I just deleted Brett Favre's name from our Fantasy Depth Chart, as well as from our Positional Rankings and Top 200. Strange stuff. I've been ranking him since I started doing Fantasy Football years and years ago. Weird feeling.
It's really hard for me to believe that Favre has retired. Didn't think it would happen now. I spent a lot of time this offseason studying the Packers (partially because of the story I'm doing on Ryan Grant and other undrafted RBs), and I thought Favre would be a shoo-in for one final run to glory. The Packers had the cap space and personnel to be in great shape for 2008, then regress in 2009. Would have made for a perfect exit then.
How highly did I think of the Packers in 2008? In my early, early, early Super Bowl XLIII prediction (which always makes for great office humor), I picked the Packers to win it all.
Now, no chance.
Favre's retirement is bad news on a lot of fronts. Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, James Jones and Donald Lee all take a dip in our rankings. That's not to say that Aaron Rodgers is going to be a bad quarterback, but it doesn't take a Fantasy guy to tell you that he won't be as effective as Favre. Jennings is now a top-end No. 2 WR, Driver a No. 4 WR, Lee a top-end No. 2 TE and Jones is ... well, he's still a reserve.
Favre's retirement also takes a quality quarterback out of the Fantasy player pool, and that's an issue because QBs are the "hot" position this year after Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Derek Anderson, and Favre of course, led many owners to Fantasy championships. Not only is the Top 12 a little thinner, but a big-stat quarterback is off the board. Now the idea of passing on a QB in the first few rounds is a little tougher to swallow. Jay Cutler moves into the top 12 thanks to Favre getting bumped out. Aaron Rodgers debuts at 15th overall, ahead of Vince Young and Jon Kitna.
Let's talk about Rodgers and what he brings to the table. Of course he's no Favre, but we'd be naive to think that he's going to be "just another quarterback."
When Rodgers was coming out, I had him higher than Alex Smith in my notes. I liked his arm, football mind and intangibles. I thought he was tougher mentally than Smith. I liked his personality better than Smith's (I got to know both guys a little bit through the work I did on NFL.com). I think he's going to be better than most people think.
And what will help Rodgers along is the Packers offense around him. The receivers are excellent, the offensive line has developed and the running game has plenty of talent. He doesn't have to learn a new offense or get to know a fresh batch of players. All he has to do is go on the field, get in the huddle and play ball. Any NFL quarterback can do that.
Because of the talent around him, his numbers won't be bad. Will he get 300 yards and three touchdowns per week? Not unless he plays the Lions 16 times a year (ba-dum-bum). But he won't be a walking car crash in a green jersey, either.