Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Fantasy owners who spent a hefty portion of their budget on Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers likely have been looking for a "Discount Double Check" to locate hidden savings. But Sunday night's performance should eliminate some of the traffic on State Farm's phone lines.
The stats: 338 yards, six touchdowns, zero turnovers, millions of very happy fantasy owners.
Yes, Rodgers looked human in the first five weeks, compiling just 259.8 yards per game with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions compared to 344.2, 16 and two in the same span last season.
But Sunday night is a reminder of why you drafted this guy in the first round, and maybe even first overall this season. Because he has the ability to turn a loss into a win and an average fantasy day into a league-high scoring week.
Rodgers' thrashing of Houston doesn't quite put him on pace to duplicate last season's numbers, but he's pretty close. He's now on pace for 4,365 yards, 43 TD passes and 11 INTs.
Last season, Rodgers finished with 4,643 yards, 45 TD passes and 6 INTs in 15 games, so his per game averages were a bit higher than they appear, but Green Bay's 3-3 record makes it a near certainty that Rodgers will not be able to rest in Week 17. Those who play fantasy football for the full 16-game slate will appreciate that.
Rodgers' two best games this season have come when his offensive line has kept him upright. He was sacked 16 times in the first three games but went down zero times against the Saints in Week 4 and managed to throw for 319 and four scores (it could have been five if he didn't have to briefly leave the game after getting poked in the eye inside the 10-yard line).
Rodgers was sacked five times last week against the Colts but salvaged the day for fantasy owners with three passing strikes. And Houston only took Rodgers down twice Sunday night.
As a result, the Packers QB was able to average more than nine yards per attempt for the first time this season; he averaged 9.2 YPA for the entire season in 2011-12.
Rodgers finally got in rhythm with Jordy Nelson, getting him the ball nine times for 121 yards and three TDs, and he's been in sync with James Jones for the entire year especially in the red zone. Jones scored two touchdowns Sunday for the third straight game and leads the NFL with seven receiving scores.
The emergence of Jones has made the absence of No. 1 receiver Greg Jennings easier to overcome. It seems like Jennings' groin injury will spell the end of his tenure in Green Bay. The two-time Pro Bowler is in a contract season, but Jones has done a great Jennings impression this season and could easily fill that role next year opposite Jordy Nelson. With Randall Cobb in the slot, the Packers really don't need Jennings.
I don't think it was a coincidence Green Bay had its best offensive game of the season with Cedric Benson out of the lineup and Jermichael Finley limited by a shoulder injury.
Finley has proven time and time again how unreliable he is. Despite possessing the physical tools to dominate games, Finley has been plagued by drops and has never lived up to his potential. For the season, the tight end is averaging just four catches and 35 yards per game (8.8 yards per catch) and is only getting 2.9 yards after catch.
I've never believed Benson was a good fit for what the Packers do on offense -- he's a plodder and simply slows down the prolific Green Bay attack. Though Alex Green's long gain Sunday night was only 10 yards, he's a more elusive runner and more of a threat catching the ball out of the backfield than Benson.
Rodgers' next matchup is a tricky one to predict. The Rams have 17 sacks this year, tied for sixth most in the NFL, but nine came in Week 5 against the Arizona Cardinals, the only team in the NFL that has allowed more sacks than the Packers.
It's possible St. Louis' defensive line will give Green Bay's offensive line trouble in Week 7, but look for Rodgers to stay on his feet long enough to turn in another 250-plus yards and three passing scores. With Jacksonville on the horizon in Week 8 -- the Jaguars have three total sacks this season -- we could be in the midst of an epic five-week run by the Packers' offense.
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