Jordy Nelson is done as a top-tier fantasy wide receiver, folks. I'm not saying he's going to be bad, but his days as an elite, game-changing pass catcher are pretty much behind him.
And let's be real here, after Thursday night's one-catch, nine-yard week killer, it's hard not to be going full Jodie Foster; clutching at your cell phone, huddled in your panic room.
The problem for Nelson from a fantasy perspective is threefold: He's not an elite-level target hog, it's clear this year that the yardage won't be there for him, and the touchdown production could see massive slowdown in the weeks ahead.
Jordy had just four targets, nine yards and no scores on a day that Aaron Rodgers threw 56 damn passes for 303 yards and three touchdowns. We're six games in and the 31-year-old receiver coming off of an ACL tear is on pace for 125 targets, 72 receptions, 856 yards and 13 touchdowns.
You want to throw out Week 6 and call it an aberration, fine. Nelson was averaging a very healthy 9.4 targets per game coming in which would play out to 150 targets on the year. It's totally possible he gets to that number but remember even at his peak, Nelson saw 126 looks in 2013 and a career-high 151 in 2014.
Let's split the difference and say he'll see 140-ish targets. I have serious doubts he even gets to that level but that would put him somewhere in the top 15 of wide receivers if we're going off of last year's totals. Good, just not great in terms of opportunities.
So it's extremely unlikely that Jordy will see elite-level opportunities but in the past what made him so great was that even on limited targets, he was still racking up touchdowns and 80 to 90-yard days on the regular. Coming into this week, Nelson was averaging 62.4 yards per game with just one contest where he topped 100 yards. His per-game production was lower than such fantasy luminaries as Tyrell Williams (64.3), Cole Beasley (65.0) and Will Fuller IV (65.4). And keep in mind that was before his Thursday night nine-yard debacle. Nelson is now averaging just 53.5 yards per game.
The yardage will likely be a long-term problem as well. Green Bay simply isn't packing on the passing yards as we've seen in years past. The 303 passing yards by Rodgers Thursday was his first 300-plus yard outing in 14 straight games (including the playoffs). That's wild given the players and reputation of this offense, but moving the ball through the air has clearly been a struggle. There is zero indication that will change.
I've been saying this for weeks now but Nelson's fantasy production has been masked heavily by an inordinate number of early-season touchdowns. What we saw Thursday was terrifying for Nelson managers: Rodgers force-feeding balls to Davante Adams to the tune of 16 targets, 13 receptions (!!!), 132 yards and two scores. Adams' first touchdown in particular was beyond forced; it was a prayer ball that would have been knocked away or intercepted if the defender turned around at all on the play.
And it doesn't appear this will be a one-game blip for Nelson and Adams.
Drops were a massive problem for Adams last year and the issue reared its ugly head again the first couple weeks of this season with Adams securing a ghastly 43 percent of his targets to start. In the three games following, Adams then hauled in nine of his next 13 looks and that was before sapping up 13 of the 16 passes thrown his way Thursday.
Adams appears much more confident and, quite frankly, like the more explosive of the two receivers over the past few weeks.
Nelson, so far this season, has shown an inability to consistently get open on those intermediate and deep routes he and Rodgers were killing defenses on during the height of their powers. As respected wide-receiver prognosticator Matt Harmon noted last night, Jordy got almost zero separation from defenders Thursday:
Despite his season-long struggles, Rodgers has still sent 10 passes in Nelson's direction when the team was in the red zone, with Jordy securing an unbelievable 50 percent for touchdowns (per Pro Football Reference).
That percentage is beyond unsustainable. As a comparison Odell Beckham Jr., A.J. Green and Mike Evans have a combined 20 red-zone targets, having secured just four for touchdowns. Eric Decker, one of the elite red-zone threats in the NFL, caught 10 touchdowns on 28 red zone looks in 2015. I think moving forward it's fair to assume that not only will Jordy see less red-zone looks because Adams, Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery will eat into his share, but the percentage of those targets resulting in touchdowns will also come down, as well.
Look, it's entirely possible Nelson will round into form as the season wears on, completely breaks through and reclaims his spot as a top-five receiver. However, given his age, the injury and his surrounding cast, it'd be much more realistic to expect top-20ish wide receiver numbers from here on out.
More news and notes ...
NEWS: Conflicting reports surround the severity of LeSean McCoy's hamstring injury. ESPN's Josina Anderson originally had him out a few weeks but has since backed off. McCoy is officially listed as questionable going into Sunday's game versus the Bills. Shady is second in the league in terms of rushing yards and coming off a three-touchdown performance in Week 6.
