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Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Aaron Jones


Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should be panicking at all about their value moving forward.

This season we'll be focusing on one dud a week. There will be two major qualifiers for this player: the player must have performed well below expectations without an injury, and the player needs to be considered a must-start in most formats.

Aaron Jones is currently the RB3 in half-PPR scoring. He's also managed to produce three games with single-digit fantasy points. In Week 9, he had his worst game of the season. Is there any concern here?

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Jones'n for Touches

Aaron Jones' Week 9 stat line: eight rushes for 30 yards, one reception for -1 yards on four targets.  

Week 9 was Aaron Jones at his worst. It was the first time all season that Jones logged single-digit touches and just the second time in his last 17 games dating back to last season. It was the second time this season that Jones failed to record a red zone touch and just his third game without a touchdown. Truthfully, Jones just fell victim to playing against a hungry Chargers Defense that dominated the Packers in Week 9.

At his best, Aaron Jones is quite the opposite of his Week 9 performance. In Week 4, Jones ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns on 19 carries while adding seven receptions for 75 yards through the air. It was one of the most dominating performances of the season by any player. Jones saw a career-high seven red zone carries in that game and took four of them to the house.

Typically, Jones finds himself performing somewhere in-between these two games. He's had three stinkers on the season and two blow-up games. The other four games were simply solid fantasy performances. Under no circumstances should anyone bench Aaron Jones. You probably shouldn't trade him either. If that's all you came to this column for, you can stop reading now.

Jones is a locked-and-loaded RB1 for the rest of the season. But there's still just one slight problem that will plague him for the rest of the season: the existence of Jamaal Williams.

There are 12 running backs averaging over 15 points-per-game this season in half-PPR scoring. 10 of them are considered work-horse running backs. One of those other two was a work-horse back before Melvin Gordon ended his holdout, Austin Ekeler. The other is Aaron Jones, who's dealing with a pesky backup running back who is on the field for 40-60% of the offensive snaps.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that Jones' best game of the season was the one that Jamaal Williams missed. Green Bay hasn't been afraid to ride the hot hand in their backfield this season. In Week 6, the game that followed Jones' four-touchdown performance, Williams played more snaps, gained more yards, and recorded more touches than Jones. It didn't matter that Jones was coming off the best game of his career. Williams stepped in, ran well, and earned more snaps as the game went on. This is something that could happen in any game this season.

The good news for Jones is that he's going to get the chance to start in every game this season. If he comes out swinging, he'll get the majority of the touches. He's also the clear goal-line back for the Packers. Both of Williams' red zone touchdowns were receptions. In contrast, Jones has 18 red zone carries this season and is tied for the lead in red zone rushing touchdowns.

Jones will usually get his. But his ceiling is substantially lower than some of the other RB1's due to the slight chance that Williams will take over the backfield. Williams has only out-snapped Jones twice this season, and in one of those games, Jones still managed to score two touchdowns. There's no reason to panic when it comes to Jones, but just remain aware of the concerns surrounding him. If you could flip Jones for a true top-tier RB1, he may be worth moving. But don't quit on Jones just because of a bad game and a shared backfield. He's gotten his touches, for the most part, this season, and he's going to continue to get them most of the time.

Panic Meter: 1.5/5

 

Other Players to Monitor

Let's take a look at some other notable busts from Week 7:

No Need to Panic: RB Leonard Fournette

The only stat you need to know about Fournette is that he's currently a top-10 back in all formats despite scoring just one touchdown all season. The return of Nick Foles should help Fournette find the end zone a little more. He is locked in as an RB1 with an absurdly high floor.

Unbenchable: WR Stefon Diggs

After three straight games of seven receptions and 140+ yards, Diggs put up the stinker of a lifetime, recording just one reception for four yards. His twelve rushing yards saved it from being the worst game of his career, but that will be little consolation if you started him. Diggs has had five games with three or fewer receptions this year and four games with seven receptions and over 100 yards. He's settled in as a high-end boom-or-bust player. Unless you're dealing with an unbelievably deep roster of receivers, you aren't going to be benching Diggs anytime soon. The upside is just too high. You don't want to have him on your bench when he decides to blow up again.

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