2020 Fantasy Previews Part 12: Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers surprised a lot of people by going 13-3 this past season. 8 of those wins were by only one possession. They were the 3 seed in the NFC and lost to the 49ers in the divisional round. What was strange about this Packers team was they didn't really stick out in any main offensive or defensive category. They were middle of the pack in: total offense per game, pass yards per game, rush yards per game, and points per game on offense. On defense, they were in the middle of the pack in: total yards allowed per game, rush yards allowed per game, pass yards allowed per game, and total points allowed per game. The Packers were led by new coach Matt LaFleur. Usually, teams do not do this well in the first year for a head coach. Many people believe that the reason the Packers were able to succeed was the relied a lot more on the run game, which took pressure off of Rodgers to carry them. Going into the 2020 season, the Packers should be in the playoffs once again. Their biggest competition in their division is the Bears, who they beat every year. Year 2 in LaFleur's system should be great for Rodgers and the rest of the offense.

Projected depth chart:

Quarterback: 1. Aaron Rodgers 2. Jordan Love

Running back: 1. Aaron Jones 2. Jamaal Williams

Wide receiver: 1. Davante Adams 2. Devin Funchess 3. Jake Kumerow 4. Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Slot receiver: 1. Allen Lazard 2. Equanimeous St. Brown

Tight end: 1. Jace Sternberger. 2. Josiah Deguara

Quarterbacks - Like his fellow NFC North quarterback Matthew Stafford, Rodgers has been very consistent for a long time. Last season was his first season scoring under 18 points per game since he's been starting. Rodgers scored 17.4 fantasy points per game last year. While Rodgers doesn't have the consistency of starts that Stafford does, he has still started 15 or more games in 10 out of the last 12 seasons.

Last season, a decent amount of pressure was taken off of Rodgers to carry the Packers offensively. He still scored 278.38 fantasy points, but averaged a low in points per game over the last 12 seasons. Rodgers finished as the QB9, but was pretty up and down. Rodgers had 10 weeks where he finished with under 15 fantasy points, but finished with over 18 in the other 6.

This inconsistency is making me avoid Rodgers for the 2020 fantasy football season. He is going around the same time as guys like Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, and Josh Allen, and I would rather have all three of those quarterbacks over him. Rodgers has a chance to get better this year with a chip on his shoulder. In the 2020 NFL Draft, the Packers spent a first round pick on Jordan Love. If you can get Rodgers at the right time, I'm all for it, but you have to watch out for his down weeks.

Running backs - Matt LaFleur likes to use more than one running back in his offense. Over the last two years as the offensive coordinator for the Titans and head coach for the Packers, both number two running backs in Dion Lewis and Jamaal Williams scored over 145 fantasy points. Even though Aaron Jones was amazing last year, Jamaal Williams still annoyed fantasy owners has he stole touches from Jones.

Aaron Jones had a spectacular 2019 season, finishing as the RB2 with 314.8 fantasy points. Jones was very boom or bust as he finished with 8 or less points in 5 games but over 15 points in the other 11. In those 11 games, Jones was at his best as he averaged 26.1 fantasy points per game. In the 5 games he finished with 8 or below, he averaged 5.5 fantasy points per game.

In the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected A.J. Dillon, a bruiser from Boston College, making the Packers backfield a big headache for fantasy owners. Aaron Jones is being taken in the early 2nd round and I always laugh to myself when I see that. Jones is going to bust this year with the addition of Dillon, who will take a lot of the short yardage work. Dillon is a deep sleeper that you can get for free in most leagues. Prior to the 2019 season, Aaron Jones played two years in which he only played 12 games each year. If Jones gets hurt, like he did in 2017 and 2018, look for Dillon to break out.

Wide receivers - Packers receivers have always been great. In fact, the last time a wide receiver that played for the Packers failed to get over 200 points was when their top receiver was Javon Walker in 2003. Walker only scored 164.7 points Since then, receivers like Javon Walker, Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Davante Adams have all eclipsed 200 points in a season while wearing the green and gold.

Davante Adams was the most recent Packer to eclipse 200 points as he did it in 2019. He scored 212.7 points despite only playing in 12 games and being limited to a turf toe injury from weeks 9-17. Adams finished as the WR22 and would've finished as the WR2 if he didn't miss 4 games. The number 2 receiver, Allen Lazard only performed well against awful secondaries. He only scored above 10 points 3 times against the Lions, Giants, and the Lions again.

Davante Adams should be a top receiver again in 2020 as he gets healthier. I am not a huge fan of taking receivers in the first round, but Adams is an exception if I can get him outside of the top 7 picks. The only other receiver on this team that I would even consider would be Allen Lazard. Lazard is going undrafted in most drafts. The Packers did not take a single receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft, which shows their confidence in Lazard as the WR2. Devin Funchess signed in free agency but has had plenty of opportunities in Carolina and Indianapolis, but never panned out.

Tight ends - The tight end position has never really been that reliable for the Packers. Jimmy Graham barely scored over 100 points last year as he scored 100.7. Graham finished as the TE21 and only scored over 10 points 3 times. Historically Packers tight ends aren't very good. Graham was supposed to change that and he didn't. Aaron Rodgers has never really thrown that much to his tight ends. The most fantasy points a tight end got while Rodgers was there was Jerimichal Finley when he scored just under 180 points in 2011.

In the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers selected Josiah Deguara from Cincinnati. Deguara will fight for the starting spot with Jace Sternberger. Neither of these two tight ends are being drafted in fantasy and for good reason. There are much better tight ends out there and Rodgers usually relies on his receivers a lot more than his tight ends.

Fantasy analysis:

Bounce back: Davante Adams

Bust: Aaron Jones

Only draft at the right time: Aaron Rodgers

Deep sleeper: Allen Lazard, AJ Dillon

I'm not touching: Jamaal Williams, Devin Funchess, Jace Sternberger, Josiah Deguara

I hope you liked 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 12: Green Bay Packers. Next up is 2020 Fantasy Previews Part 13: Houston Texans. Feel free to comment your thoughts on the fantasy impact of the Green Bay Packers offense for 2020.

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