On the eve of 2021 Free Agency, Aaron Jones inked a massive four-year, $48 million contract to return to the Packers. Yes, Jones’ return lacks the “sizzle” of a new home. How sexy would Jones have looked in 49ers Cherry Red?! Or Dolphins aqua?!
Still, the fantasy “steak” in Green Bay is quite hearty, and arguably the best spot for Jones’ 2021 fantasy outlook.
Over the past two seasons under Matt LaFleur, Jones has finished as the RB2 (318 FPs, 19.9 FPPG) and RB5 (257, 18.4). He’s a pristine fit in LaFleur’s zone-based scheme, patiently allowing holes to develop before bursting through with his trademark zip.
Moreover, the Packers’ whole offense took an enormous leap in LaFleur’s second year, ranking first in points per game (31.5) and overall Red Zone efficiency. Sure, Jones’s absurd 19 total TDs (2019) regressed to 11, but he still ranked 7th among RBs in housecalls. His weekly floor was also significantly higher, as Jones fell outside the Top-24 RBs and below double-digit FPs just twice (14%), compared to five times (31%).
Plus, Jones’ target-upside is at an all-time high with Jamaal Williams gone. Williams leaves behind 194 routes, 35 targets, 31 receptions and 236 receiving yards. Sure, A.J. Dillon can catch. Thunder Thighs also saw just two targets all year on a meager 32 routes, after hauling in a grand total of 21 receptions in college.
In short: Jones could hit 100 targets in 2021.
Speaking of Dillon, Jones’ return obviously caps his sophomore ceiling. This monster had genuine RB1 upside if he emerged as the Packers’ RB1.
Still, many will bury the former B.C. Bruiser far too soon, and there’s plenty of (quad) meat on this bone with Williams gone. Dillon should slide right into the RB2 slot, and is built for goalline duties in 2020’s top-ranked offense. Jones likely remains the first option at the stripe, but don’t be surprised if Dillon approaches 6-8 scores himself.
Plus, Jones has missed time in every season outside 2019. Last season, Williams finished with 21.4 (RB6) and 18.2 (RB8) FPs in two spot-starts, while Dillon himself rumbled for 25.9 FPs when featured in Week 16 (21 carries, 124 yards, 2 TDs).
So no, RB1 Dillon won’t be a thing in 2021. Still, Dillon will be the ultimate “handcuff-with-benefits,” and his dynasty value likely won’t be lower than right now. I’d make a stab.
Check out The Wolf’s latest 2021 Fantasy Football Big Board & Rankings to see where all these players and more fall after 2021 NFL Free Agency!