The Green Bay Packers will turn to second-year quarterback Jordan Love on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Should you follow suit with your fantasy football team?
Aaron Rodgers won’t play in Week 9 after testing positive for COVID-19, per multiple reports. NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero was the first to report the news Wednesday, sending shockwaves across the league and adding yet another sizable pothole to the fantasy landscape just days after some owners learned they’d be without Tennessee Titans superstar running back Derrick Henry (foot) for the foreseeable future.
Rodgers’ absence will thrust Love into action — Packers practice squad QB Kurt Benkert tested positive, as well — and the 23-year-old immediately deserves some fantasy consideration for three reasons: the matchup, bye weeks and injuries.
The Chiefs’ defense ranks 30th in pass DVOA, per Football Outsiders, with only the Washington Football Team and Jacksonville Jaguars posting worse marks. The unit ranks 31st in total DOVA, ahead of only the one-win Jags.
Kansas City’s defense also ranks 29th in dropback EPA, 28th in dropback success rate and 26th in explosive pass rate against. Only the Detroit Lions (9.3), Jaguars (8.9) and Houston Texans (8.6) have allowed more yards per pass attempt than the Chiefs (8.4). And only Washington has allowed more fantasy points per game to opposing QBs than Kansas City.
So, yeah, the Chiefs’ defense is bad, especially against the pass. Thus, there’s obvious upside to starting Love, even though the 2020 first-round pick has attempted just seven garbage-time passes in his NFL career.
Now, it’s hard to imagine too many owners being affected by byes at the quarterback position in Week 9, with Washington, Detroit, the Seattle Seahawks and Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the teams off. But Tom Brady owners obviously need a replacement. As do those still reeling from Russell Wilson’s injury.
Plus, there’s still some level of injury uncertainty surrounding Dak Prescott, Kyler Murray and Sam Darnold ahead of the Week 9 slate. And the New Orleans Saints will be changing starting quarterbacks in wake of the season-ending injury Jameis Winston suffered in Week 8.
Really, it comes down to your level of desperation. Love probably falls among the top 15-20 QB options in Week 9, all factors considered, with the potential to exceed those projections based on Kansas City’s defensive shortcomings. Being able to throw to Davante Adams — arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL — certainly boosts Love’s short-term stock, too.
It’s possible, if not likely, Matt LaFleur leans heavily on Green Bay’s rushing attack — spearheaded by Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon — and simplifies the game plan for Love in the young quarterback’s first career NFL start. But you could do worse than chuck up a Hail Mary with Rodgers’ potential long-term successor in Week 9. It’s all about your particular QB situation.
Obviously, take a wait-and-see approach with Week 10, when the Packers are scheduled to host the Seahawks, with or without Rodgers.