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Packers quarterback Brett Hundley had only 12 completions and averaged 7.3 yards on them Sunday against the Saints. | Jeffrey Phelps/AP

Fantasy football: How to handle Packers’ receivers without Rodgers

SHARE Fantasy football: How to handle Packers’ receivers without Rodgers
SHARE Fantasy football: How to handle Packers’ receivers without Rodgers

The Packers are off this week, but if you own any of their receivers, you should be busy trying to bolster your roster.

It was no surprise the Packers’ passing game suffered with Brett Hundley replacing Aaron Rodgers, but to see Jordy Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb combine for five catches Sunday against the Saints was surprising. We’ve seen young quarterbacks lean on a tight end before, but Martellus Bennett had only two catches.

At least Hundley wasn’t shackled with the same handcuffs the Bears have on Mitch Trubisky. Hundley threw 25 passes and ran three times for 44 yards, but he had only 12 completions and averaged 7.3 yards on them. Hundley tried to go deep twice but threw incomplete and was intercepted.

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The Saints’ defense has come a long way, but Hundley will face even greater tests. Of the Packers’ next four games, three are against teams with pass defenses ranked in the top nine (Bears, Ravens, Steelers). The other team is the Lions, who have nine interceptions, tied for the second-most in the league.

You can’t bench Nelson or Adams, but you need to lower expectations. That means upgrading your other wideouts to try to offset the loss in points. Cobb isn’t nearly the touchdown threat his mates are, so he can be benched. Same with Bennett, especially considering the leaguewide depth at tight end.

As for where to turn at wide receiver, check around your league for these players (availability in ESPN leagues in parentheses):

Ted Ginn Jr., Saints (56 percent): If Willie Snead continues to have hamstring problems, Ginn should benefit. He had seven catches for 141 yards Sunday. Though he’s largely boom or bust, he’s worth a roster spot as part of the league’s third-ranked offense.

Marvin Jones, Lions (34 percent): His usage should shoot up with Golden Tate nursing a shoulder injury. The Lions are averaging the fifth-most passes per game (37.5), and Jones has six catches in each of the last two games.

Cooper Kupp, Rams (59 percent): He’s averaging only 45 yards per game, but he’s getting lots of good looks. Kupp has a team-high 13 red-zone targets, 10 more than any other Rams wideout. All three of his touchdowns have come inside the 20.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers (92 percent): He appears to have passed Martavis Bryant for the No. 2 spot on the depth chart. That’s a good place to be on a typically prolific offense. But he entered the concussion protocol Tuesday, so check his status.

This isn’t to say the Packers are a lost cause. The bye week comes at a perfect time to circle the wagons and figure out how best to employ Hundley. But it’s best you protect yourself and prepare for the worst – because that’s what it looked like Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffreyA22.

Email: jagrest@suntimes.com

WEEK 8 OUTLOOK

Byes: Cardinals, Packers, Jaguars, Rams, Giants, Titans.

STUDS

Panthers QB Cam Newton: He figures to bounce back against the Buccaneers, who have allowed the third-most points to QBs.

Dolphins RB Jay Ajayi: He ranks sixth in the league in rushes. The Ravens have faced the second-most rushes in the league. There’s a reason for that.

Chargers WR Keenan Allen: The Patriots’ defense is playing better, but it still is giving up a lot of yards to wideouts – an average of 213.7 in the last three games.

DUDS

Texans QB Deshaun Watson: The Seahawks have held four of six QBs to single-digit scoring. This will be Watson’s first road game since Week 3.

49ers RB Carlos Hyde: He’s holding off Matt Breida, but he doesn’t figure to hold off the Eagles, who have allowed the fewest rushing yards to running backs.

Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill: In the last four games, the Broncos have allowed an average of 91.5 yards to wide receivers.

WEEK 7 PICKS

STUDS

Marcus Mariota: 203 yards

Jerick McKinnon: 14 carries, 47 yards

Dez Bryant: 7 catches, 63 yards, TD

DUDS

Andy Dalton: 140 yards, 2 TD passes, 2 INTs

Doug Martin: 20-49 rushing, 2-31 receiving

T.Y. Hilton: 2 catches, 27 yards

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