Fantasy owners of the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb woke up for Week 8 of NFL action to devastating news. Early this morning ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Packers’ wide receiver was not expected to play today against the Atlanta Falcons due to a hamstring injury.
The Packers appear to be playing it safe with the wide receiver. There was no word all week about concerns of him missing time and instead it was widely expected that Cobb would play today.
This surprising deactivation of Cobb has to be a real punch to the gut of fantasy owners. The pass catcher was set to have another big game against the Falcons.
Cobb has seen a league-high 36 targets over the last three weeks as he appears to found his groove with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. And the heavy volume was likely to result in lots of success today.
The Packers are short at the running back position again this week so Aaron Rodgers will be sling the ball around a lot in this one. In a similar situation last week, the Packers’ signal-caller threw the ball 56 times. And with Atlanta allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to wide receivers out of the slot this season, Cobb would have probably seen quite a bit of those passes thrown his direction.
With Cobb watching this one from the sidelines, fantasy owners are left scrambling to replace the pass catcher. You will have to get up early this morning to pull this off but one excellent emergency replacement for Cobb is the Cincinnati Bengals’ Brandon Lafell.
The veteran wide receiver is experiencing a bounce-back season with the Bengals. He currently has scored the 28th most PPR fantasy points and the 23rd most in standard scoring leagues. But the success has mostly gone under the radar likely thanks to his teammate A.J. Green getting most of the attention. LaFell is available in 74 percent of ESPN fantasy leagues.
The success is no mistake. LaFell is heavily involved in the offense. He has run the most routes of any Bengals’ pass catcher this season and has really hit his stride recently. The pass catcher is third on the team in receptions with 27 catches and second in receiving yards with 372. The wide receiver also has been on the receiving end of a touchdown pass four times in his last three games.
With the Washington Redskins’ Josh Norman likely to shadow A.J. Green today, LaFell is poised to keep up his nice season in this early morning matchup. Washington has allowed the 10th-most receiving yards to wide receivers in 2016.
And more importantly, the Redskins’ defense has really struggled with covering the No. 2 wide receiver this season. According to Football Outsiders, the Redskins have a 30th-ranked DVOA against the No. 2. Just last week they allowed six catches for 93 yards on 12 targets to Golden Tate.
While it won’t be easy replacing the Green Bay Packers’ Randall Cobb, Brandon LaFell is in an excellent position to lessen the blow of Cobb’s unexpected absence from this game.