NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport reports Nelson is awaiting an MRI but that the initial diagnosis is a torn ACL. Should that degree of severity, or something similar, be the case, his absence will change the entire complexion of Green Bay’s high-octane passing attack.
Albert Breer of NFL Network alluded to how key it was for the Packers to re-sign Cobb in free agency:
Second-year wideout Davante Adams’ stock is now skyrocketing, though. He figures to be the one to step in for Nelson and be the bigger-bodied pass-catcher on the outside for superstar quarterback Aaron Rodgers to target.
Yahoo Sports fantasy guru Brad Evans believes Cobb’s presence will allow Adams to thrive:
Although Adams figures to eat up the targets Nelson would have gotten, Pro Football Focus’ Mike Clay sees him as a WR2 at this point:
And that’s realistic enough to expect. He took a while to catch on as a rookie last season, but he did flash well in 100-yard performances against New England in the regular season and Dallas in the playoffs.
The Packers selected Adams as their offseason MVP, suggesting he was already going to make big strides in his second year as a pro. He hinted that he’s more comfortable in the team’s system entering the 2015 campaign.
“With the offense and everything, and just where I fit in, just knowing what to expect,” Adams said, per the Associated Press’ Genaro C. Armas. “Coming into your rookie year, you don’t know what to expect. In terms of that it’s slowed down a lot on me.”
Compared to the historic 2014 receiver draft class headlined by Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins, Adams was behind the curve in logging 38 receptions this last year on 66 targets. Even with Nelson in the lineup, a fair amount of balls came his way.
His red-zone chances will multiply with Nelson out as well.
Nelson has scored 43 touchdowns over the past four seasons and was targeted a whopping 151 times in 2014. With an elite QB in Rodgers under center, Green Bay will continue airing it out at a rapid rate, virtually guaranteeing Adams to reach triple digits in targets.
Nerdy Football’s Matt Miller believes in his potential to emerge as a breakout stud in 2015:
The circumstances should be enough to merit choosing Adams as early as the fourth round of fantasy football drafts. Cobb will be Rodgers’ go-to guy as the more proven commodity, but Adams figures to see ample work.
To ensure the Packers hardly miss a beat sans a magnificent player like Nelson, it’s imperative for Adams to raise his game. He’s had a year to learn behind the likes of Nelson on the depth chart. Now is the time to put experience into action—and it ought to please numerous fantasy owners if he lives up to the hype off a strong offseason.
The convergence of talent, work ethic, comfort in the offense and increased opportunities seems to tip Adams as a WR2 with WR1 upside.
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