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Fantasy Forecast: 2022 Green Bay Packers

The Packers offense is prolific year in and year out but overhauled the WR room in the offseason. How will ARod perform this year? Does the RB duo of Jones and Dillon have the juice to carry the squad?

The Green Bay Packers have been one of the best teams in the NFL for decades. It certainly helps to have back-to-back Hall of Fame quarterbacks play under center. To that end, Aaron Rodgers has led a team full of fantasy and dynast-relevant players, which have bolstered our fantasy lineups. After falling short in two consecutive NFC Title Games, last season, the Packers clinched the number one seed in the conference before failing to make the NFC Title Game. The team has undergone some drastic changes to its offensive skill set. In particular, the receiver room looks nothing like past seasons. With the reigning MVP back under center, I believe the Packers will again field an impressive array of fantasy and dynasty-relevant players for your roster. Let’s dive into the 2022 rendition of the Green Bay Packers without further ado. 

QUARTERBACK

Aaron Rodgers

As the back-to-back reigning MVP, Rodgers is the standard by which we judge NFL QBs. Since taking over for fellow Hall-of-fame QB Brett Favre, Rodgers has carved out a legacy in Title Town USA that is equally impressive. Rodgers is one of the most efficient QBs ever to play the game. He has led the NFL in the TD-to-Int ratio in six different seasons. You can see from his career numbers below that he is a lock for Canton when the time comes. 

As you can see from the numbers, Rodgers is ultra-consistent. He has been a QB1 more often than not. You have to go back to an injury-shortened 2017 to find a season in which he didn’t finish in the top 12. Rodgers wins with his arm. While far from a statue, he doesn’t rely on rushing to make him a top-end fantasy QB. This makes him one of the safer options out there when selecting QBs. Just look at the wonderful placement of the passes below. 

The only question about Rodgers in 2022 will be his weapons. We will delve into it a little deeper in the WR section, but Green Bay lost its top two WRs and a handful of other meaningful contributors. Despite the loss of talent around him, you can feel reasonably confident that the MVP will finish no worse than a low-end QB1 with an upside for more moving forward, pending the development of his young weapons.

RUNNING BACKS

If there is a position of strength on the Packers squad aside from the QB, it would certainly be the RB group. Highlighted by a pair of solid backs, this group will likely form the core of the Green Bay attack. Rodgers is the most accurate QB ever, and his play-action game has become lethal in recent seasons with the addition of a credible running game. 

Aaron Jones

Jones is first up on the depth chart. The former UTEP Miner has been a fantastic RB in Green Bay ever since being selected in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL draft. At the time of his selection, he was not drafted as the main RB. That honor fell to fellow 2017 pick Jamaal Williams, who was selected in the fourth round. Despite being the second player taken, Jones quickly rose the depth chart. Buoyed by his home run ability, he eventually took a stranglehold on the RB position and never let go. 

Jones has been a lethal weapon in both the running and passing game for the packers. Rodgers has routinely used him in the past, with Jones catching nearly 50 passes in each of the past three seasons. With his top WRs from last season gone, I would safely assume that Rodgers will lean heavily on his trusted RB as an outlet option swinging out of the backfield. You can see from his numbers below that Jones is undoubtedly capable of bailing his QB out.

I fully expect the Packers to lean heavily on their multi-purpose RB in the second season of his new contract. The team has potential out in his deal after this season, so I am sure they will want to evaluate the player about the future. Jones will surely get all the opportunity to put up another high-end RB1 campaign. I wouldn’t be shocked to see the team split him out wide in the passing game, given he has shown the ability to win in that area. With the ability to make plays in the passing and running game like the ones you see below, he will surely be a busy man on Sundays. 

AJ Dillon

The second major component in the Packers’ running game would be third-year RB Dillon, AKA Quadzilla. The former Boston College standout has been a bruiser of a back since being selected in the second round just a few short seasons ago. Initially taken as somewhat of an insurance policy against a potential Jones free-agent departure, Dillon has grown into a nice thunder compliment to Jones’ lightning. 

Few players in NFL history have been as agile as Dillon at this size. He is literally off the charts. At shy of 250 lbs., Dillon has more of the look of a 1990s middle linebacker than an RB. Despite this, the big man uses his nimble feet and excellent instinct to punish defenders. You can see just how unique of a specimen he is below. 

After punishing ACC defenders for three seasons, Dillon has found a way to bring his game to the next level. After enduring a slow rookie season, he had a mini breakout last year with more than 1,000 total yards, 803 of which were on the ground. The Packers would get up on opponents, then use Dillon to bully them late in games and take the fight out of the opposition. The very first TD of his career highlights just how hard he can be to bring down. He routinely fights through arm tackles, and when it’s cold outside in Green Bay, he is a monster to deal with.

