the passing attack during the coming year. There will be plenty of balls coming Driver's way (and if Rodgers continues to improve, they could be even more "catchable" than last year). A fantasy owner could do much worse than rostering a starting wide receiver who plays for the Rodgers-era Packers.

Positives

  • Driver is a wily veteran who is very simpatico with Rodgers
  • Driver's health is the best it has been for years
  • Driver has played 16 games in five of the last six years (missing one game during 2007)
  • Driver's work ethic and desire to excel are exemplary - he is one of the consummate pros in the game today

Negatives

  • Driver will be 35 when the season starts - he's already far beyond the age "wall" of 30 years old
  • Driver has a lot of talented team mates - if James Jones or Jordy Nelson outplays Driver emphatically, Driver could drift down the depth chart
  • Driver plays in Green Bay (they face the 49ers at Green Bay during week 13; play in Foxborough, Massachusetts during week 15; and face the Giants at Green Bay during week 16). There is a lot of potential for horrid winter weather between Foxborough and Green Bay in December, 2010. Driver and the other Packers could be limited by the probable weather conditions during fantasy playoffs.

Final thoughts

I'm on the high end of the Footballguys.com staff rankings range regarding Driver as of July 1st, 2010 - he's the 23rd fantasy wide receiver on my PPR wide receiver board, with the current range running from WR #19-WR #38 on that set of predictions. In my opinion, Driver is once again being undervalued by the fantasy community, who are more focused on his age than on his work ethic and competitive drive. Driver is one of the players who, like fine wine, continues to improve with age.


Quotations from the message board thread

To view the entire Player Spotlight thread (there's a ton of fantastic commentary in there), click here.

Iwannabeacowboybaby! said:

Donald Driver is still a staple in the Green Bay offense when the chips are on the line but Driver is slowing down and I expect a dip in his overall numbers after having surgery to his knees in the offseason. He's a good player to have on your football team, but fantasy wise I'm going to let to pass this year unless everyone else in the draft is thinking the same thing I am, that there are just too many young talented players fighting for the ball on GB for him to have solid fantasy numbers.

smackdaddies said:

Driver has been undervalued for several straight years in most ff leagues, and the trend will continue. I project DD has having good #2 WR numbers available as a #3 WR in most PPR drafts. All indications from OTA, local papers and appearances (softball tournies and the like) show DD to be in fine shape. and a lot of drive left. Still has the best hands on the team, the most concentration, best routes.

Footballguys Senior Writer Jason Wood said:

I have defended Donald Driver as a savvy "value" pick for what seems like each of the last five years. While I could certainly make the same exact case for him in 2010, I don't think I'm going to. I have him WR28 right now and his ADP is WR24, so it's about on par with what I expect of him this year. The Packers passing offense is so prolific now, and there are so many other weapons that can, and should, be a part of the equation, that I can no longer simply pencil in Driver for a boatload of targets that would justify taking him as your WR2. I'm certainly not smart enough to peer into a crystal ball and decide which year he (or any other player) falls off the proverbial cliff, but at 35 years old, coming off knee surgery, in an offense chock full of dynamic young weapons that could easily step in for him (and probably should as the franchise builds toward the future), I'm no longer going to actively target him in drafts. There are a number of other WRs going at what I deem ridiculously low ADPs that I would much rather round out my WR corps with for this season.





Donald Driver projections

RECRECYDRECTDRSHYDRSHTD
Mark Wimer751050600
Message board consensus60933500