- Fantasy spin: The reports Friday were a bit confusing as well because McCoy did practice in a limited capacity but some in attendance said Shady was moving pretty gingerly. The team posted video of McCoy at practice today, but quite frankly I don't know what to make of it. It's an ideal matchup versus the Dolphins but given the injury scare, it's hard to play LeSean with any confidence even if the team says he will be active.
- Bottom line: Wait for Sunday's inactive list to come out but plan on not starting Shady in your fantasy lineup even if the team tells us he plays. Mike Gillislee, if he starts, will be a strong play.
NEWS: Carlos Hyde has been ruled out of Sunday's game against the Bucs. Hyde was in an arm sling all week due to a shoulder injury he suffered in Week 6.
- Fantasy spin: Most will pick up Shaun Draughn because of his production last year but keep in mind, it's a new coaching staff and that being the case, it will likely be Mike Davis that's asked to shoulder the load. Davis out-snapped Draughn 24 to five when Hyde went down in Week 6, expect that split to continue. The relatively unknown back out of South Carolina is a talented pass catcher and had experience running out of a spread offense as a former Gamecock.
- Bottom line: The Tampa defense is the eighth-most generous defense to fantasy running backs and are allowing more than 28 points per game overall. Start Mike Davis with confidence.
- Fantasy spin: Riddle me this Batman, with Martin out and with Charles Sims on IR, who is expected to put in serious work against a pliable 49ers defense? "The Quizz" Jacquizz Rodgers, that's who. The former Oregon State Beaver will face a San Francisco defense that just got razed by Bills running backs to the tune of 228 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
- Bottom line: Rodgers is an extremely strong play and is a near lock for top-20 positional scoring with top-10 upside versus that Niners.
- Fantasy spin: Sigh ... Charles last week started to see his snaps ramp up and had 11 total touches. Fantasy managers were hoping for an expanded role this week in a delectable matchup versus a Saints defense that has been terrible forever this year and in particular to running backs, giving up a league-worst 28 points per game to the position this year.
- Bottom line: The team has been cautious with Charles the entire year and if that holds true again, don't be surprised if Charles doesn't play, meaning Spencer Ware could explode.
- Fantasy spin:DeAndre Washington and Jalen Richard were both terribly uninspiring, but given Murray's health, it's fair to assume all three will still get rotational work with Jamize Olawale getting sprinkled in as well. It'd be smart to avoid the Oakland backfield altogether from a fantasy perspective. The team doesn't run the ball often and the Jags are the 11th-stingiest versus fantasy running backs.
- Bottom line: Even if Murray is active, he possesses an extremely low floor and ceiling. Keep an eye on Sunday's injury report but play with extremely low expectations.
- Bottom line: If you held on and held on ... and held on, good for you. Fire up Eifert, cross your fingers and hope for that two-touchdown magic in his first game back.
- Fantasy spin: Washington (the team) has been the ninth-most generous to the running back position in fantasy this year, but considering Washington (the runner) was still a limited participant in practice all week, expectations should be low. Forget about the running backs though, remember with Riddick out, Golden Tate has been the beneficiary of increased targets. Expect that to continue Sunday.
- Bottom line: Play Dwayne if you're hurting from bye weeks and injuries but you're basically hoping he falls into the end zone.
Fantasy spin: If TPS is a no-go, Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com reports that Rishard "Hollywood" Higgins would be asked to fill the void. Higgins is a fifth-round rookie out of Colorado State and has decent, not great, measurables. Standing at 6-foot-1, Higgins ran a 4.60 second 40-yard dash at his pro day.
- Bottom line: Higgins is a complete wild card, but Hue Jackson is an amazing coach when it comes to getting the most out of his players. And unless TPS is out an extended time, Higgins isn't worth rostering in most formats at this time.
Other news and notes:Jordan Reed (concussion) has been ruled out for Sunday's game. It'll be his second consecutive game he's missed due to concussion.
John Brown (hamstring) missed practice time this week and is listed as doubtful, but the bigger issue is that doctors discovered he has the sickle-cell trait which could be contributing to his leg pain.
Corey Coleman could be close to returning. Mary Kay Cabot reports that Coleman will be getting an X-ray and if everything is okay, Coleman could return to practice and subsequently game action as well.
Ladarius Green said he's running at about 80 percent and that his ankle is progressing. Green told reporters he just waiting for team clearance to resume playing.