Fantasy Football has become wildly popular over the last few years, it inspires camaraderie amongst friends and family, workplace waiver-wire talk, and even some heated disputes, such as MLB players slapping one another in the face over an IR dispute. Whether you play for fun, for pride amongst your friend group, or for money, Fantasy Football has something for everyone and it is here to stay. In order to avoid being the “homer” in your league and drafting nothing but Green Bay Packers players, let’s talk about who’s viable to win help win your fantasy leagues.
For this Green Bay Packers fantasy football outlook I want to get a few things clear first. For starters, I’m talking about season long leagues, daily fantasy is something that deals more with specific matchups and injuries week to week. Secondly, fantasy football should be fun for you, so if you want to take Aaron Rodgers in the first round of your league’s draft, I won’t be mad at you for having fun. Lastly, I’ll be mostly adhering to advice for a 10 team league, though I will sometimes give a “range” that a player should be drafted in, which allows for some wiggle room as far as league size goes.
I also want to preface by explaining some terminology I’ll be using for anyone who’s new to fantasy and may want to get involved this year. A “standard league” refers to standard scoring rules, points are decided based on yards, touchdowns, and turnovers. “PPR league” refers to any league that uses a points per reception scoring format on top of standard scoring rules. 0.5 PPR will refer to any league that, you guessed it, allots half of a point per reception that a player accrues. Finally, a “snake” order draft refers to a draft format where the team that has the first pick in the first round will have the final pick in the second round, the player with the second pick will have the second to last pick of the second round, etc. and this order continues back and forth until the draft concludes. I’d also advise that if your league doesn’t use a snake order draft you should find a new league — but, I digress — let’s begin.
Are There any Packers Players Worthy of a First Round Pick?
I’ll start off by saying yes, there is one… in some cases. Aaron Jones is by far the most viable player on this Packers roster for putting up major fantasy points week-to-week in 2022. Fantasy players like to start off with their running backs for good reason, they touch the ball more than any pass catcher, they can always score on the goal line, and the right running back is a plug and play every single week. My hesitancy to outright label Jones a worthwhile first round pick falls on the details of some of your leagues, those details being number of teams, as well as scoring format.
If we’re talking PPR or 0.5PPR it almost doesn’t matter how many teams are in your league, Jones should be a top four or five running back off of the board, and no less than the eighth player overall. The Packers still have an MVP quarterback, and Aaron Jones has slowly become an incredibly talented pass catcher for him. You don’t have to worry about A.J. Dillon cutting into Jones’ carries if Jones is averaging around six passing targets per game, and it looks like he will. Aaron Jones averaged 4.3 targets per game last season with the best receiver in football on his team, and it’s fair to say there are some free receptions to go around with Adams out of the picture. I will also note that in Davante Adams’ lone absence last season we saw Aaron Jones targeted 11 times, and he brought in seven of those passes for 54 yards, which added to a nice outing. In short, if you’re in a PPR league, target Aaron Jones as early as possible, unless you have a top-four pick and like your other options better.
In standard scoring leagues, it gets a little bit trickier. I like Aaron Jones as the 5th or 6th running back off of the board in standard format, but since there is less reason to take pass catchers early on in this format, he may just be the right choice with any pick between seven and ten depending on how your draft board falls. I get wanting to get a receiver squared away early so that you have a “plug and play” guy that you don’t have to worry about starting every week, but there are really only one or two players worth that decision over an elite back likes Jones, so make your decision wisely. If you’re in an eight team league then Jones may be an early second round option, but if you’re in a ten team league with the last pick in the first round, I’d advise taking Aaron Jones if he’s there (and if you’re in a snake order draft then you’ll have the 11th overall pick to play around with too).
Which Other Packers Should be Targeted?
There is a short list of remaining Packers players that I think need to be on fantasy teams regardless of format, league size, etc. I’ll round them out here.
The first that I will mention is the Packers defense. Defenses in fantasy can be tricky, sometimes everyone waits until the final few rounds of the draft to begin filling out the defense spot, and sometimes the best defense leaves the board in the second round, but the Packers have a top five defense in the league on paper, so they’ll be a popular choice for a defense. As a sane person, I’d feel out the draft and wait until the seventh or eighth round at the earliest to select this defense. It’s always viable to play weekly matchups and waivers for defenses, so don’t break your back reaching for this pick, but know that they are slated to be very good.
