One of the jobs of a good fantasy analyst is not telling readers
who to select in their drafts, but rather to provide them with as
much relevant information as possible to make sound decisions. After
all, they are YOUR fantasy teams.
Change is one of the few constants in this world and the NFL
(and fantasy football, by extension) is no different in that regard.
To that end, it is often helpful to see if we can identify when
and why a particular event took place in the previous season when
looking ahead to the next one. Unfortunately, false narratives
are often created and certain myths are embraced as fact by the
fantasy community for any number of reasons, including but not
limited to wanting the easy answer to be the right answer.
Last week, I took
a look at the AFC to see if there is there some level of truth
to the narratives and maybe even debunk some myths. This week,
I'll dive into five situations in the NFC that require more examination
since they had a dramatic effect on how last season played out
and figure to impact fantasy owners again in 2020:
That's OK, he can make it up it the passing game, right? After
all, the lack of another prove receiver on the roster makes it
likely that Jones is primed to take another step forward in the
passing game. After all, he nearly doubled his previous career
highs with 68 targets and 49 receptions in 2019.
As many have noted throughout the spring and summer already,
Jones will lose snaps to Jamaal Williams and Dillon because the
Packers seem more committed to sharing the wealth than assigning
work based on talent or merit. What the fantasy community has
either largely ignored or missed is just how much of Jones' numbers
in the passing game came while Davante Adams missed four games
with an ankle injury last year.
Jones' 2019 averages w/ and w/o
Jones (w/ Adams)
Jones (w/o Adams)
Somewhat amazingly, Jones averaged the same amount of rushing yards
and rushing scores in the 12 games that Adams played as he did without
Rodgers' favorite target. The major difference, however, was Jones'
involvement in the passing game. Jones had 86 more receiving
yards in four games without Adams than he had in 12 games with him!
All three of his receiving TDs came in those same four contests.
His target rate doubled (3.4 to 6.8). His fantasy point average
nearly doubled as well (16.5 to 29.5). Both of his 40-point PPR
fantasy efforts came over that stretch as well.
Jones' 16-game pace w/ and w/o
It's rarely ever a great idea to much stock into pace totals like
the one above, but I feel it was worth it in this case to highlight
just how wide the disparity was. Jones' production without Adams
around would make Christian McCaffrey proud. With Adams, he would
have finished as the overall RB6, which doesn't sound too bad until
we consider he scored once every 15 touches - a level usually reserved
for the likes of Alvin Kamara. Although he has been quite efficient
from a touchdown perspective throughout his three-year pro career,
that's a hard ask for any back to repeat.
Also working against Jones is the likelihood none of his teammates
will fare as poorly as they did last season statistically. Allen Lazard may not move the needle as Adams' primary sidekick, but
he'll improve on last year's 35-477-3 line if he can play in all
16 games. Devin Funchess should match and will likely exceed the
26 catches and 452 receiving yards from Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
Sternberger should match or exceed Jimmy Graham's 38-447-3 offering.
The point of bringing up each of the last three players is that
Jones probably won't be replacing their production. If anything,
there will be less of the "production pie" available
Jones proved late in the season - including both playoff games
- there is plenty of opportunity for him and Adams to produce
in the same game, and it should be noted the former saw solid
albeit inconsistent involvement in the passing game with Adams
around down the stretch. Nevertheless, Jones is a running back
who appears to be getting squeezed for carries, some goal-line
work and possibly even as a receiver - just about every way a
back can produce fantasy points - coming off a very efficient
season. Regression is coming, it's just a matter of how much.
So while Jones is too talented to be a complete disappointment
in fantasy this year, a non-RB1 season is well within the range
of outcomes if Green Bay doesn't prioritize getting him the ball.
Doug Orth has written for FF Today
since 2006 and been featured in USA Today's Fantasy Football Preview
magazine since 2010. He hosted USA Today's hour-long, pre-kickoff
fantasy football internet chat every Sunday in 2012-13 and appears
as a guest analyst on a number of national sports radio shows, including
Sirius XM's "Fantasy Drive". Doug is also a member of the Fantasy
Sports Writers Association.