There was a surprising amount of news surrounding the Green Bay Packers this past off-season. Aaron Rodgers was the subject of trade rumors, Davante Adams was a free agent, and the massive cloud hanging over them after going one-and-done in the NFL playoffs after being the number one seed in the NFC.
Well Rodgers came back to the team, Adams ended up being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders, and we’re waiting to see what sort of team is going to take the field come September. Getting Rodgers back was huge, but the loss of Adams from this offense is sure to take its toll on the offense. With that said though, there are still some fantasy football gems we can find in the murky cave that is the Packers offense.
Leave Your Fantasy Football Draft With This Player
Aaron Jones, RB
This one seems obvious if you’re an experienced fantasy football manager. The reason that Aaron Jones is listed here though the questions about the passing game. Jones is sure to get an increased role in the offense and with the loss of Davante Adams from the receiving room leaves a huge gap and lots of fantasy football managers (and Packers fans) with the question of who is going to step up to fill that large void.
It’s likely this passing offense will spread the ball around more instead of leaning on the primary option in Adams, like in previous seasons. All that said, Jones is the most dependable option in this offense overall and he should be used not only in the running game but more in the passing game as well now.
Looking at an offense that is similar to the one the Saints used last season, Alvin Kamara became a huge part of the offense because of the below-average talent at the receiver position. Kamara commanded 36% of the touches in the offense for the Saints which includes having the most rushing attempts and the second most receiving targets.
This is a similar type of usage that should be expected from Jones in the Packers offense. AJ Dillon is sure to take a larger role in the offense as well but he’s definitely more of a runner than he is a receiver. This is where Jones should see the field more and become the primary playmaker in this Green Bay offense now.
Jones has finished as a top-five fantasy football running back in two of the past three seasons. As mentioned without Adams in this offense now, he should become a bigger part of the offense and a very valuable fantasy football player to have on your roster.
He’s currently being drafted in the second round but it wouldn’t be that surprising if someone jumped the gun and grabbed him at the back-end of the first round. It really just depends on the size of your league but the second round seems to be the most likely spot he’ll be taken in your fantasy draft. Make sure to add Jones to your fantasy league because he’s sure to be a league-winner type of player in 2022.
Rookie Difference Maker
Christian Watson, WR
At one point during the 2022 NFL Draft process, Christian Watson was discussed as a potential first-round pick. He ended up being drafted 34th overall, which is at the top of the second round. Coming out of North Dakota State, there are questions on whether he can compete at the NFL level after playing against lesser opponents in college. He showed up at the NFL Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine and proved that he can compete with the prospects at bigger schools and hold his own as well.
Coming to Green Bay, Watson is sure to get a lot of targets in just his rookie season with the trade of Adams to the Las Vegas Raiders. Watson is a larger target at 6’4” and he also possesses the elite speed to burn past defenders. He’s able to run a full route tree, although he needs some refinement to become a dangerous pass-catcher and not just a home run threat.
Watson has the inside track as he has a better skillset compared to his fellow rookie teammates, but those veterans are going to possibly stand in his way.
Lazard has played with Rodgers for four seasons but he’s only surpassed 500 receiving yards once during that time and has a career-high total of 40 receptions in a season. Watkins once looked like a potential premier receiver in the NFL but he was never consistent and is now joining his third team in the last three seasons and fifth team in his eight-year career.
All this said, Watson should be given every opportunity to become the lead dog in this receiver room if he can show out during training camp and preseason.
Looking at Watson’s fantasy football potential, it really depends on how involved he gets in the passing offense. Rodgers notoriously likes throwing more to veterans than rookies but this is a different type of season where there are no proven veterans in this offense and this could force Rodgers to ride with the receiver getting open more consistently.
Watson is sure to get drafted in most fantasy football leagues but it’s going to be toward the end of your draft. He’s very likely going to be a player that will be drafted to be the second-to-last or last player for someone’s bench.
It’s really a great player to have on your bench because of the potential that Watson has in this offense. He could easily become a rookie that flies out of the gate and just dominates from the moment he sees the field or that struggles and is a streaming type of option.
Either way, it’s a low-risk type of option that carries a high reward. As mentioned, this is the perfect type of player to fill out your fantasy football bench.
Potential Fantasy Football Breakout Player
Sammy Watkins, WR
After lauding the rookie receiver Watson, Sammy Watkins can still have a potential break-out type of season with the Green Bay Packers. Yes, as mentioned earlier, he is now playing for his third team in the last three seasons and his fifth team in his eight-year career.
One of the things that benefit Watkins is that he hasn’t been in a system as the number one option in a long time. He started his career in Buffalo where he was the primary option in the passing offense, in which he put up 2,459 receiving yards and 17 receiving touchdowns in three seasons with the Bills.
He then spent one year with the Rams and was playing with Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, and a prime Todd Gurley in the backfield. He then moved on to Kansas City where he was behind Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill which limited his production and then last season he played in a run-first offense in Baltimore.
Coming now to Green Bay, he has a chance to carve a large role in a questionable receiving room and he’s playing with a 4-time NFL MVP in Rodgers. This sort of opportunity should allow Watkins to produce numbers that are closer to when he was in Buffalo.
As a fantasy football option, Watkins is likely going to go undrafted in most fantasy leagues. While it’s easy to believe in Rodgers at quarterback, the reliability among the wide receivers is still something we need to see.
Watkins is one of the oldest players on the entire Packers roster and he’s the second oldest receiver only behind Randall Cobb. So you look at that experience and as mentioned, Rodgers may tend to want to look Watkins way more often at first compared to the rookie receivers that were drafted recently.
So keep an eye on Watkins for your fantasy football watchlist because he earns Rodgers’ trust right out of the gate, he can easily become one of the biggest steals off the waiver wire.
Bold Fantasy Football Prediction
Aaron Rodgers will finish outside the top-10 for fantasy quarterbacks
Yeah, good chance this ages like milk instead of a bottle of fine wine but let’s take a stab at this. In the 14 years Rodgers has been the starter for Green Bay, he’s finished as a top-10 fantasy football quarterback 12 times, and the two times he didn’t. He suffered injuries that prevented him from playing a full season. Those 12 times include nine top-five finishes and four of those finishes were first-place finishes. So why will he finish outside the top 10?
Rodgers’ season in 2019 finished as the ninth-place fantasy football quarterback and this is important to bring up. During that season, no wide receiver finished with over 1,000 receiving yards or with more than five receiving touchdowns. Yes, this includes Adams although he did miss four games due to injury.
Regardless of that, this offense was flowing through Jones in the backfield as he had a breakout season going for 1,558 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns. Jones also commanded 37% of the touches on offense that season and that correlates with Adams missing four games during the regular season.
Now lots of people are saying Rodgers should enjoy a really good season without relying on a primary receiver like Adams and he’ll now share the ball with all receivers. This is where it’ll hurt him as a fantasy football option because while he’ll spread the ball around, Jones will garner a large amount of the touches in the offense.
The other factor that will lead to Rodgers finishing outside the top-10 is that he’s not a rushing quarterback. He gets a couple of rushing touchdowns every season, but he doesn’t exactly rack up the rushing yards.
There are a couple of other teams that feature dual-threat quarterbacks and those players should push Rodgers down the list of top fantasy finishers at the quarterback position. Guys like Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Jalen Hurts, and Lamar Jackson will generate a good amount of rushing stats along with passing stats.
So as good as a quarterback Rodgers is, don’t be surprised that he finishes outside the top 10. Not a bad idea either to heed a little caution when you’re preparing your fantasy football draft strategy as you may want to think twice before you draft Rodgers as your starting quarterback.