Oh, sweet. Another wide receiver injury, except this one matters.
It matters a lot, and Greg Jennings owners would almost prefer if their No. 1 wideout snapped a bone of some kind. Just not a big bone. No, it would specifically have to be a small bone, one that would only keep him out for a few weeks, giving him time to heal and return at full health.
I don’t know what that bone would be, or where exactly it’s located. But Jennings is slowly proving that a muscle injury that lingers and nags is far more troublesome than the bone that breaks, heals, and allows the player in question to continue on merrily with his high-level existence.
Jennings has a groin injury that he aggravated during Green Bay’s win yesteday over New Orleans, one that kept him out for the second half, and it’s the same injury that forced him to miss the Packers’ Week 2 win over Chicago. Today during his press conference Packers head coach Mike McCarthy said that Jennings has returned to his fragile Week 2 state, saying that his pre-existing groin injury “flared up” during the game, and now there’s a strong possibility that he’ll sit out Green Bay’s Week 5 game on the road against Indianapolis
For reality purposes, Jennings needs to be worried, because soon-to-be free agent football players at any position who have missed 4.5 of their last seven games aren’t appealing products on the open market. That especially applies to a player who’s 29 years old at a position that can sometimes see an abrupt drop off after 30 (see: Johnson, Andre).
For our fantasy purposes, there’s concern for a similar reason, but it’s heightened due to the short-term returns that were expected when you invested a third-round pick in a player who was supposed to be the top option in an elite offense led by a quarterback who passed for more than 5,000 yards last year. Now instead you own a wideout who’s battling a nagging injury which zaps his burst, and his ability to cut and play the physical style that’s made him successful.
Prepare for Jennings to be out for at least one more week, and possibly two. Hopefully you were able to grab James Jones — who had five catches for 56 yards and two touchdowns yesterday — two weeks ago when Jennings first went down, or Randall Cobb. As we’ve discussed, Jones will likely become the No. 2 receiver in Jennings’ absence and play opposite Jordy Nelson, although his very marginal edge in value over Cobb only exists due to his greater home run threat ability as the second WR in a pass-oriented Green Bay offense. Cobb is nearly equal as a potential injury fill-in because while his rushing attempts have been inconsistent, the Packers are creative with his usage, and he has the potential to give you rushing yards in addition to his receiving totals.
Cobb only has two rushing attempts over four games, but he often lines up in the backfield, and on those two attempts he has 48 yards. Then there’s also his versatility as a kick returner.
There isn’t a vast difference in targets either, with Jones receiving six yesterday, while Cobb had eight and finished with seven catches for 66 yards. They’re both reasonably available, as Jones is owned in only 31 percent of Yahoo leagues and 21.6 percent of ESPN leagues, and Cobb is rostered in 29.9 percent on ESPN, but that spikes to 61 percent in Yahoo leagues.