The Green Bay Packers were the top team in the NFC in 2021, finishing with a 13-4 regular season record that gave them the top overall seed heading into the postseason. Running back Aaron Jones was a prominent factor in the team’s success as they entered the playoffs with championship expectations. Their hopes would be short-lived following a disappointing 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Divisional Round.
Green Bay still has championship aspirations heading into 2022 however they will have to achieve their goal amid a seismic shift on offense. That being said, it opens a great opportunity for Jones heading into the new season. If Jones can capitalize on the moment then he can potentially finish as one of the premier running backs in fantasy.
2021 season statistics & fantasy finish
Rushing: Jones finished with 171 carries for 799 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 53.3 yards per game and 4.7 yards per attempt.
Receiving: Jones caught 52 passes on 65 targets for 391 yards and six touchdowns. He recorded averages of 26.1 receiving yards per game and 7.5 yards per reception.
Fantasy: He finished 11th among running backs in PPR scoring with 229.0 total points and 14.3 points per game. In standard scoring formats, Jones finished with 177.0 total points and an average of 11.8 points per game, which ranked 13th among running backs.
Packers offseason moves
Green Bay put any uncertainty at the quarterback position to rest by agreeing to a three-year contract extension with Aaron Rodgers in the offseason. Unfortunately, the Packers will be without arguably two of their most prominent threats in the passing attack. Davante Adams was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders for a first and second-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Marques Valdes-Scantling then signed a three-year deal to join the Kansas City Chiefs.
2022 best-case scenario
The departure of Adams and Valdes-Scantling in the offseason leaves a void in the Packers’ offensive system, but there’s a chance that the void can be filled to an extent. Jones hovered around the top 10 among fantasy running backs in PPR scoring and could potentially benefit from more targets now with Adams and Valdes-Scantling gone. 2021 was Jones’ second-highest season with 65 targets and the best-case scenario would be for Jones to set a new career-high in that category. He may not replace the production of Adams and Valdes-Scantling, but more targets can lead to more fantasy production overall.
2022 worst-case scenario
Jones saw his total rushing yards dip from 1,104 in 2020 to 799 in 2021 and a noteworthy factor was the production from his fellow teammate AJ Dillon. Dillon increase his carries from 46 in 2020 to 187 in 2021 and it resulted in a career-high 803 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Green Bay more or less had a running back committee on their hands and while that may bode well for the team's success in 2022 it would only limit Jones’ potential fantasy production.
I think there will be more opportunities to run the ball in Green Bay now that the Packers will be waiting to see who can step up as the number one option in the passing attack. That being said I think 2021 hinted that a potential running back split is in store for the coming season. Dillon is younger (24 years old) compared to Jones (27 years old) and I think he’s in line to handle a good amount of carries should Matt Lafleur opt to use a committee in the backfield. Jones’ production won’t drastically fall but perhaps a top 15 finish is most likely in store for 2022.