2013 Outlook: In fantasy football, it's our job to be open-minded. When a talented guy in a valuable role doesn't exactly fit the mold, we watch film to decide whether the nontraditional player is legit. Randall Cobb is legit. In fact, with Greg Jennings in Minnesota, we believe Cobb will be Aaron Rodgers' favorite target in 2013. He played 84.4 percent of his snaps out of the slot last year and will start there this season, but he'll also run quite a bit out of the Green Bay backfield. Simply put, the Packers need the ball in Cobb's hands. His skills compare favorable to Percy Harvin's. As Jordy Nelson and James Jones share outside looks, the middle of the field should be Cobb's.
2013 Outlook: Lacy is 231 pounds of backfield menace, with an elusiveness in the hole that belies his size. He may not be a burner, and durability questions are fair, but the Packers have clearly grabbed themselves a potential goal-line star. Unfortunately, they also grabbed Johnathan Franklin in April's draft, which could lead to a frustrating platoon. Lacy is our favorite in '13 because inside an opponent's 5 last year, Green Bay threw it 15 times and gave it to an RB only eight times. With a power back like Lacy around, that's sure to change, and short TDs should ensue.
2013 Outlook: Coming into 2012, Jones had a well-earned reputation for terrible hands, but dropped only three passes on 64 grabs while catching an NFL-best 14 TDs. Part of that success can be explained by injuries: Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson missed significant time, but give Jones credit. He was a red zone monster, with 19 targets and 11 of his TDs coming from inside an opponent's 20-yard line. We're skeptical the TD total will recur; after all, Nelson had 15 TDs in '11 and followed that up with "only" seven last year. But Jones is still an important target in Green Bay's scintillating offense, especially considering Nelson needed a knee scope this summer. These two outside WRs could jockey for primacy all season.
2013 Outlook: Nelson injured a hamstring in Week 7 last year and was never healthy thereafter; he battled knee, ankle and foot problems through the rest of the season. He missed four games, and when he played was a shell of his normally explosive self. With Greg Jennings gone, Aaron Rodgers' top three WRs will be Nelson, Randall Cobb and James Jones; in 2012, Nelson was the least-valuable fantasy commodity of that group. But we remember his 1,263-yard, 15-TD campaign from '11 when Nelson had 16 plays of 25-plus yards. He has a chance to be the burner in Green Bay's offense, but needed a knee scope during training camp. There's definite injury risk involved when drafting him.
2013 Outlook: Finley never accumulated more than 72 yards receiving in a game last year, plus found the end zone only twice. In short, he was a massive fantasy disappointment. The beauty of playing with Aaron Rodgers is supposed to be a plethora of scoring opportunities, but a season after catching all eight of his TDs from inside an opponent's 12-yard line, he was a red zone afterthought. To call Finley mercurial is an insult to Lindsay Lohan; his contract drama seemingly never ends, and he spent some of 2012 criticizing Rodgers for not being a great leader. Jordy Nelson's summer knee scope could open the door for more consistent work for Finley, but we couldn't trust him to be a fantasy starter.
2013 Outlook: Kuhn looked like he might be in trouble when the Packers drafted Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin in April's draft, but he survived training camp and seems set to begin the year as Green Bay's third-down back and designated pass protector. Make no mistake, Lacy will play in all kinds of situations. But Kuhn will begin the year well ahead of Franklin and James Starks, and as such could continue his role as a frustrating TD vulture on occasion.
2013 Outlook: Franklin was one of our favorite RBs in April's draft, but had the misfortune of landing on the same NFL squad as Eddie Lacy. In college, Franklin was a powerful, low-to-the-ground runner who could accelerate quickly and punish tacklers, and evoked comparisons to Ray Rice. Unfortunately, he hasn't shown such skills this summer, and currently is reportedly buried on Green Bay's depth chart behind both Lacy and John Kuhn. Never rule out the possibility of a rookie "getting it" at some point, but for now, he's off the redraft radar screen.
2013 Outlook: Harris was working as a car salesman at the beginning of last season when he got a call asking if he'd like to join the Packers' practice squad. He did, and by Week 16 he was starting. A fireplug with tackle-breaking ability and some nice open-field jitterbug in him, Harris fits the mold of a third-down back. And that's almost certainly the best he can hope for in '13, after the Packers selected Eddie Lacy in April's draft. Harris will stay on the Green Bay roster and may stay ahead of Johnathan Franklin in the quest for third-down touches, but that's likely the extent of his value.