REWIND – Reviewing My Very Deep Sleeper Series from 2018 (S3, E16 Jake Kumerow)
This was exciting for a hot minute…Kumerow was ruling the preseason, and then just as it appeared a starting role was within reach, he got hurt and would get put on I.R. – hoping to return in the 2nd-half of the season.
He did make his return, but he returned to a totally different world – the obvious NFC North (preseason) favorites were a laughingstock and had fired their head coach in-season. Kumerow returned to a totally different scene and had lost time with Aaron Rodgers, as the other young receivers soaked it up.
Kumerow did make it back to the active roster and did play…sparingly. He looked fine/good but was a bit player in limited touches. In the final two games of 2018 season, Kumerow caught three passes each game and did hot on a 49-yard TD in Week 16 vs. the Jets. He showed signs of life, but a little too late for any fantasy usefulness. Perhaps, in 2019?
What I was pitching on Kumerow around this time last year…
What to make of the mini-Jake Kumerow hysteria in Green Bay? Is it a real thing or ‘fake news’/hype from the local beat writers that are regurgitated through the various football news aggregators in the preseason — something that we all see ALL THE TIME in the preseason?
Let’s look at “How did we get here?” with Kumerow before cracking the VDS case open…
1) Jake Kumerow was off everyone’s fantasy radar a few months ago — after spending time on three practice squads in his first three preseasons (Cincy 2015-2017, NE claimed him mid-2017 season for 2-3 weeks, GB claimed late 2017). He appeared to be headed to a journeyman’ status – an undrafted free agent from a small college (Wisconsin-Whitewater) trying to scrap his way onto an NFL active roster/depth chart.
2) A few weeks, Aaron Rodgers publicly blasted most of his young WRs (as a group) but singled out Jake Kumerow with much praise about what a good training camp he’s had. Suddenly, the name of Jake Kumerow perks up fantasy ears (and sets off a minor hysteria in Wisconsin).
3) Kumerow has a nice moment in Week 1 of the preseason and then scores a visually impressive 82-yard TD in Week 2 in route to a 3 catch, 114 yards performance against the Steelers. The legend of Kumerow continues to grow…especially in Wisconsin.
Much of the national debate around him is about whether he’ll really make the 53-man roster, considering the Packers drafted three WRs this season.
Some people are going so far as to wonder whether he can actually crack the Packers starting trio.
The FantasyPros expert consensus rankings are less impressed with Kumerow at this stage – ranked the #158 non-PPR wide receiver as of this writing. The public is ahead of the experts – as Kumerow’s ADP is moving towards him being the #100 WR off draft boards or better. It’s like Rotten Tomatoes when a movie is crushed by the critics, but the audience loved it and goes big at the box office.
Are the critics/experts right here or is John Q. Public on Kumerow?
Let’s discuss Kumerow’s background and talents, and then examine his 2018 roster hopes.
Kumerow was a star receiver for a small school program, but a very good/top flight small school football program at Wisconsin-Whitewater. In his last 10 games of his senior year, Kumerow averaged 6.5 catches, 109.7 yards, and 1.4 TDs per game. He averaged 5.1 catches, 88.1 yards, and 1.3 TDs his junior year. He was a high-impact college player.
Kumerow did not get an NFL Combine invite but did catch NFL attention with a 4.54 40-time and 6.90 three-cone at 6’4″+/210 at his Pro Day. He went undrafted and signed with the Bengals in 2015. He had some ‘flash’ moments in his rookie camp and was getting some buzz, but ultimately did not make the team and was sent to the practice squad. He struggled more in 2016 camp and didn’t make the team again. In 2017, he was hurt, put on I.R. and ultimately released.
The Patriots signed him in October 2017, for a few weeks, and then had to let him go. The Packers grabbed him December 2017. In 2018, he’s lit up training camp and backed that camp hype up in two preseason games. He has a Jordy Nelson-ish vibe, but he does not have the full pedigree or resume of Jordy. Kumerow has size, surprising burst for his size, with sticky hands. He’s put it all together in 2018.
The comment I see on him all the time from my draft guide subscribers – “That’s great, but can he even make this roster?”
For me, I don’t think it’s a question of whether he makes the roster. It’s more whether he’ll start Week 1 as the #3 wide receiver. Actually, I think he will start Week 1…and I challenge anyone to make the case why he wouldn’t (aside from injury).
Davante Adams and Randall Cobb are the obvious starters, we all agree. But then who is the Packers’ #3 wide receiver? Geronimo Allison? Maybe, but note – he’s not very good. He has decent hands but is a weak, non-explosive athlete…Allison is the kind of player that’s great in shorts and pads practices but struggles to get open and make plays in the real action. He may be listed as the #3 wide receiver, but he’s a soft target to take out for Kumerow.
Green Bay didn’t draft THREE wide receivers this year because they love Allison. So, some logic says one of the rookies will use ‘draft status’ to work their way into a #3 wide receiver starting role. It’s a good theory but none of the rookies have been that impressive this preseason – and Kumerow has run rings around them.
Kumerow is better than Geronimo Allison in every way. Kumerow has shown up all the rookies, to the point one of them (J’Mon Moore) is likely to get cut. I think this is Kumerow’s game to lose at this point.
He injured an AC joint this past week and is expected to miss a week, so he opened the door to the competition. However, he also just made himself a little more hidden from the public view/heat was starting to get.
Working one’s way to the #3 spot/starter on the Buffalo Bills WR depth chart is a fantasy dead end. However, what is the #3 starting WR on the Green Bay Packers working with Aaron Rodgers worth? More than the #1 wide receiver on the Bills, perhaps.
It’s definitely more than the #168 wide receiver overall in fantasy drafts taking place right now.
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