2014 Outlook: The NFL's offensive rookie of the year in 2013 was this 230-pound ball of thunder with soft receiving hands who carried the Packers while Aaron Rodgers was out with a broken clavicle. Lacy's running style is reminiscent of Larry Johnson's, and you'll recall that LJ had a dominant fantasy stretch in the mid-2000s. In truth, Lacy has a combination of talent and every-down opportunity that could make him the No. 1 player in fantasy by season's end. The reason we don't quite rank him there? He's done it for only one season.
2014 Outlook: Let's face it, fantasy football is a "What have you done for me lately?" business, so Rodgers' 162 fantasy points in 2013 may cause some owners to devalue him. Don't be one of those owners. Rodgers pairs elite accuracy with superb rushing skill (18 ground scores since 2008, most among QBs not named Cam Newton) and an unparalleled ability to create plays on the move. In fact, even in his injury-plagued 2013 season, Rodgers scored 18 fantasy points per game, fourth among all QBs. Second-year stud RB Eddie Lacy is sometimes mentioned as a negative for Rodgers' fantasy value, but his emergence should make it impossible for defenses to solely concentrate on stopping Rodgers, whose upside could be even higher in 2014.
2014 Outlook: To understand why Nelson is such a boom/bust wideout, consider the discrepancy between his short and vertical fantasy productivity. Nelson ranked fourth among WRs in fantasy points on vertical throws (118) and tied for 31st on short ones (47). That's why he saw his production fall off a cliff when Aaron Rodgers went down with a collarbone injury. Nelson scored 14.1 fantasy points per game with Rodgers as a starter and only 6.6 per game the other weeks. As long as Rodgers is healthy and throwing bombs with his usual precision, Nelson has a shot at being a top-five WR.
2014 Outlook: Last season was supposed to be Cobb's coming-out party -- and it was for a few weeks. Cobb was solidifying his role as Aaron Rodgers' go-to slot guy and put up three double-digit fantasy outputs in his first four games. But then he broke his leg in Week 6 and disappeared to IR until Week 17. So now we're left to guess how to properly rate Cobb going into his fourth NFL season. On one hand, his 11.8 points per start ranked ninth among receivers last season. On the other hand, he's played only 38 percent of the Packers' offensive snaps since coming into the league. You have to figure that'll increase ' if he can stay on the field.
2014 Outlook: Starks is a less agile, less explosive version of Eddie Lacy, so it makes sense that the Packers re-signed him this winter to back up their second-year star. More than anything, this transaction signals Green Bay's lack of faith in Johnathan Franklin, despite his potential as a nice change-of-pace receiving back. So if you make a first-round investment in Lacy, the handcuff you want is Starks, a more consistent player who's lost only one fumble in four seasons.
2014 Outlook: Boykin finished third on the Packers last season in targets (77), receptions (49) and yards (681), so it makes sense that he will begin the year in his new role as ' the No. 3 receiver. After getting nearly blanked in the first five games of 2013, Boykin flashed a little top-30 fantasy potential, finishing 32nd among receivers with 7.6 fantasy points per game from Weeks 7 to 17. The most amazing part of that run? It overlapped with Aaron Rodgers' injury, so nearly three-fourths of Boykin's 72 targets came from backup QBs.
2014 Outlook: You no doubt heard all the fantasy grumbling about how Aaron Rodgers' injury (nearly eight missed games) hurt the fantasy production of Jordy Nelson, James Jones and Randall Cobb. But it may have hit Crosby the hardest. In the eight games in which Rodgers played the entire four quarters, Crosby scored 90 points. In the other eight contests, he tallied only 63 points. Crosby's extra points plummeted from an average of 59 makes in 2011 and 2012 down to 42 a year ago. If Rodgers returns to form for the entire season, Crosby could make a run at No. 1.
2014 Outlook: It was Week 3. Eddie Lacy was out with a concussion, and James Starks suffered a knee injury before halftime. Suddenly, the Packers' lead RB was Franklin, a fourth-round rookie. And Franklin was awesome! His first series, he touched it on five of eight plays and crunched in a two-yard TD. His very next carry, he broke a 51-yarder around the left edge. It was going so well! And then in the game's biggest moment, he fumbled, the Bengals returned it for a TD and Franklin got eight carries the rest of the year. What a buzzkill! He'll be third on the depth chart again this year, behind Lacy and Starks.
2014 Outlook: It's difficult to evaluate Finley's 2014 prospects because he hadn't been cleared for contact as of this writing and had failed his only known NFL physical. Finley suffered a scary bruised spinal cord injury in Week 7 last season and underwent spinal fusion surgery in his neck. When at full health, he's talented enough to be an NFL starter. But will there be a full-time job available by the time he's ready to sign? It goes without saying that fantasy evaluations aren't anywhere near as important as Finley's long-term health, but you should probably avoid him until it's established that he can resume his career.
2014 Outlook: Now that Jermichael Finley is gone, one of Green Bay's tight ends could pop this season. We're just not sure which one. Quarless is a natural candidate; despite his having just 56 career catches, the Packers paid him decent money this winter. Brandon Bostick and rookie Richard Rodgers could also be in the mix, but between them they have only seven pro grabs. Quarless is an interesting flier pick -- if only because he has the most experience catching passes from Aaron Rodgers -- but he's best cast as a waiver-wire addition.
2014 Outlook: Call us cynics, but if the Packers are banking on a 34-year-old Julius Peppers, we're not drafting this D/ST. Don't be fooled by his seven sacks in 2013: Peppers fell off a cliff in Chicago last year. He didn't consistently pressure QBs, he didn't stop the run, and let's face it, he's never played in a 3-4 defense. Keeping Clay Matthews healthy is a must, but otherwise it's a familiar look in Green Bay: B.J. Raji, A.J. Hawk, Sam Shields. ' Aren't these the same big names who've run hot and cold for a couple of years now? We'll pass.