Every year in the middle of April, there are over 225 plus players selected in the NFL draft. Each organization makes calculated selections round by round as they try to fill roster needs. This past draft the Green Bay Packers were looking to fill a void at the wide receiver position after letting Jordy Nelson walk in free agency. The Packers were reluctant enough to draft three wide receivers after selecting J’Mon Moore from Missouri in the fourth round, speedster Marquez Valdes-Scantling from South Florida in the fifth round, and then stopped the slide of Notre Dame’s Equinameous St. Brown in the 6th round.
Throughout the preseason, Moore was given first crack to replace Nelson in three-wide sets but battled drops throughout camp and in the first couple of preseason games. Valdes-Scantling had a solid preseason and entered the season as the Packers number four wideout. St. Brown had a solid preseason as well and was slotted in as the fifth wideout on the depth chart. Going into the regular season, Davante Adams and Geronimo Allison, who won the job to replace Nelson, were penciled in as the two outside receivers while Randall Cobb manned the slot position. With Cobb’s injury history (seven missed games since the 2016 season) the two rookies in St. Brown and Valdes-Scantling have a high chance of seeing the field for meaningful snaps this season.
One integral part of the Packer offense is gaining the trust of future Hall of Fame quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has repeatedly praised Adams and Cobb throughout their careers for their hard work and football IQ, while last year praised Allison for “always being in the right spot.” Early this preseason, Rodgers criticized the young wide receivers for lack of effort while running the scout team. The trio of rookies seemed to have responded well to the criticism since then.
After injuries to Cobb in Week 4 and Allison forced to miss two games with a hamstring injury, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown were thrust into the spotlight. Valdes-Scantling garnered his first career start against Buffalo and since has caught 12 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown over a three week span. Valdes-Scantling has made the most of his opportunities as a starter, but is still learning and hearing from Rodgers on what Rodgers expects of him on a weekly basis.
The big story for the Packers is the emergence of St. Brown, who stands at 6’5, replacing Cobb in the slot position over the past two weeks. St. Brown caught three passes against the Lions for 89 yards including a beautiful 54 yard catch and run to set up the Packers for a field goal in the waning moments of the game. Although he was only targeted once in the comeback win against the 49ers, his catch on Rodgers’ favorite throw (back shoulder fade) with only 15 seconds left in the game helped set up the game-winning field goal from Mason Crosby. Rodgers praised St. Brown after the game, “EQ got his head around perfectly; something we’ve been working on in practice.” The fact that St. Brown was targeted in a critical moment of the game shows football fanatics that he is starting to earn the trust of Rodgers.
With Allison and Cobb slated to return after the bye week; by default, Valdes-Scantling and St. Brown will return to fourth and fifth wideout duties. Valdes-Scantling is an obvious hold in redraft formats and dynasty formats as well. St. Brown, on the other hand, is in an interesting spot when it comes to fantasy football. Serving as the fifth wideout, it's very rare a player in that position makes a big-time impact from a fantasy football perspective in redraft leagues.
However, with Rodgers at the helm for the next five seasons, he is definitely worth a hold in dynasty formats just on the production in the two games he started in for the injured Cobb. Should Cobb fall to injury again this year, St. Brown definitely would draw interest as a potential waiver wire target in redraft formats.
Keep in mind, Cobb, 29, is in a contract year and will look to cash in one more time before hanging up the cleats. The Packers just signed Rodgers to a historic deal this past offseason; with Cobb due $12.3 million against the salary cap next season, the Packers could decide to move on from him and that would thrust St. Brown as the starting slot receiver.
Dynasty owners should buy low on St. Brown now and hope he emerges in the next year or two. This is definitely a situation to monitor in Green Bay as the season rolls along.