Kickoff: Sunday, October 23rd at 1:00 PM ET
Location: FedEx Field, North Englewood, MD
Betting Odds: GB -5.5, 41.5 total via Oddsshark
Writer: Ryan Kruse (@ryanpkruse on Twitter)
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start, QB1)
Losing star wide receiver Davante Adams over the offseason has seriously reduced Aaron Rodgers’ fantasy relevance in 2022. The reigning MVP has struggled without his favorite target this year, averaging just 13.5 fantasy points per game.
The enticing match-up is the only thing barely keeping Rodgers out of the QB2 tier this week. The Commanders have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks in 2022, and their pass rush hasn’t been great. Still, with the way Rodgers and this offense have struggled lately, expectations should remain tempered. I’m ranking Aaron at the tail end of the QB1 tier.
Aaron Jones (Start, RB2), A.J. Dillon (FLEX)
The frustration over Aaron Jones is warranted, but fantasy managers shouldn’t jump ship just yet. Jones only had nine carries and four targets in Week 6 for a pathetic 7.4 points. He had even fewer opportunities in Week 1. Jones then tallied a massive 32 fantasy points in Week 2 after head coach Matt LaFleur admitted he needs to get the ball to Aaron more often. Luckily, LaFleur made similar comments after last week’s loss to the Jets, and I believe Jones will see plenty of work against Washington.
I’m sure readers are sick of the “Aaron Jones is a great pass catcher” spiel after these disappointing weeks, but there aren’t many receiving options left in Green Bay. The Packers need to get Jones more involved in the passing game. Randall Cobb will be out multiple weeks with an ankle injury and rookie Christian Watson has been dealing with a nagging hamstring nearly all year. The Commanders’ defense has been middling in passing yards allowed (18th most) and fantasy points conceded to running backs (18th most). We can officially panic if Jones can’t even manage a respectable RB2 performance this week.
A.J. Dillon has more rushing attempts than Aaron Jones in four of the Packers’ first six games. (They saw the same number of carries in one of the other two games.) That would be a pretty encouraging stat if Green Bay’s offensive line wasn’t folding like a cheap suit lately. Dillon hasn’t put up more than 9.4 fantasy points since Week 1. Unfortunately, A.J. won’t be more than a Flex option until we see more consistent production from the big bruising back.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Lazard (Start, WR2), Romeo Doubs (Start, WR3), Sammy Watkins (Sit), Robert Tonyan (Start, TE1)
Allen Lazard has been the one consistent fantasy option in Green Bay. The Packers’ new WR1 has seen eight or more targets in the last three weeks and scored a touchdown in all but one game this year. Lazard is a lock for the WR2 tier with plenty of potential WR1 upside against a Washington secondary conceding the sixth-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Start with confidence.
Romeo Doubs had lackluster fantasy performances the past two weeks, but I wouldn’t worry too much about the rookie. Doubs is still an integral piece of the Green Bay offense and should continue to see a consistent target share, especially with veteran receiver Randall Cobb out for a few weeks. Romeo has seen more targets and tallied more receptions than any other Packers receiver this year. Doubs should turn things around this week against a struggling Washington pass defense.
Sammy Watkins could return this week after sitting out the last four games with a hamstring injury. That said, Sammy is more of a scheme player in Green Bay than a receiving threat. Watkins’ speed is good for a few deep shots per game, but the Packers mostly value his ability to get downfield and set a reliable block. Sammy will need to see a higher target share before we can trust him in fantasy lineups.
It seems Robert Tonyan has returned to form after tearing his ACL last year. The Packers eased Tonyan back into the mix to start the season. “Big Bob” was on the field for 38% of Green Bay’s snaps during the first two weeks of the 2022 season. Last week, Robert played in 63% of the Packers’ snaps and saw a massive 12 targets for 10 catches. The lack of receiving options in Green Bay should keep Tonyan heavily involved in this offense. The match-up isn’t encouraging (Washington has allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to the position), but that won’t be enough to downgrade Tonyan out of TE1 territory.
Taylor Heinicke (Sit)
In the 16 games Taylor Heinicke played for the Commanders last year, he averaged just 13.9 fantasy points per game. The 29-year-old quarterback will likely start for the Commanders for about a month while Carson Wentz heals his fractured finger.
Although the Packers’ defense has struggled at times, they have still allowed the fourth-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this year. Keep Heinicke on the bench unless you’re particularly desperate in a two-quarterback league.
Brian Robinson (Start, FLEX), Antonio Gibson (Sit, FLEX), J.D. McKissic (Sit, FLEX)
Brian Robinson seems to be the favorite rushing back in Washington after leading the team in carries over the last two weeks. Assuming he continues seeing a clear majority of Washington’s rushing attempts, Robinson should be in line for a high-end Flex performance with plenty of RB2 upside against a Packers defense that’s allowing the sixth-most rushing yards in 2022.
The uncertainty surrounding Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic makes both backs increasingly tough to trust. The prudent move may be to stash both on the bench for at least this week if you can afford the roster spot. I don’t have much faith in Gibson’s future (eight carries over the last two weeks), but, McKissic could still be a worthwhile fantasy option, especially if Robinson remains completely uninvolved in Washington’s passing game. McKissic’s efficiency through the air should keep him in Flex territory most weeks, but there’s a good chance he will never be a reliable weekly fantasy option this year.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR2), Curtis Samuel (Start-able WR3), John Bates (Sit), Cole Turner (Sit), Logan Thomas (Sit)
Terry McLaurin hasn’t been the dominant asset many expected him to be this year, yet he’s still on pace for a respectable thousand-yard season. Most fantasy managers recognize McLaurin’s talent and potential but have been frustrated with his production thanks to Curtis Samuel‘s re-emergence. Samuel has seen 21.6% of Washington’s targets this year to McLaurin’s 15.9%.
“Scary Terry” could receive a larger target share over the next month with Heinicke back under center for the Commanders. Curtis Samuel struggled with injuries and only played in five games and saw nine targets last year, while McLaurin had 23.6% of Washington’s targets in 2021. Terry saw the 13th-most targets among all wide receivers last year with Heinicke throwing him the ball. Samuel will surely see plenty of his own targets if he stays healthy, but there’s a good chance McLaurin will be Heinicke’s safety blanket once again.
The Packers’ secondary is a tough match-up. They’ve allowed the fewest passing yards and the seventh-fewest receiver fantasy points this year. Still, I’m banking on an increased target share for McLaurin and expecting a solid WR2 performance. Samuel is still safely in the start conversation and should be capable of high-end WR3 production.
It’s best to leave the Washington tight ends alone until Logan Thomas returns and starts (potentially) producing. Even if Thomas is back this week, I recommend waiting for one more game before starting him. Green Bay has allowed the third-fewest fantasy points to tight ends this year. John Bates and Cole Turner aren’t seeing enough targets to trust in fantasy lineups.