If you were unfamiliar with Jeff Janis and Ty Montgomery before Sunday, then you’re about to become very familiar with the Green Bay Packers wide receivers after Jordy Nelson suffered what appears to be a serious injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Nelson crumpled to the ground after making a catch in the first quarter (via the NFL):
Non-contact injuries are generally the scariest, and Packers fans’ worst fears were realized when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported Nelson may have a torn ACL.
In terms of a fantasy perspective, Montgomery and Janis have the most to gain should the Pro Bowl wideout miss a lot of time in the regular season. Randall Cobb is already a top-10 fantasy wideout, while Davante Adams looked poised for a big improvement in 2015 before Nelson’s injury.
Janis in particular may be shooting up draft boards in the eyes of NFL.com’s Chris Trapasso:
Neither player has done much at this level. Janis has two career receptions for 16 yards, while Montgomery was a third-round pick in the 2015 draft. In Green Bay’s first preseason game, Janis had two receptions for 31 yards and a touchdown, while Montgomery had two receptions and 28 yards.
It will be important to temper expectations for the two. Nerdy Football’s Ian Kenyon remains particularly hesitant to hop aboard the Janis hype train:
Aaron Rodgers may be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, but even he needs time to build a rapport with his wide receivers. Plus, Janis and Montgomery are both unproven in the NFL, and you’re not going to learn much about their combined talents in meaningless preseason games.
With that said, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy has talked up Janis for some time, per Ryan Wood of Press-Gazette Media:
“He’s got a big catching radius,” McCarthy said. “And he needs to utilize it.”
McCarthy expects Janis to “take a big step” through the offseason. The young receiver has all the physical tools. If Janis puts everything together, his potential could turn into something special.
“Obviously, I think we all saw his vertical speed,” McCarthy said. “He’s an extremely physical young man. He’s an Olympian in the weight room. He’s got a lot of raw skill, and I look for him to make that jump. He has to use that catching radius, and he has the type of body type you really like.”
Jarrett Boykin might be a good comparison for Montgomery and Janis in terms of their fantasy ceilings. When Cobb was limited to six games in 2013, Boykin had 49 catches for 681 yards and three touchdowns, good enough to make him the No. 50 fantasy WR on NFL.com.
Pro Football Focus’ Mike Clay offered projections for Janis and Montgomery, with the latter coming somewhat close to Boykin’s numbers:
Sure, Janis and/or Montgomery could have a breakout 2015 season. Based on what we know, though, it’s way too early to forecast either as anything more than a flex option. Rodgers will look to Adams and Cobb first and foremost, while tight end Richard Rodgers will see some targets inside the red zone as well.
If you’re prepared to take the risk, Janis could be worth a gamble in the later rounds of a standard draft, while Montgomery is strictly a waiver-wire option.
Both are worth tracking in daily fantasy leagues in case the right matchup comes along or they progress much quicker than expected.
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