2020 Fantasy Preview: Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers

 

An impressive campaign under first-year head coach Matt LaFleur, the Packers made it to the NFC Championship last year but unfortunately fell to the 49ers. Their impressive season ended in disappointment when the ‘9ers handily defeated Green Bay with only eight pass attempts. Be that as it may, the Packers consider themselves contenders while the “Rodgers-age-window” gently closes. Plenty of cheese heads thought that meant drafting a wide receiver to aid an aging Rodgers, but the Packers instead drafted his likely successor, some kid out of Utah State. The Jordan Love pick is intriguing, but it has little to do with how the Packers will perform this season (hopefully). The overall look of this team is pretty similar to last year besides a couple of new pieces to the puzzle.

 

Quarterback

 

Aaron Rodgers

ADP: 91.9, QB10

There’s little to be said about Aaron Rodgers that hasn’t already been dissected a thousand different ways over the offseason. Many thought the Packers would draft a wide receiver in the 2020 draft, but they instead grabbed Love, a quarterback from Utah State, in the first round. Plenty of people want to go in-depth on the Love pick but that’s a breakdown for another article. Love should not be starting anytime soon unless Rodgers succumbs to an injury. Speaking of Aaron, It’s pretty much a given that Rodgers should finish among the top 10 quarterbacks so long as he plays 16 games this year. Going back to 2008, Aaron Rodgers has finished as an overall top 10 fantasy QB in every season he has played at least 15 games (10 seasons). Rodgers was an overall top-3 fantasy QB seven times in that same span. If he stays healthy, Aaron should finish as a top-10 fantasy QB at the very least. It’s tough to argue with that consistency.

 

Best Case Scenario

Former Packers wide receiver James Jones has said that Rodgers will be playing with a chip on his shoulder this year and predicts the 36-year-old quarterback will win MVP in 2020. That’s quite the bold prediction, but I wouldn’t discount Jones’ prophecy. He was right on the money in 2019 when he projected a 13-3 season for the Packers.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Barring any potential injuries, the worst-case scenario would be that Aaron Rodgers simply underperforms to his level of play. If he plays 15 games and falls into the back half of fantasy QB scoring then I would be very concerned.

 

2020 Projection: 575 Attempts, 360 completions, 4100 passing yards, 27 passing touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 40 rushes, 160 yards, 2 rushing TDs

 

Running Back

 

Aaron Jones

ADP: 17.5, RB13

This position could be tough to pin down in Green Bay, or at least the usage. Although Aaron Jones was the second-highest-scoring PPR running back in 2019, Matt LaFleur has been transparent about his love for bruising backs. LaFleur’s offensive game plan revolves around showing similar looks with different play calls. He figures he can open up passing lanes by forcing the defense to respect the run. Jones will get plenty of playing time, but rookie AJ Dillon should immediately factor into the one-two punch system that LaFleur wants to run. Jones owners in dynasty leagues would do well to draft Dillion if only to lock down this backfield.

 

Best Case Scenario

Considering his performance in 2019, it feels like the best cast scenario for Jones is similar numbers. I don’t think anybody is predicting him to be the overall RB1, so realistically Jones should hope for another RB2 finish in PPR leagues.

 

Worst Case Scenario

This backfield becomes far too crowded for Aaron to make a meaningful fantasy impact in 2020. Not the most likely scenario, but hey, you wanted the worst case.

 

2020 Projection: 230 carries, 975 rushing yards, 14 rushing touchdowns, 65 targets, 45 receptions, 450 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

 

AJ Dillon

ADP: 139.8, RB55

Knowing the way LaFleur wants to run this offense, it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Packers draft AJ Dillon in the second round of the 2020 draft. At six feet and 247 pounds with tree trunks for legs, AJ looks like an absolute unit and should contribute immediately. Any Dillion 2020 projections are bound to be a shot in the dark, but I believe he will mainly be used in short-yardage situations to grind down opposing defenses in his first year although he does have deceptive top speed.

I believe Dillon will be the first Packer 2020 draft pick to make an immediate on-field impact. The guy is just built too well for a Matt LaFleur system. AJ will likely take the RB2 duties from Jamaal Williams this year.

