Aaron Rodgers Waiver Wire: Should You Stash the Jets’ QB for the Fantasy Playoffs?

Aaron Rodgers' quest for the quickest return from a torn Achilles in NFL history powers on. Should fantasy managers stash him for a potential Week 16 return?

It’s been 12 weeks since Aaron Rodgers tore his Achilles on his first-ever drive as a member of the New York Jets. All along, he’s maintained his intention to return faster than anyone in NFL history.

On Wednesday, the Jets opened the 21-day window to active Rodgers from injured reserve (IR). Should fantasy football managers consider stashing him for a potential Week 16 return?

Should Aaron Rodgers Be a Fantasy Waiver Wire Add in Week 13?

On the list of things I absolutely did not buy for a second, soon-to-be 40-year-old Rodgers shattering the NFL record for quickest return from a torn Achilles was quite high.

Once upon a time, a torn Achilles was a career-ending injury. Advancements in science and medicine turned it into something players could recover from, but it still carried a 6-9 month recovery time.

MORE: PFN’s FREE NFL Playoff Predictor

Two years ago, we saw Cam Akers return in 5.5 months, and that was completely unheard of. Akers was also 22 years old. Now, Rodgers seeks to beat Akers’ timeline by two whole months.

How Likely Is It That Aaron Rodgers Returns?

Although the Jets designated Rodgers to return from IR, it’s important to understand the context of the situation. I would encourage anyone considering adding Rodgers to listen to this 40-second clip of Robert Saleh explaining the situation first.

As Armando Salguero astutely noted, there is, in fact, nuance to it.

By opening the 21-day window, Rodgers can now practice with his teammates. As Saleh indicated, Rodgers is not doing anything differently than he was doing in his own rehab. The difference is just he can now participate as an official practice member.

Saleh described this as less preparing Rodgers to play football and more a continued part of his rehab. Those words are key because it’s clear that Rodgers is not necessarily practicing with the intent to play.

As Rodgers said himself on The Pat McAfee Show, per Adam Schefter, “…any potential return this season will depend on both his health and the Jets’ playoff possibilities.”

I know I still haven’t addressed any fantasy football ramifications yet. That’s because the most important aspect of deciding whether to stash Rodgers off the waiver wire is whether he will actually play. I remain extremely skeptical.

Early in the season, the risk of designating a player to return from IR that may not actually return is that NFL teams are forced to shut that player down for the season if they don’t activate him by the end of that 21-day window.

That risk doesn’t really exist with Rodgers. His return is contingent upon whether it’s medically safe for him to play, as well as where the Jets are in the standings.

If the Jets are cooked, which I expect them to be, they don’t activate Rodgers ahead of Week 16, and he’s done for the season. That’s no different than if they never activated him in the first place.

MORE: Yates’ Fantasy Football Updated QB Rest-of-Season Rankings

It’s not as if they will regret not being able to activate him in Week 17 or 18. If New York opts not to bring him back, it’s because they were never going to do it anyway.

The Jets are currently 4-7. I would be stunned if anything less than 10-7 was enough to get into the playoffs. Their next two games are at home against the Falcons and Texans. If they win both of those, there will be some semblance of life.

The problem is Week 15 at the Dolphins. I believe that if the Jets lose that game, their playoff odds would be sub-1%, and they would not risk Rodgers’ health to chase their proverbial one-outer.

If Rodgers Returns, Will He Have Fantasy Value?

As you can see, I am firmly in the camp of Rodgers not coming back this season. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume he does. Let’s assume the Jets win two of their last three games, and the team decides that because their odds aren’t 0%, they’re willing to take the shot in Week 16 and see what happens.

We can safely assume there’s no chance Rodgers returns before Week 16. That means fantasy managers who pick him up are getting exactly two games out of him. And those two games will be in the fantasy semifinals and finals.

If your team is good enough to make it that far, do you really not have a better option at quarterback than a 40-year-old in his first game back from a torn Achilles?

Furthermore, the entire purpose of stashing Rodgers would be to use him in that Week 16 game. The Jets play the Browns in Cleveland in Week 17. They have a top-three pass defense, and you won’t want to start Rodgers.

The appeal is in the Week 16 matchup at home against the Commanders’ league-worst pass defense. Is that one matchup worth chasing? The answer depends on your situation.

Rodgers remains eligible for your league’s IR spot. In some leagues, you can add players directly to the IR. If you have a free IR spot and a mediocre QB, you’re not losing anything by adding Rodgers. If there’s no risk, go right ahead.

However, if you need to drop a potentially useful player to add Rodgers, or if your IR spots are full and you’d have to burn an actual roster spot on him, I just don’t think the juice is worth the squeeze.

The most likely outcome is Rodgers doesn’t come back. Fantasy managers considering stashing him should operate as such.

Looking to make a trade in your fantasy league? Having trouble deciding who to start and who to sit? Setting DFS lineups? Check out PFN’s Free Fantasy Football Trade Analyzer, Start/Sit Optimizer, and DFS Lineup Optimizer to help you make the right decision!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Join the Conversation!

Related Articles