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Fantasy Football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks - Green Bay Packers 2022 Outlook

Aaron Jones - Fantasy Football Rankings, Draft Sleepers, NFL Injury News

Welcome to our fantasy football Breakouts, Busts, and Locks, a series on RotoBaller where our writers look at three key players on each NFL team. Today, we're talking about the Green Bay Packers.

The Packers were able to retain Aaron Rodgers this offseason despite all the rumors over the last few years that he wanted out of Green Bay. But the team did move on from a different star player, trading Davante Adams to the Raiders.

Below, you'll find a fantasy football breakout candidate, a fantasy football bust candidate, and a safe fantasy football pick for the Packers based on early ADP for fantasy football drafts in 2022.

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Fantasy Football Breakout: Allen Lazard

This is less about Lazard and more about the dearth of options that the Packers have in the passing game.

I'll talk a little more in the next section about Sammy Watkins, but let's quickly evaluate the rest of the pass-catching options in Green Bay:

  • Randall Cobb: He'll be 32 when the season starts and he hasn't really been good in years. He's averaged 50 or more yards per game in just one of the last six seasons and last year he caught 28 passes.
  • Christian Watson: Rookie receiver, which is always hit-or-miss. He's starting camp on the PUP list, which isn't great when every rep is crucial for young players.
  • Romeo Doubs: Also a rookie, but without the same draft capital of Watson. Doubs will have a long road to snaps.
  • Amari Rodgers: Third rounder last year who caught just 20 passes as a rookie.
  • Robert Tonyan: Had one good season and might not even be ready to go for Week 1 as he recovers from a torn ACL.
  • Marcedes Lewis: He's Marcedes Lewis, which is to say that he's a decent veteran backup tight end.

Not ideal!

Lazard has the best chance of anyone on this team to turn into Aaron Rodgers' No. 1 target. And considering Rodgers has thrown 85 touchdown passes over the past two seasons and is average 4,470 yards per 17 games in that span, I'd say that "being Green Bay's No. 1 target" is a good recipe for fantasy success.

But if you want to dig deeper on Lazard, we can do that.

The undrafted Iowa State product only caught 40 passes for 513 yards last year, but he did have eight touchdown receptions. Rodgers liked to target him in the end zone, and he was actually 16th among receivers in red zone targets.

Now with Adams gone, we should still see Lazard used heavily in the red zone, but we'll also see him used in the rest of the field as well. He only saw 10 deep targets last year, per PlayerProfiler, a number that should go up simply out of necessity.

Lazard is being drafted like a fringe WR4 right now. While I definitely don't think he's going to burst out with a WR1-type season, opportunities alone should make him a WR3 with some upside weeks. It just makes no sense why everyone is low on Lazard.

 

Fantasy Football Bust: Sammy Watkins

I can understand the logic of why people might want to draft Sammy Watkins this year. He's had flashes before and he's joining a team whose quarterback is Aaron Rodgers.

But...Watkins had three seasons with Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City and didn't really do much, so I'm not sure giving him Rodgers is going to do that much more.

Watkins has averaged 50-plus receiving yards per game once in the last five years, and last season in Baltimore, he averaged just 30.3 yards per game, the worst number of his career.

And before you say "but it was Baltimore" as an excuse, the 2021 Ravens ranked ninth in the NFL in pass attempts. Yes, we've gotten used to Baltimore being a run-heavy offense, but circumstances forced them to throw last year.

They just weren't throwing to Watkins. 🤷‍♂️

And considering his best season with Patrick Mahomes saw him catch 52 passes, I'm just not sure Aaron Rodgers is going to be peppering Watkins with targets. Lazard, Cobb, and the running backs will all be ahead of him in the pecking order.

 

Fantasy Football Lock: Aaron Jones

You expected Aaron Rodgers to be in this section, right? But while Rodgers has won back-to-back MVPs, he's also lost his top receiver and he's 38-years-old. There are some reasons to worry about Rodgers this season.

But Aaron Jones? No worries there.

With a weakened supporting cast, I expect to see the Packers continue to use Jones in the passing game, maybe to a greater extent than ever. He was targeted 65 times last year, catching 52 passes for 391 yards and six touchdowns. With Davante Adams gone, I expect the Packers to run more plays where the design is to get the ball into Jones' hands.

And that's not to mention the run game. Jones had his worst season since 2018 last year, carrying the ball 171 times for 799 yards with four touchdowns. But he still averaged 4.7 yards per carry, and per PlayerProfiler, ranked ninth among running backs in yards created per touch, 11th in yards per touch, and 11th in fantasy points per game.

With the Packers likely to rely even more on Jones this year in all facets of the game, his numbers should go up, even with the concern about A.J. Dillon shadowing him. Jones is currently being drafted right at the end of the RB1 tier, with FantasyPros currently having him as the RB12 in their data that combines the ADPs of popular fantasy platforms.

Drafting Jones in the late second round, which is where he tends to go, is a smart decision. Do it.



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