The Green Bay Packers finished 2019 with a (13-3) record. The team captured the NFC North and fell one game short of making the Super Bowl. The team found this success despite ranking middle of the pack in terms of points scored (15th). Matt LaFleur and this offense failed to upgrade on offense, specifically at wide receiver, which left many people wondering what they are doing. The team took Jordan Love, who looks to be the heir apparent to Aaron Rodgers. The team also took running back AJ Dillon who joins an already somewhat crowed young backfield. Matt LaFleur appears to be modeling his offense from Kyle Shanahan, which is start with the ground game, which they have done, and then have players who are multi-dimensional in what they can do in the offense. A good example of this multi-dimensional player they are finding is third round pick Josiah Deguara, who is listed as a FB on teams depth chart at this point. The Packers appear like they are ready to reign in this offense and go towards a more heavy ground attack.
Aaron Rodgers/Jordan Love (QB) – the Packers went into the 2020 draft with an obvious eye to the future and not the present. This essentially hurts Rodgers for the 2020 season. The Packers under Matt LaFleur are obviously transitioning to a more run heavy philosophy. This hurts Rodgers value to us in fantasy leagues. Rodgers is no longer that locked in top 12 quarterback for fantasy. Look at the depth chart and you will see why this is. The Packers did nothing to upgrade his pass catching weapons this off season. The team acquired Devin Funchess who is yes a big body, but not that explosive player Rodgers no doubt was hoping for. When looking at Rodgers last 5 full seasons (16 games) we can see a quarterback’s numbers who are trending down. Over the last two seasons Rodgers has thrown for 25 and 26 touchdowns, that’s a rate of 4.2-4.6%. You compare this to the three full years prior when Rodgers threw for 38, 31, 40 touchdowns, at a rate of 7.3%, 5.4%, 6.6%. Yards totals have been decreasing as well, signaling a decline. This could be why the team felt the need to draft Rodgers successor this past draft, Jordan Love. Love figures to sit behind Rodgers for a few seasons to learn and develop in this system; however talks have surfaced of the team potentially moving on from Rodgers in 2021, which would thrust the young quarterback into the starting role.
Fantasy Spin: When looking at Rodgers for 2020 we just find ourselves very uninterested in him. The combination of lack of passing weapons, and the Packers going to a more ground heavy attack leaves us feeling this way. If you’re going to draft Rodgers in 2020 it is best to pair him with a young ascending quarterback such as Drew Lock or Daniel Jones, who offers upside. Rodgers is a middle of the pack QB2 for us as he ranks as our 20th quarterback in redraft. In dynasty he ranks as our 16th quarterback.
Aaron Jones/AJ Dillon (RB) – as discussed above we see the Packers wanting to lean towards a more run heavy approach in 2020. With this leaning on the ground game the Packers have two very good backs who offer different skill sets. Aaron Jones proved last season he is very good as not only a runner, but as a pass catcher as well. Jones and the team are trying to get a long term deal done to keep him in this backfield likely for the rest of his career. Jones has stated he wants to retire a Packer. The team then went out and drafted Dillon in the second round who comps similar to Derrick Henry, giving the Packers that true power back. Dillion has a similar frame to Henry, same weight, but not as tall. Dillon doesn’t possess the same vertical explosiveness as Henry, but in terms of lateral explosiveness he offers more.
Fantasy Spin: Jones was a touchdown machine in 2019, as he racked up 19 during the season. This is a big warning sign for 2020 because this screams regression. The team signing a power back in Dillon likely will limit Jones’ work inside the red zone, which means ultimately less opportunity to score. Jones is being taken as a first round pick in many drafts this year, and this is a mistake. There is no question that Jones is a top talent at the position, and likely figures to be the second target in this passing game, we just feel round two is where the value is on Jones. Jones comes in as a backend RB1 in redraft as he is our 9th ranked running back. In dynasty he is viewed as a running back two as our 17th ranked running back. Dillon offers more long term success then immediate 2020 success. We have him ranked as our 59th running back in redraft and our RB40 in dynasty.
