GREEN BAY PACKERS
by Andrew Teuscher
Aaron Rodgers: The now back to back MVP was magnificent again to say the least. He was the QB6 last year in total points by throwing for over 4,000 yards and 37 TDs and just 4 INTs. He masterfully carves up defenses and seemingly doesn’t make mistakes. He was thrown over 10 picks ONCE in his long career and thrown 30 or more TDs 8 times. He has finished inside the top 10 in fantasy points all but two years since his first season as a starter in 2009. Those two years he did not, he missed half the season to injury. He is the face of fantasy consistency. This year does appear to be one of his more challenging years, though, because he lost Davante Adams this offseason. The Packers replaced Davante Adams with rookie Christian Watson and Sammy Watkins. Needless to say, those don’t quite makeup for what was lost. A sub par WR room will definitely hurt Rodgers this year. Despite this fantasy managers should still be able to trust the veteran. His upside is limited this year because Allen Lazard is his WR1 and he has no rushing ability anymore, but the NFL diva should still be viewed as a top 10 QB in the NFL.
Aaron Jones: Aaron Jones finished last year as the RB12 in half-ppr leagues. In 2022 the agile receiving back is heading towards some new territory in 2021 in many ways. One big change is that AJ Dillon has established himself as a member of the Packers offense. Out of the last five games that both Jones and Dillon played in, Dillon received over 50% of the snaps 3 times instead of Jones. The good news is that Jones was still able to average 12 ppg in that stretch. Still, Dillon has established himself as the first and second down back in Green Bay and will likely be the man called upon to close out games when the Pack has the lead. The Packers over/under on the year is 11 and their defense is top 10 so they will likely often have a game script that will not favor Jones. The other change for Jones in 2022 is that Packers have no solidified WR in the pass game with the departure of Davante Adams. Jones is a great receiving back and should stand to benefit from Adams’ not being there to vulture targets and TDs. All-in-all Jones is now a committee back who luckily has a lot of participation in the receiving game and plays in what will likely be the one of the best offenses in the league. The lower snap share will greatly hurt the 27 year-old’s ability to contribute consistently so he is no longer the elite option he once was. Jones should be seen as a mid RB2 in 2022.
A.J. Dillon: Dillon is a big, big boy who is a prototypical runner that is meant to gobble up bruising touches between the tackles on first and second down, as well as short goal line punch-ins. That is the exact role that it looks that he is going to receive in 2022. Aaron Jones will snatch up the vast majority of the receiving work but Dillon will receive a lot of the carries. This means that game script will definitely matter. The Packers over/under according to Drafkings is 11, so it should be expected that Dillon will soak up plenty of carries while closing out victories for the cheese-heads. Dillon’s massive body will also be utilized on the goal line. Week 10 pretty much marks the spot when Dillon really established himself in the committee. Counting up all of the games that both Dillon and Jones played in from week 10 on (6 games), Dillon scored 6 TDs compared to Jones’s 3 and Jones averaged 1 redzone touches/game while Dillon averaged 4.8 redzone touches/game. The man built like a semi-truck will definitely get similar usage near the goal line. Jones and Dillon will likely have a near 50/50 split of the backfield which brings both of their values down. Luckily this offense should be good enough for both options to be fantasy relevant. He will have to find the endzone to have a big week, but TD opportunities and a consistent share of carries makes Dillon a mid to back-end RB2.
Allen Lazard: Lazard finds himself in the best situation of his career. The offseason shook out perfectly for him. MVP Aaron Rodgers will still be throwing him the ball. Additionally, Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling both are gone and are vacating 224 targets. Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson are new to town and will certainly absorb some of those targets, but Lazard will too. Lazard can play any role at the WR position and is definitely going to be a trusted target in the redzone to go up and catch passes. He already had the 16th most redzone targets (16) in the league last year and he should be the primary beneficiary of Adams leaving behind the third most redzone targets (28). Targets from Aaron Rodgers are valuable and it resulted in Lazard averaging the 5th most fantasy points per target. What happens if he receives more targets? This year will be Lazard’s audition to see if he can actually be fantasy relevant. Watkins hasn’t been fantasy dominant in years and Watson is a work in progress prospect. Lazard has every opportunity to try and establish himself. The Packers wideout is a great sleeper to snag in the back end of drafts.
Christian Watson: There is a lot to be excited about regarding the rookie out of North Dakota State. Christian Watson is an off the charts athlete who dominated at the college level. In his best season as a Bison he accounted for 44% of his teams receiving production. All of this led to Watson being taken in the early second round after the Packers traded up for him. The obstacles for Watson are that he is a very raw talent who needs to develop his route running and prove he can dominate against top talents. Also, in Aaron Rodgers 17 years in the league, he has never made a rookie WR fantasy relevant. Luckily for Watson, someone has to catch passes from the league MVP and a lot of targets were vacated in Green Bay with no clear WR1 to soak those up. Watson profiles very similarly to DK Metcalf in his first year as a pro. In Metcalf’s rookie year he was an exciting athletic freak with size and speed and was catching passes from an established veteran. This resulted in a boom or bust, back-end WR3 finish. It’s fair to have similar expectations for Christian Watson in 2022 who could have the opportunity to do more.
Sammy Watkins: The former 4th overall pick has had a laundry list of injuries that’s prevented him from being fantasy relevant since 2015. He is mainly just a deep threat journeyman who will likely take on the role that Marques Valdes-Scantling has left behind. Aaron Rodgers likes throwing to more veteran WRs but there is not much of a reason to believe that Watkins can return to dominance. Rodgers will help get the most out of him, but he was not able to do much in a similar situation with Mahomes and the Chiefs. The 29 year-old WR is little more than a potential bye week replacement/weekly streaming option.
Randall Cobb: Rodgers demanded that Randall Cobb return with him to Green Bay last offseason. They must be really great friends off the field, because on the field their connection resulted in Cobb being the WR74. Cobb saw a few golden years in the past, but he will be 32 this season. Cobb will be in the mix to pick up some targets that Davante Adams and MVS are leaving behind, however, there are other players in Green Bay more deserving of the football. Leave Cobb to your leaguemates who might be tempted to try and relive the early 2010s.
Amari Rogers: The Clemson product who was selected in the third round in 2021 was a sleeper for some last season. Everyone was promptly let down last year as Rogers played just 9.7% of his team’s snaps. There is an open opportunity for Rogers to try and fight for a role during the season, but the WR would have to make a miraculous turnaround. Keep an ear out for offseason hype maybe, but his name can be left of your big board coming into 2022 drafts.
Robert Tonyan: Tonyan broke out as an endzone monster in 2020. In his much anticipated 2021 season, Tonyan was mostly dormant before he tore his ACL in week 8. The undrafted TE will be fighting an uphill battle to return by the beginning of the season. Whenever he does come back he could easily be the top recipient of the large amount of targets that Davante Adams was formerly receiving in Green Bay. Rodgers is known for liking familiar faces and there are a lot of new names in town this year. Tonyan certainly cannot dominate like other elite TEs but he will have the chance to be a top 12 TE whenever he takes the field again in 2022.
Andrew Teuscher is a fantasy-football enthusiast and certified fantasy try hard.