All-world quarterback Aaron Rodgers was carted to the locker room with a knee injury during Sunday night’s season opener … before ultimately returning to overcome a 20-0 deficit and earn a thrilling 24-23 victory over the Chicago Bears.
Rodgers was clearly limited during the Green Bay Packers’ comeback win, but managed to finish with 286 passing yards and three touchdowns anyway.
The Packers haven’t offered much of an update regarding his status, although the two-time NFL MVP said in his postgame interview that he expected to suit up in Week 2 against the Vikings.
We also know this shouldn’t hurt his fantasy football investors much. Here are three reasons why.
Rodgers seems to be hurt, not injured
Rodgers wouldn’t have been allowed to return to the field on Sunday night if he had suffered a potentially season-ending knee injury. Still, head coach Mike McCarthy didn’t provide much information on the quarterback’s injury while speaking to the media Monday.
It wouldn’t behoove the Packers to rush their $134 million franchise quarterback back to the field before he’s ready, and McCarthy confirmed no decision has been made regarding whether Rodgers would start this week despite his quarterback’s aforementioned assertion that he would.
Rodgers’ availability for the immediate future is certainly in question, but he doesn’t seem to be at risk of missing extended time.
Fantasy investors shouldn’t panic: Rodgers has historically been plenty elite while playing through lower-body injuries.
Rodgers performed just fine while hobbled in 2016
Rodgers’ unique ability to extend plays with his feet has been jeopardized on several occasions throughout his career, including most recently in 2016 when he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to play the team’s final eight games (including playoffs) severely limited.
He wasn’t the same player while operating on effectively one leg, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at the box score.
Rodgers before 2016 injury (11 games):
- Fantasy: 25.6 DraftKings points per game, +2.7 Plus/Minus, 63.6% Consistency Rating
- Passing: 64.4% completion rate, 6.85 yards per attempt, 279.5 pass yards, 2.45 pass TDs
- Rushing: 4.2 rush attempts, 25.9 rush yards, 0.27 rush TDs
Rodgers after 2016 injury (8 games):
- Fantasy: 26.8 DraftKings points per game, 4.7 Plus/Minus, 75% Consistency Rating
- Passing: 66.4% completion rate, 8.16 yards per attempt, 294.8 pass yards, 2.75 pass TDs
- Rushing: 3.6 rush attempts, 18.3 rush yards, 0.13 rush TDs
Note: Fantasy data provided by the FantasyLabs NFL Trends tool.
Rodgers didn’t offer the same ability as a rusher after suffering his hamstring injury, but he more than made up for the limitation with some of his most-efficient passing to date.
Watching Rodgers make impossible throws on the run after extending the play remains one of football’s greatest gifts, although fantasy owners should’t sweat a potentially-hobbled version of Rodgers during the early parts of the season.
Green Bay’s upcoming schedule isn’t the end of the world
Three of the Packers’ next five games will take place at Lambeau Field before they reach their Week 7 bye.
Here’s where each of their upcoming opponents’ defenses ranked in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks in 2017.
- Week 2 vs. Vikings: 3rd
- Week 3 at Redskins: 13th
- Week 4 vs. Bills: 6th
- Week 5 at Lions: 14th
- Week 6 vs. 49ers: 30th
It remains to be seen whether Rodgers’ knee injury will continue to be an issue over the second half of the season, but it would be tough to justify sitting the league’s most-talented quarterback on your fantasy bench.
The schedule isn’t exactly a cakewalk, but the Bills’ and Lions’ respective season-opening performances could lead to a fairly smooth three-game stretch once the Packers get past with the Vikings and Redskins.
Rodgers has continuously turned the impossible into possible throughout his career. His demonstrated ability to thrive while limited indicates his latest setback won’t influence his status as one of the league’s top real-life and fantasy quarterbacks.