The Green Bay Packers and star wide receiver Jordy Nelson are reportedly working together to finalize a long-term deal. The 29-year old receiver has been an elite option in Green Bay’s passing game the past three years – all while playing under a moderate salary when you consider his talent and production.
Nelson even had to endure half of an Aaron Rodgers-less season in 2013, yet still found a way to finish the year with careers highs in receptions (85) and receiving yardage (1.314 yards), while even adding in eight touchdowns.
Still very much in his prime and only freshly 29 years old (his birthday was this past May), Nelson should be able to return value on his new contract with another 3-4 solid seasons of top level production.
With Nelson in the news, fantasy owners might start wondering just how much value he has in fantasy football this year.
The answer? A lot.
Nelson was an absolute redzone fiend in 2011, when he racked up an insane 15 touchdowns, as well as a gaudy 18.6 yards per catch off of just 68 catches. Many thought he was a flash in the pan, but despite missing four games due to injury the following season, he showed once again he was one of the better receivers in the league.
Last year was much of the same, even without his superstar quarterback slinging him darts.
With Nelson extremely unlikely to force his hand with the Packers (especially since both sides are mutually talking about a new deal already), there shouldn’t be any legit concerns over a holdout. That keeps Nelson on the practice field, healthy and in shape and on the same page in terms of chemistry with Rodgers and the rest of his teammates.
To put Nelson’s fantasy value in perspective, it only takes a quick look at his last three years in the wide receiver fantasy ranks. He finished third overall in 2011 thanks to his insane touchdown production, he was 30th in 2012 despite missing four games and he finished 11th in 2013 despite playing without Rodgers for half the year.
In fact, when Rodgers played a full game in 2013 (eight total games), Nelson racked up seven scores (on pace for 14), 49 receptions (on pace for 98) and 810 receiving yards (on pace for 1,620).
Obviously there’s no way in knowing that Nelson would have continued that torrid pace had Rodgers stayed healthy, but the picture is pretty clear: Rodgers loves throwing to Nelson and the two make one effective fantasy duo.
In other words, as long as Rodgers and Nelson are healthy, something around top-10 production is probably in order and much more isn’t out of the question.