As the mercury rises and we inch closer to training camp openings, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Derek Brown, profile their favorite Booms, Busts, Breakouts and Bets for every NFL team. Giddy up, gamers. Today’s topic: Some Storied Franchise with an Unhappy Camper.
Fantasy Football Booms - Packers
Davante Adams, WR
Adams is an alpha wide receiver at the peak of his powers. He was operating in a different area code from every other NFL pass-catcher last season. Adams finished as the WR1 in fantasy points per game (25.6), which is well known, but his dominance needs greater context here. Since 2012, the closest any wide receiver has been to matching that type of per game fantasy output was Odell Beckham (24.6 points per game) in his rookie season.
In the slot or outside, no defense can stop Adams at this juncture. He ranked first in yards per route run among all wide receivers with 15 or more targets against man coverage (4.30). This is to illuminate that regardless of whether Aaron Rodgers is under center this season, Adams is not a player to fade. Even if he's adjusting to lame-duck or errant passes on occasion from Jordan Love, he’s an unstoppable force. Would his ceiling take a hit? Sure, but the combination of elite talent and volume still would breed fantastic results. Adams would morph into pre-Deshaun WatsonDeAndre Hopkins. An unquestioned WR1 still in all formats. — Derek Brown
Davante Adams, WR
Will he or won’t he? That, my fellow fantasy freakazoids, is the $64,000 question tied to a certain complicated fella. No one has any worldly idea how the standoff between Aaron Rodgers and unbudging GM Brian Gutekunst will play out. The disgruntled passer ultimately has three options: 1) Fold and return to the club, 2) Hold out and force a trade to Denver in time for Week 1, or 3) Retire, host Jeopardy!, live out his days with his Hollywood-starlet future wife and jet occasionally to the Hawaiian Islands. The seemingly endless soap opera will soon play its final episode.
Even if Jordan Love is a complete trainwreck — a distinct possibility — Adams should post standout WR1-level numbers. Yes, really. His decisive cuts, ability to separate from defenders and reliable hands could make any QB look good. Last season with Rodgers at the helm, he ranked top-five in catch rate (77.5%), yards per route run (2.97), target share (34.1%), total red zone targets (27), touchdowns (18) and total yards after catch (587). A decline in production should be expected if No. 12 goes elsewhere, but don’t expect a harsh correction.
For those willing to take on the risk in early drafts, he’s a stone-cold steal in Round 2 of 12-team leagues. Assuming Rodgers doesn’t arrive at training camp on time, the receiver’s 13.52 ADP will only tumble further. Take advantage of the skittish. — Brad Evans
2021 Fantasy Football Busts - Packers
Robert Tonyan, TE
Similar to a General Motors assembly line, Green Bay’s Tonka Truck was the epitome of efficiency in 2020. Among tight ends, he set the pace in catch rate (88.1%), hauling in 11 touchdowns on just 59 total targets. A combination of Rodgers’ pinpoint accuracy and defenses keying on Adams buoyed the tight end’s red-zone production, elevating him from waiver wire unknown to weekly starting mainstay.
Duplicating last year’s numbers, however, will prove difficult, even if Rodgers is under center Week 1. As many fanalysts, this one included, often contend, touchdowns are often fickle. It’s hard justifying statistical replication for a guy who commanded a mere 12.9% of the team’s target share. Add in the unknowns and he’s avoidable at his 108.1 (TE10) ADP. Logan Thomas, Tyler Higbee or Noah Fant are finer options available around the same time. — Brad Evans
Robert Tonyan, TE
While Jace Sternberger was the talk of tight end sleeper town this time last year, Tonyan came out of nowhere, leaving that conversation moot. Tonyan's efficiency was off the charts no matter what metric you discuss. He finished last season third in yards per target (9.9), seventh in yards per route run (1.79), and first in target separation (2.64). Out of these statistics, the one that matters the most to his fantasy production and the most likely to take a hit is touchdown production.
Last year, Tonyan secured an astounding 90.9% of his red-zone targets, converting 63.6% of them into touchdowns. Among all players with 11 or more red-zone targets, only Adam Thielen converted his targets into touchdowns at a higher rate (68.4%). A regression candidate that ranked 19th in routes among tight ends with quarterback questions. No thanks. Let other drafters chase last year's results while you search for this year's diamond in the rough at tight end later in drafts. — Derek Brown
Fantasy football breakouts for the Packers
A.J. Dillon, RB
With Jamaal Williams now in the Motor City, Dillon has a clear path to weekly volume. Williams’ 150 combined touches last year is a fairly easy mark for Dillon to hit with more of his work possibly coming on the ground. Last year, he looked like a player deserving of more work, making the most of his 48 combined touches. Dillon showed off the ability to churn out hard-fought yards with his redwood-sized thighs. He finished 10th in yards created per touch (1.90) among all running backs, immediately ahead of Dalvin Cook.
If Jordan Love is under center Week 1, the Packers could increase last year's 41% (23rd) neutral-script rushing rate. If that's the case, don't be surprised if Dillon is shouldering 10-12 touches per game out the gate. If Aaron Jones were to miss time, the sky's the limit for his weekly volume. — Derek Brown
A.J. Dillon, RB
Documented repeatedly on social media, Dillon never skimps on the squats and lunges. The dude is built like a ‘70s-era gas guzzling Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme — strong, durable and intimidating. When a diminutive DB attempts to tackle him in the open field, it’s very much a business decision. Unsurprisingly, his 3.57 yards after contact per attempt last season checked in at No. 6 among all rushers who played at least 50 snaps. ‘Quadzilla’ and Aaron Jones are sure to form one of the nastiest 1-2 punches at RB in the NFL.
Make no mistake, Dillon will operate as the complement. Still, that was a role Jamaal Williams cranked out flex-serviceable numbers in. Likely grabbing the 35-38% opportunity share (Roughly 9-11 touches per game) with Williams in Detroit, the sophomore rusher has a real chance of penetrating the position’s top-30, especially if he secures occasional red-zone work. If Jones were to miss anytime, he would promptly vault into the RB top-10. Given the upsides, he’s a phenomenal depth add at his 92.13 ADP (RB35). — Brad Evans
Best Bets for the Packers 2021
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