In much the same fashion as Jones, I expect a heavy workload for Dillon in 2022. The Packers will be looking to bring along their new pass catchers and want to protect their MVP QB. What better way to do so than to allow their pair of talented ball carriers to set the tone early and often against their opponents? This will set up the play-action, where Rodgers is one of the best in the business. His accuracy and the hard count will pair nicely with a player like Dillon. 

Despite being a bruiser in the running game and showing little to nothing in the receiving game during his college career, Dillon blossomed as a pass catcher in 2021. His 34/313/2 stat line was more than his three-year college career combined. He showed good enough hands and the ability to make chunk gains after the catch, potentially setting him up for an expanded role this season. Dillon and Jones could be in line for career highs in targets, provided they can make plays like the one Dillon made last year below. 

For my money, Dillon is one of the better backup running backs to own in dynasty. He has the draft pedigree and loyalty of the front office to guarantee his roster spot. He has the production and trust of his QB to give him a legitimate stake to touches in the offensive scheme. Dillon has the proven production to be a low-end RB2/Flex play even if Jones stays healthy and on the team. Best of all, he has the handcuff status of being a sure-fire RB1 and potential league winner if Jones were to miss an extended period of time for some reason. Dillon is an excellent RB4 for your dynasty squads, with the potential for much more. 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Here is where the Packers’ depth chart gets dicey. Following several excellent seasons, the team essentially remade their WR room. The most significant loss was obviously the All-Pro WR Davante Adams. He and Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Equanimeous St. Brown, and others departed from Title Town. In their place is a hodgepodge of holdovers and retreads that do not inspire the greatest confidence. Currently, the depth chart stands at Allen Lazard, Sammy Watkins, and Randall Cobb as the veteran first-liners, with several youngsters highlighted by last year’s third-rounder, Amari Rodgers, and this year’s second and fourth-rounders, Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs.

Allen Lazard

Of the veteran players on the roster, only Lazard is worth discussing in detail. He has shown flashes in the past of developing into a player that can dominate defenders in the NFL. The fifth-year man out of Iowa State has shown steady development every season. Along the way, he has earned the trust of his QB. Sure, Watkins and Cobb have years and experience on Lazard, but the youngster may just be coming into his own. 

Last season, despite playing behind Adams and Valdez-Scantling, Lazard became one of the primary red zone weapons for the MVP. While receiving just 60 total targets and 40 catches, eight of those went for TDs. Simply put, the former Cyclone is a weapon down by the goal. He effectively uses every bit of his 6’5″ frame to body out defenders, all while moving like a true WR. You can see his statistical progression below. 

Some people compare Lazard’s career trajectory to former Packer great Jordy Nelson. While the numbers and comparison are fascinating, I’m not sure I buy that big of a jump for the new Green Bay WR1. Lazard is undoubtedly in for an expanded role, and if his past performances indicate, he may well succeed. Last season, when Adams was out in the game against the Saints and Lazard was thrust into the WR1 role, he exploded for season highs across the board, including this gem of a catch below. 

Somebody has to catch the ball in Green Bay. Despite some flash plays by youngsters in camp and preseason, Rodgers has been critical of his WRs and suggested that he wants the veterans in the lineup for Week 1. It doesn’t take a genius to see that Lazard has a golden opportunity in front of him to cement his position with Rodgers for his career finish and cement his place in Packers lore. Lazard is an excellent value at his current ADP, and I have no problem investing up to a late first-round pick for a player with his type of upside. 

The Rookies

Behind the veteran trio, you have another set of younger playmakers on the Packers squad. Watson and Doubs are the two newcomers, with sophomore slot dynamo Amari Rodgers rounding out the group. This trio of young playmakers will be the future of the WR position for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Aside from Lazard, there is very little standing in the way of a breakout season by any of these youngsters. 

Watson is the member of the group with the pedigree and draft stock. The former North Dakota State WR burst onto the scene after showing extremely well at the NFL combine. He blazed one of the faster times of the weekend, and given his size and overall profile, it is easy to see how he shot up draft boards despite less than elite college production. 

Watson has missed nearly the entire off-season program due to injury. With Rodgers being one of the biggest sticklers for players being in the right place at the right time, this is certainly an issue. Watson is behind on the playbook and lacks the chemistry built by other players, including his fellow youngsters. However, the one thing that Watson has on the others is his tool set. Of all the WRs on the Packers roster, nobody possesses the raw skills of Watson. He is big like Lazard but also the fastest WR in the room. He is an excellent blocker, and once he gets on the field, he has a chance to establish himself as the true Alpha in Title Town. Watson is worth a first-round pick investment on your dynasty squads with the ability to make plays like the ones you see below.  

While Watson comes in with the pedigree and flash, fellow rookie WR Romeo Doubs has stolen the show in his absence. Few rookies have shot up draft boards throughout the summer like Romeo. The former University of Nevada standout has been making plays left and right throughout the preseason. The two-time First-Team All-Mountain West WR has transitioned nicely to the NFL level. While not the physical specimen that his fellow rookie is, Doubs brings an excellent skill set to the NFL, as evidenced by his play on the field. 

