Aug 10, 2013
He has obviously been very frustrating for fantasy over the last 3-4 years, and it will surprise no one if that continues to be the case in 2013. However, the planets have aligned for Jermichael Finley this year and we absolutely have to take notice.
Obviously, the state of their receiving corps is something to focus on here. With Greg Jennings gone and Jordy Nelson’s ability to stay on the field in serious question – heck even Randall Cobb has been shaky this summer – there’s clearly a need for the team to revisit how they were “all-in” on Finley a few years ago, especially in 2009. Finley has been inconsistent the last two seasons, and drops have been a problem, but it’s not like his hands are bad. In fact, if you combined his 2009-2010 season, Finley caught 76 balls with a 79% catch rate. For comparison sake, if you took all WRs in 2012 with 100+ targets, Finley’s 79% catch rate would have been the best in the NFL. So he can clearly catch the rock well when he’s at his best, and the perception that he has bad hands is not exactly true.
Of course, he hasn’t been at his best and that is clearly a question. He’s a bit of a diva, which is disconcerting. But my theory on Finley is that he was at his best when the team was “all-in” on him, and when that changed his game started to drop off. Again, that’s disconcerting, but it’s interesting because the Packers are a good bet to revisit being “all-in” on him – or at least make more of a concerted effort to get him the ball. I actually talked about Finley with Jennings last year, and he agreed with the premise of our theory that they were “all-in” on him back in 2009 and moved on a little after another injury that year and simply focused more on getting the ball to the open guy, who more often than not was Jennings himself. The TE position this year has been depleted, given the Patriot situations and the injury to Dennis Pitta, and Finley clearly stands out as a possible solution to the shortage of impact player dilemma. There’s no denying his raw talent, which is arguably top-5 in the National Football League, and there’s reason for optimism, not only because of everything outlined above, but also because of how his summer has gone thus far. According to QB Aaron Rodgers, Finley’s in phenomenal shape and has looked better than he has in a number of years. Rodgers also praised Finley’s improved route running. “He’s been running his routes really well,” Rodgers said. “Something clicked last year midseason… and it’s carried over this spring. He’s got himself in unbelievable shape, and he’s come in and been dominating out there. I’m really proud of him and the steps he’s made.” Even our Greg Cosell agrees with the notion that Finley will become a “really important cog” in the offense and that he will be targeted often. And while the following is also disconcerting overall, the fact is that Finley strikes me as the type of player who could use the extra motivation of being in a contract year – which he happens to be in 2013. So as you can see, the planets have aligned for Finley. Can we assume he will deliver and stay healthy? Based on his recent body of work, we cannot. But even the biggest Finley hater has to acknowledge that things are setting up perfectly for him to come through for fantasy owners this year.
I’m not trying to create “hype” for this player. I’m merely doing my job and using common sense to isolate a player who could possibly be grossly undervalued in 2013. If you want to draft only great players with no issues, go right ahead. But I hope your draft is only 4-5 rounds because all the sure things will be gone 40-50 picks in.
If you’re still very skeptical based on his shaky body of work recently, feel free to cross him off you’re draft board. Heck, he should have had a TD catch in the preseason opener last night (8/9), but it was broken up by the defender. He’s not perfect, or else he’d be a 3rd round pick. But if top-5 potential for a guy who’ll be drafted in the 9th or 10th round appeals to you, it’s time to seriously consider Jermichael Finley. If you draft Finley, my advice would be to also select a reliable option in case Finley’s various issues (durability, inconsistency) come to the surface yet again. Guys like Brandon Myers and Owen Daniels should be dependable options and have lower ADPs than Finley.