This article is about a 10-minute read.
In a Backfield Breakdown, we will look at a team's running backs from all angles. Is there a bell-cow back on the roster? How about sleepers? What roles do we foresee from these backs?
Let's find out about Green Bay right now.
In 2019, Aaron Jones was a workhorse. He accumulated over 1500 total yards from scrimmage along with 49 catches and 16 touchdowns. That production was good enough for him to finish as RB2 in PPR scoring and as RB3 in non-PPR. Usually, when such a prolific back remains with the same team, you can pretty much project similar statistics in the next season. Many in the fantasy community are doing that. But some aren't.
That's because the Packers selected rookie A.J. Dillon in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Dillon, in three years at Boston College, gained 4382 yards and 38 touchdowns on 845 carries.
And we can't forget about Jamaal Williams, who had 695 yards and 6 scores on 146 touches.
Does Jones hold off the rookie all season? Is Dillon a definite handcuff target after drafting Jones? Does Williams' role change at all? Is there room for another back like Dexter Williams or Tyler Ervin to carve out a role?
How does this backfield shake out in 2020?
I'm mystified by the lack of respect Aaron Jones is getting. As noted above, usually, fantasy enthusiasts assume Year N+1 closely resembles Year N, but not in this case. And that's a head-scratcher because AJ Dillon isn't being drafted like he's a threat to steal the job. Everyone in the Packers backfield is discounted right now, which makes it a fantastic target. We know Jones' upside because we saw it last year. He can be one of the two or three best players as the position. Even if you assume touchdown regression, it's hard to see why he's being drafted in the second round behind players who have neither done what he did last year nor have the stability from 2019 to 2020 in terms of supporting cast.
I'm a huge Dillon fan and he's among my favorite RB2s based on his ADP. I have no doubt he, too, could be an every-week fantasy starter if Jones gets hurt. That assumes Jamaal Williams isn't a threat for touches, and I don't think he is with Dillon in house. The pandemic probably gives Williams a stay of execution, but he'll be the RB3 by mid-October at the latest.
I actually agree with Jason but came to a different conclusion. With Aaron Jones, you should either love him and draft him accordingly or bypass him. There should be no middle ground. Aaron Jones finished 2019 as the third-ranked running back yet no one seems in any hurry to draft him anywhere near that slot in 2020. Why? Highly productive running backs in the NFL should be valuable to a franchise. Well, the Packers seem to be running to avoid paying him franchise back money and drafted A.J. Dillon in the second round. My estimation is that the Packers will use Dillon once he is ready to see if he can take the load for 2021 onwards. Jones does have the opportunity to take the job early, keep it and smash his ADP. Maybe he even forces the Packers to enter serious long term talks. Drafting a quarterback in round one and running back in round two were curious choices for Green Bay given how successful those two positions were in 2019. Dillon is the more likely of the two to see significant action this year.
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