Behind Lazard, nothing is guaranteed on the Packers’ WR depth chart. While it is true that Rodgers has been critical of the youngsters for missed assignments and dropped passes, plays like the ones you see above do not go unnoticed by the coaching staff or the MVP. Doubs has a legitimate chance to play himself into a starting role. The Packers will surely go with the best player for the job. The team has allowed later draft picks to supplant their more heralded teammates, such as in the case of Jones and Jamaal Williams. Some have taken the opportunity of Doubs flashing to sell the rookie while his name is hot. I am still in the camp of buying the former Nevada star. If the value stays in the second-round range, sign me up all day. 

Amari Rodgers

Rodgers is also a name to file away for the future. The former Clemson Tiger is best suited as a slot man. As such, he will once again be blocked by QB favorite Cobb. While I expect Amari to see more time on the field this season, Cobb will assure that it is not enough to be fantasy relevant in the short term. However, this is a dynasty, and Rodgers still offers some decent upside moving forward after the imminent departure of Cobb. There are far worse players to stash on your bench, and I wouldn’t mind throwing a third-round pick at the Rodgers owner to test his patience. Perhaps he isn’t willing to wait for the talent you can see below.

TIGHT ENDS

Robert Tonyan

The tight end will be an interesting position for the 2022 Green Bay Packers. Just two short years ago, Tonyan was the talk of the Dynasty community. Following his top-five finish and excellent relationship with Aaron Rodgers, the future looked bright for George Kittle’s workout partner. However, fast forward one season, and there is a different feel. After suffering through a slow start to the 2021 season, Tonyan tore his ACL in Week 8. Heading into 2022, Tonyan will be playing for his NFL future. He is in a contract year and will attempt to show that he is worth a significant money extension. So what does Tonyan bring to the table? 

The first thing that stands out when looking at Tonyan’s game is his abilities around the endzone. During his breakout season, he never put up a ton of catches or yards. Instead, he was a TD machine catching 11 of them in total. He is athletic enough and effectively uses his big frame to body out defenders around the ball. During the offseason, he is a workout partner for All-Pro TE George Kittle, and you can see a few similarities to their games. You can see a couple of his TD plays from his breakout campaign below.

Currently, the trade value for Tonyan is all over the map. Some owners have decided to move on, while others are holding out hope for a return to glory in 2022. There are certainly a lot of vacated targets in the Green Bay passing scheme. Tonyan also has an excellent relationship and connection with Aaron Rodgers. After a quick scan of our Dynasty Nerds trade browser, I found Tonyan going for anywhere from a fourth through a second-round pick in SuperFlex formats. It is just a question of your league. 

If Tonyan can regain his health and his role in the Packers’ passing game, he will be an excellent value for owners that can get him for a third or fourth-round pick. Sign me up for that price all day. He is the perfect upside TE2 for your team. Recent reports suggest that he is healthy and moving well at the Packers camp. But don’t take my word for it; look at him running routes without a brace and decide for yourself if he is worth taking a chance on. 

Final Thoughts

The 2022 Green Bay Packers offer a ton of upside for your Dynasty squads. From the MVP QB to outstanding RBs to upside WRs, there is a lot to like in Title Town USA. There will certainly be an adjusting period as the team acclimates to life without Adams. Rodgers will probably not tie fellow legend Favre and his Back-to-Back-to-Back MVPs, but he will certainly be a low-end QB1 at worst for your dynasty squads. Jones and Dillon will likely shoulder a larger portion of the overall offensive burden as the team leans on them while their young WRs adjust to life in the NFL. None of the Green Bay pass catchers are in the upper echelon of WRs or TEs heading into 2022. However, that does not mean they cannot finish there under the right circumstances. They provide excellent upside, all while coming at a depressed cost due to the perceived lack of established talent.

All-in-all, I like what I see in Green Bay and expect them to again challenge for another NFC North Title while giving you excellent value on your fantasy and dynasty squads. Take due notice thereof and govern yourself accordingly. 

Thank you for reading this article! I would like to dedicate this one to my father, who passed away this summer. He was a lifelong Packers fan and shareholder. This Bears fan enjoyed watching many a Sunday scrap between our teams. You will be forever missed, Dad, and I promise to attend a Packers shareholders meeting in your honor, although I’m not sure if I will be able to hold down my lunch.

Please be sure to join the #Nerdherd, so you don’t miss out on any of the fantastic things we have to offer @Dynastynerds.com. Use my promo code DynastyHolliday for a 15% off discount. You will get rankings, extra podcasts, and our rookie film room access. You can get access to our revolutionary DynastyGM for just a few more. So much for so little; why miss out on all the fun? Also, you absolutely must check out our new mock draft tool. Please find it in your Apple & Android app stores. Follow me @ReflipeWThenuz for more dynasty content and other musings.

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