Davante Adams/Allen Lazard (WR) – We know Adams is locked in as their alpha wide receiver; the question is who is on deck behind him. The Packers will likely be running a lot of 12 personnel in 2020 with Lewis and Sternberger. With the Packers looking more like a ground and pound team in 2020 we worry the passing attack will suffer. Adams has averaged over 133 targets the last four seasons, so could this number be going down? To answer this truthfully yes it could, but we look at this roster in terms of pass catchers and its clear there really is no competition for targets. Also keep in mind Adams suffered a significant turf toe injury during the week 4 game against the Eagles, where he was dominating with 10 catches for 180 by the third quarter. Adams then went onto miss 4 more games. The point being here is despite not being 100% right until the end of the season he still had a great season catching 83 balls for nearly 1,000 yards. Allen Lazard as of now figures to be the guy opposite Adams, as he showed good chemistry at times with Rodgers in 2019. Lazard is good at contested catches, and the fact that he is very good as a run blocker gives him the leg up on MVS and Funchess.
Fantasy Spin: Last season injuries to Adams cost fantasy owners games early in the season. When a first round pick goes down, it always rocks a team more then it doesn’t. So with the injury there should be no surprise that Adams saw regression in the touchdown column, which was a strength in 2018. The thing with Adams is he is historically consistent, as over the last few seasons is one of only three receivers to average 20 fantasy points per game. Adams is a locked in WR1 in redraft and dynasty as we have him ranked as our WR2 in both formats. If Adams can play all 16 games in 2020 lock in 10 touchdowns and over 100 receptions. Lazard is the only other receiver we would consider taking in any format here. Lazard is our 59th ranked WR in redraft, and 72nd ranked WR in dynasty.
Jace Sternberger/Marcedes Lewis (TE) – the second year tight end is an intriguing prospect for 2020. Sternberger gives Rodgers a dynamic pass catcher in the middle of the field to target. The thing with Sternberger the volume will not be there as he will not be an 80 ball catch guy. What Sternberger can be is a big athletic target, who in college demonstrated great run after the catch ability, as well as the ability to work and navigate the middle of the field. Lewis projects to us to be the teams blocking tight end in 2020, as he prides himself on being one of the leagues best at the position in this category.
Fantasy Spin: Sternberger should get plenty of opportunities in this offense, as we have stated above the team will look to run a lot of 12 personnel. There really isn’t a lot of competition for targets when Rodgers throws which should boost his target share considerably. Sternberger comes in as a back end TE2 in dynasty and redraft for us, as he ranks as our 22nd in redraft and 17th in Dynasty.
Defense – this unit ranked towards the top of the league in 2019 in terms of points allowed (9th). This defense was the epitome of bend don’t break in 2019. The team despite finishing top ten in points allowed gave up a lot of yards to opposing offenses, 121.5 on average to be precise. The team had some strong games in that area to help their over ranking to 23rd in rush yards allowed a game, but truthfully they were in the 27th ranked for most the season. The Packers were especially giving to opposing teams run game. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has to have his squad improve drastically in the trenches this season. However, the team did didn’t make any changes to the front of this defense so we look for this to be more of the same. This team was also vulnerable in the middle of the field and back end in giving up big plays. The team did improve in this area limiting less big plays as the season rolled on. The secondary is relatively young but very talented, as they forced a number of interceptions a season ago.
Fantasy Spin: This defense comes out to be pretty poorly ranked in our 2020 projections, as we have them ranked as our 27th defense. This projection seems to suggest we look elsewhere this coming season.
Strength of Schedule
The Packers wide receiver corps will face the 5th easiest schedule this fantasy regular season. Their playoff schedule will be the 13th easiest during weeks 14-16. The backs will be looking at the 16th toughest schedule during the fantasy regular season. The back will then have the 9th easiest schedule during the fantasy playoffs. Rodgers will face the 15th easiest schedule during the fantasy regular season, and the 2nd easiest during weeks 14-16. Sternberger will face the 10th toughest fantasy regular season schedule and will face the 11th easiest playoff schedule from weeks 14-16.