Aaron Rodgers has unfortunately slipped down my list of fantasy QBs for this upcoming season. I believe Aaron Rodgers is one of the top three quarterbacks in football right now, but his fantasy outlook isn’t great. I would target Rodgers as about the 9th to 12th quarterback off of the board if I drafted right now. Losing Davante Adams hurts his edge in the passing game a bit and while I believe he’ll win football games, he won’t win you too many fantasy football games with a run-heavy offense and somewhat limited mobility. The QBs with the most fantasy football upside are the guys who can run and pass almost equally well. This is the case since rushing offers a safe floor, and rushing yards/touchdowns are typically worth more points than passing. Rodgers is an elite talent, but he’ll mostly play within his means in the offense this season, and probably won’t be putting up MVP numbers in 2022. I would target Rodgers in the mid to late rounds of the draft, especially because the disparity between QBs in fantasy is almost irrelevant at times, and the other positions on offense are where you make up differences with the game changing players. Rodgers is a week-to-week start for me in fantasy, but if you have an equally good option on your bench, maybe play the better matchup between the two.
Allen Lazard is shaping up to be a good WR2 option on your fantasy team. I’d select him as the 15th to 20th receiver off the board, maybe a little bit higher in PPR since he’ll likely be the number one target for a QB of Rodgers’ caliber. The Packers will look to spread the ball out this season though, and I think even if Lazard leads the team in targets he will be touchdown-dependent to have those incredible scoring days in fantasy. There’s not much to say here except that you can certainly do worse than Lazard as your fantasy team’s second receiver, but you may not want him as your WR1.
Packers Players to Stash on Your Bench
The rest of the Packers players listed will be bench plays for various reasons. Robert Tonyan, for instance, is someone you’ll want to target in the mid rounds, but you’ll want another tight end to pair up with him. This is due to the possibility that Tonyan may not be ready for week one, and because he may not be incredibly effective in his first few games back. Tonyan will be afforded his share of Davante’s missing targets when it’s time for him to suit up, but he’s not some world beater, its probably smart to have another viable tight end on your roster.
There are two to three more Packers wide receivers that I am comfortable drafting in the mid to late rounds in a fantasy draft. Christian Watson, who I would target as early as round eight, and then Sammy Watkins and Romeo Doubs, who I would target in the final two to five rounds of your draft, depending on league size and bench size. Watkins is a desperation or injury play, and Watson and Doubs, as most rookies in the NFL, are kind of an unknown. Watson may be incredible, and he may not get a huge chance in the offense this year. Exercise some caution if you’re picking him to be your team’s savior, but take a risk if you’d like to, it may just pay off. Doubs is a similar situation, only I’d stash him late. No one’s taking him before the last round or so unless you’re playing with a bunch of other Packers fans.
Last but not least, A.J. Dillon. I’d target Dillon as the 30th or so RB off of the board. He may go earlier than that, so reach if you’d like, but the 10th to 12th round range seems right for Dillon. If Aaron Jones gets injured you’ll have an automatic starter, which is why you may want to “handcuff” the two picks together if you select Aaron Jones early on. Dillon is an incredibly capable back, and he’s one of the most desirable bench running back options in fantasy. Don’t risk losing out on a good starter to grab him, but think abut him when you start filling out your bench (or your flex spot in a 12 or 14 man league where running backs fly off of the board rapidly).
I know I’ve given advice on where to take these players, but my best advice is this: don’t take all of these players. Even if a few of them are available after my suggested draft round, it’s smart to have variety on your fantasy team. The Packers shouldn’t lose you a game in fantasy just because they had a bad loss or played against a good defense. Factor in the bye week and you’ll have an automatic loss if you have too many Packers on your roster.
Even if you don’t follow any of my advice or care about my rankings, go have fun playing some fantasy football this year. I know I will.
Zack is a college student and cheesehead from California. When he’s not in class or writing, you can find him talking about the Packers on Twitter at @Zack_Upchurch.