 

Best Case Scenario

AJ earns his spot as Green Bay’s RB2 and gets plenty of usage to wear down opposing defenses. He uses that opportunity to break off a few big runs here and there whenever opposing defenses don’t account for his impressive elusively and top speed for his size.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Dillon becomes a LaFleur draft bust and quickly fades into irrelevance, earning little to no time on the field.

 

2020 Projection: 110 carries, 500 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns, 40 targets, 30 receptions, 225 receiving yards, 1 receiving touchdown

 

Jamaal Williams

ADP: 163.5, RB65

Jamaal Williams became a bit of a fan favorite last year in Green Bay with his clutch play and hilarious SpongeBob quotes. Be that as it may, I predict him falling back to third on the RB depth chart considering how well rookie Dillon fits LaFleur’s system. I could be way off on my prediction; I fully admit that Williams’ ADP is currently right next to Dillon’s. Williams (alongside Aaron Jones) was part of the fourth most-valuable running back group of 2019 (per PFF WAR). Maybe he retains his role in 2020, but it could go either way. As we all know, many players are susceptible to losing depth chart position after just a few weeks of practice.

 

Best Case Scenario

Williams retains his position as Green Bay’s RB2 and has some fantasy-relevant weeks here and there (similar to 2019).

 

Worst Case Scenario

Jamaal’s role becomes nearly non-existent while he sits on your fantasy waiver wire for the rest of 2020 after somebody in your league drops him in Week 4.

 

2020 Projection: 65 carries, 325 rushing yards, 0 rushing touchdowns, 35 targets, 29 receptions, 200 receiving yards, 4 receiving touchdowns

 

Wide Receiver

 

Davante Adams

ADP: 12.3, WR3

Even Davante Adams had some injury troubles in 2019. Green Bay’s star receiver only played 12 games in 2019 and still finished as the overall PPR WR22. Extrapolated over a 16-game season, Adams would have finished as the overall PPR WR2 just above Chris Godwin in 2019. Adams is still an elite talent and should be a lock for another impressive season. His 2020 ADP certainly reflects that. With a lack of established pass-catchers behind him and a proven connection with Rodgers, Adams projects to be one of the most targeted receivers in the league.

 

Best Case Scenario

Adams stays healthy in 2020 and competes for the overall PPR WR1 position in 2020. His volume and red zone role give him both a high floor and a high ceiling.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Green Bay has too many receivers and they take away some production from Adams (not likely). Outside of an injury to Adams or Rodgers, it is hard to envision a bad fantasy season.

 

2020 Projection: 130 targets, 80 receptions, 1000 receiving yards, 12 receiving touchdowns

 

Allen Lazard

ADP: 160.6, WR60

Allen Lazard’s play ascended down the stretch last year when he did something few young players are capable of achieving: earning Aaron Rodgers’ trust. Any die-hard Packer fans will tell you how difficult it can be for young receivers to access Rodgers’ circle of trust. When the Packers needed someone to take a step up while Adams nursed his turf toe for a few weeks, Allen was the only receiver to answer the call. He will enter training camp as the Packers de facto WR2, but there are plenty of returning and healthy players itching to take his spot. Anyone of Funchess, St. Brown, or even Valdes-Scantling could quickly take the “Lazard King’s” role away from him. I love Allen’s hands but his difficulty creating separation is concerning. It’s possible my 2020 projection is a bit harsh. In fairness, Lazard had the fourth-highest receiving grade when targeted in single coverage in 2019 (per PFF).

 

Best Case Scenario

Lazard has a great camp and retains his WR2 position heading into 2020 Week 1. Even if he isn’t the main guy lining out wide with Adams, he’s still a dependable big target in the slot.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Allen quickly descends the depth chart and you curse yourself for wasting a late-round flyer pick on him.

 

2020 Projection: 60 targets, 40 receptions, 475 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

 

Devin Funchess

ADP: 192, WR79

Devin Funchess is much more of a known quantity among Green Bay’s offseason acquisitions. Still, the signing has left plenty in Packer Nation skeptical at best. Funchess sat out all of the 2019 season and missed at least one game in 2018 and 2016. His injury rap sheet is undeniably worrying. A lingering turf toe, pulled and re-aggravated hamstrings, and a broken collarbone to name a few. Be that as it may, the 26-year-old should be a sizable and versatile target for Rodgers if he can stay healthy in 2020. Don’t expect too much, though. The guy has yet to surpass 840 receiving yards in a single season. Still, the Packers signed Devin because they believe in his talent and think he can provide immediate impact. He should have a solid shot at the WR2 role in Green Bay, but that could be a difficult task without any preseason games this year.

