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  • Without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers' hopes of winning the NFC North—and the NFC conference—look bleak.
By Michael Beller
October 15, 2017

Aaron Rodgers was carted to the locker room in the first quarter Sunday after taking a hit from Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr and landing hard on his right shoulder. The greatest fear for any quarterback on that type of hit is a broken collarbone, especially for Rodgers who has already broken his collarbone—his left (nonthrowing) collarbone—once in his career.

Well, those greatest fears are coming true.

The Packers announced that Rodgers has, in fact, suffered a broken right (throwing) collarbone, and there’s a chance he could miss the rest of the season. It’s time for the Packers, and Rodgers’s fantasy owners, to prepare for the worst-case scenario.

The Packers entered Week 6 at 4–1, in first place in the NFC North. Not only were they the clear favorite in the division, but with Rodgers at the height of his game, they were also the class of the NFC. That is no longer the case. The division is wide open, with Minnesota in the best position to unseat Green Bay. And without Rodgers, the Packers aren’t the NFC favorites any longer—that status may belong to the ascendant Eagles, who sit atop the NFC East at 5–1 after beating the Panthers on Thursday night.

Brett Hundley will take over as the starter in Green Bay. Hundley is in his third season with the team, but he didn’t take the first meaningful snaps of his career until Sunday when Rodgers left the game. Hundley has great mobility, and enjoys the same great weapons that Rodgers helped turned into stars, but Mike McCarthy will have his hands full tailoring the Packers’ offense to his new starter’s strengths.

The first time Rodgers broke his collarbone, in 2013, he missed seven games before returning in the final week of the season. A similar timetable this time around would have him out until Week 14, the first week of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues. He’ll still be too valuable for most fantasy owners to drop, even if he did break his collarbone, but owners of you in shallow leagues can feel free to make the move. Rodgers can’t help you in the playoffs if you don’t make the playoffs, so if you need the roster spot you can make what will be the most painful drop of your season.

The changes in fantasy value don’t stop with Rodgers—Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams, Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones should be downgraded in all fantasy formats. Nelson would no longer be a guaranteed WR1, while Adams would fall into low-end WR2 range for the rest of the season. Both would still be comfortable starters for their fantasy owners, but the floor and ceiling they enjoyed with Rodgers is gone.

The run game, too, would take a hit. Don’t even briefly entertain the idea of Montgomery or Jones riding additional volume to more fantasy production. No one in an offense captained by Rodgers benefits from Rodgers being on the sidelines. Any additional volume that might result from Rodgers’s injury would be offset by the reduction in efficiency and explosiveness in the offense as a whole.

Hundley would have some value in superflex and two-quarterback leagues, but that’s only because every starting quarterback is owned in such formats. If you’re a Rodgers owner in a one-quarterback league, some possible replacements owned in fewer than 60% of Yahoo leagues include, in order of rest-of-season value, Andy Dalton, Jared Goff, Trevor Siemian and Tyrod Taylor.

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