Monday Night Football: San Francisco 49ers (1-4) at Green Bay Packers (2-2-1)
What to Watch For:
Is this the week that Aaron Rodgers finally gets right? Along with the rest of this Packers offense. They have the perfect opportunity; the high hopes of the 49ers’ offseason went to the wayside with the loss of QB Jimmy Garoppolo. Maybe this is the week that Aaron Rodgers can “relax” to put things in own terms.
The scenario is perfect for Green Bay; take care of business on Monday Night Football while not forcing Aaron Rodgers to really tax himself against a poor SF defense, then head into the bye week and let some of their key cogs get healthier (Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, Geronimo Allison).
San Francisco, on the other hand, knows that if there’s any slimmest of hopes that they can pull off a remarkable run at a wild card spot, they have to win tonight. This is not the Green Bay team that is an offensive powerhouse like we’ve seen in recent years; and Clay Matthews can barely breathe on a QB without getting a roughing the passer call so he may be slightly hesitant to fly around like he normally does. There is opportunity for SF to take advantage, but with C.J. Beathard running the show, hard to imagine they pull off the upset.
Prediction: Packers win 27-16.
RB Aaron Jones
I think this is the week we finally see the Aaron Jones breakout game we’ve been waiting for. It’s the perfect opportunity to let Aaron Rodgers get the Packers out ahead and let Jones coast them to victory. There should be a heavy dosage of runs against a SF defense that ranks 24th in the NFL allowing 20.7 fantasy points to opposing running backs. The Aaron Jones train needs a perfect storm to run, well, here it is.
WR Marquise Goodwin
Welcome back, Mr. Goodwin. The 49ers offense desperately needs him, and he should give C.J. Beathard a boost and a new target that can help stretch the field; something they’ve severely lacked. In a game where I believe the main objective for Green Bay will be to limit George Kittle, the door should be wide open for Goodwin. Look for SF to prove his health by targeting him early and often.
TE George Kittle
As mentioned above, I believe limiting Kittle will be GB’s primary objective on defense. With the return of Goodwin on the outside, also, Kittle’s target share will likely also take a minor hit. This choice also has a lot to do with the fact that I simply don’t trust C.J. Beathard to make sound decisions under pressure. Green Bay has been excellent at pressuring the QB this season with a sack on 9.0% of quarterback dropbacks, ranking them 3rd in the NFL; and C.J. Beathard has a 38.4 QB rating this season when under pressure, ranking him 7th worst among qualified quarterbacks.
WR Randall Cobb
This seems like the easy choice with Cobb being a game-time decision for tonight’s game. I’m making this selection with the assumption that Cobb will be declared active tonight. If so, I still believe he will be on a pitch count, and similar to some other Packers’ players, is in more need of rest than serious playing time at the moment. This is a game that Green Bay should be able to take care of handily, and there’s no reason to risk re-injury to Cobb when he’s someone they will definitely need after the bye week to continue their push for the NFC North. If you’re in need of a Cobb replacement since all your bench players have probably already played their game this week: Marquise Goodwin is available in 56.2% of ESPN leagues, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling is available in 95.9% of ESPN leagues.