 

Best Case Scenario

Funchess plays a full season, totals more than 850 or 900 yards, and finishes the season around the WR20 mark in PPR leagues.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Devin never shakes the injury bug and doesn’t warrant any of your time in 2020.

 

2020 Projection: 100 targets, 60 receptions, 800 receiving yards, 8 receiving touchdowns

 

Equanimeous St. Brown

ADP: 371, WR172

Equanimeous St. Brown, a player many were expecting to take a big step forward in his sophomore year, was placed on season-ending IR just before the 2019 campaign. St. Brown ran a pretty impressive 4.48 40-yard dash at the NFL combine and has a first-rate body control and catch radius. Rodgers has even said that he’s “excited about getting EQ back from injury.”

 

Best Case Scenario

St. Brown picks up where he left off and creates a quick rapport with AR12 and earns a position in the final 53-man roster. He performs enough in 2020 to warrant some flex consideration from week to week.

 

Worst Case Scenario

“EQ” gets the sophomore slumps in his (technically) third year and can’t get on the same page with Rodgers or make enough meaningful impact to get playing time.

 

2020 Projection: 55 targets, 30 receptions, 450 receiving yards, 3 receiving touchdowns

 

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

ADP: 265, WR125

Marquez Valdes-Scantling had his fair share of bad luck during his second year in the NFL. He could never quite get on the same page with Rodgers and battled a bum ankle through the second half of the season. According to PFF, Valdes-Scantling was the unluckiest receiver in 2019, with a staggering 48% uncatchable target rate. This, to me, signifies that Rodgers and MVS might just need a bit more work getting on the same frequency. Keep in mind that even Adams had a similar sophomore slump with Rodgers back in 2015. Valdes-Scantling showed some promise with two games of 20+ fantasy points within the first seven weeks. Unfortunately, his tweaked ankle hampered him for a large portion of the 2019 season.

 

Best Case Scenario

Valdes-Scantling shakes off the bad luck and dials it in with Rodgers, using his speed to go for plenty of successful deep shots. As Green Bay’s best deep threat, he’s capable of nabbing the homerun ball any given Sunday.

 

Worst Case Scenario

The sophomore struggles continue into MVS’ third year, he becomes another bust draft pick and proves to be completely fantasy irrelevant.

 

2020 Projection: 90 targets, 55 receptions, 750 receiving yards, 7 receiving touchdowns

 

Tight Ends

 

Jace Sternberger

ADP: 301, TE27

In 2019 the Packers’ rookie tight end, Jace Sternberger, experienced some bad luck as well when he was placed on the injured reserve just two days before the season began. He eventually came back and got a bit of playing time during the playoffs, even catching his first NFL touchdown in the process. I think Sternberger is flying under plenty of radars this year and could be a sneaky pick late in 2020 fantasy drafts. The Pack likes Sternberger enough that they let Jimmy Graham walk over the offseason, so the former should be a viable fantasy option this year. Rookie Josiah Deguara will get in the mix, but I believe Sternberger will be the pure pass-catching tight end on this team.

 

Best Case Scenario

Jace breaks out this year and becomes a viable fantasy tight end option in 2020.

 

Worst Case Scenario

Rookie Josiah Deguara somehow takes over as the chief TE pass catcher in Green Bay (highly unlikely).

 

2020 Projection: 75 targets, 55 receptions, 675 receiving yards, 5 receiving touchdowns

 

 

Photo by Larry Radloff/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Ryan Kruse

Ryan grew up in the Midwest dreaming of becoming a famous football player. Now he talks football with anyone who will listen. His current goal is to share the knowledge he's accumulated from years of fantasy football success (and failure). Nowadays, Ryan can be found somewhere in Tampa, downing a craft beer and a Cuban sandwich. Keep up with @ryanpkruse on Twitter.

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