In our “32 in 32” series, we are highlighting three of the most notable fantasy football players for each team, covering all 32 teams in 32 days!
Jordan Love (QB - Green Bay Packers):
The Green Bay Packers are now under the reign of Jordan Love with the departure of Aaron Rodgers to New York this offseason, and with it, tons of opportunity but just as much uncertainty.
Love was selected 26th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft, coming out of Utah State where he had a successful collegiate career but a rough final season in college. Love put his name on the map in a 2018 sophomore season with over 3,600 yards, 39 total TDs, and just 6 INTs, getting looks as a potential top-10 pick prior to his final season in college.
Utah State then underwent massive changes to the offensive scheme and personnel, leaving Love in an entirely new offense that he would go on to struggle within in 2019, going for 3,579 yards and 20 TDs but 17 INTs. The talent and potential have always been there for Love as a ‘gun slinger’ type of QB, but the issue has always been consistency, whether it be in decision-making or accuracy.
He hasn’t seen much action over the last two seasons with Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, drawing just 1 start and three games of significant action. There have been flashes of potential in those games, especially in limited action against Philadelphia last season where he went 6/9 for 113 yards and a TD. However, there have also been major flaws, especially in his rookie season where he went a combined 29 for 51 in two games of significant action, tallying 324 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, and 19.3 total fantasy points.
The receiving corps doesn’t jump out for 2023 but has a ton of promise long-term with FIVE draft picks (including three in the first 3 rounds of the 2023 NFL Draft) spent on WRs/TEs – most notably bringing in WR Jayden Reed and TE Luke Musgrave in the 2nd round to be paired with 2022 2nd rounder, Christian Watson.
There’s a lot of potential in Love but a lack of proven production and nothing beyond an average supporting cast makes it very difficult to set high expectations for him in fantasy, especially without him being a run-oriented QB like Fields, Jackson, Anthony Richardson, and company. I like him as a ‘dart throw’ QB2 option to be paired with a high-security QB1 (Mahomes, Allen, Hurst, Burrow, etc.) to give you some upside on the bench, but beyond that, he’s best suited to be a streaming option and/or potential waiver wire target mid-season.
Aaron Jones (RB - Green Bay Packers):
Even after four consecutive seasons as a top-12 fantasy RB and a top-10 finish in 2022, there may have never been more questions surrounding Aaron Jones’ fantasy prospects as there are heading into 2022.
Jones now enters life without Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, and while Rodgers’ wasn’t an MVP-caliber QB in 2022 (like years prior), the move away from the veteran introduces major question marks around the Packers' offense, especially with a young QB in Jordan Love getting just his second career start in Week 1 and Jones’ lack of history without Rodgers at QB (7 career GP without Rodgers, 6 during Jones’ rookie season).
We will likely see an increase in utilization for Jones in the receiving game with a younger QB at the helm, improving on Jones’ already impressive 72 targets in 2022 (8th among RBs).
While I anticipate the offense moving towards a more balanced play-calling style, I wouldn’t expect a massive increase in Jones’ rushing opportunities. Jones has only managed a career-high of 236 carries in a season (2019) and doesn’t have the typical make-up of a traditional workhorse RB. Expect Jones to get the early-down and receiving work in the backfield with Dillon seeing a significant uptick in utilization, especially as a change-of-pace back in Love’s first season as a starter.
Now by no means is that saying Jones will struggle, or even that he will see a reduced workload from 2022, (quite the opposite) – just temper expectations on what the share of the backfield will be between Jones and Dillon.
I’m still targeting Jones at his current early-to-mid 3rd-round projected price (RB14, RB16 on ECR and ADP). The upside is certainly there for Jones to replicate his last several seasons of RB1 success if Love can develop as a serviceable QB in the NFL, but the question marks that revolve around the uncertainty with Love push Jones from being selected as an RB1 on draft day.
Christian Watson (WR - Green Bay Packers):
As a rookie, Christian Watson played a big role in fantasy owners winning several weeks in the middle of the season, going four straight games with a TD and 21+ points as the overall WR1 in that stretch.
The season-long stats were solid for Watson, especially after a slow start, finishing his rookie season with 41 catches for 691 total yards and 9 TDs as the WR40 in PPR scoring. Unfortunately, that type of production isn’t sustainable. He saw nearly all of that production via long touchdowns that when gone. It showed with his 32.9% TD Dependency (worst among top-40 WRs) and left him virtually unplayable with just one other game (Week 18) all season of 11+ points.
There’s no question that he’s exceeding his 66 targets he received as a rookie, likely coming closer to the 100+ target mark in his sophomore season, but the dependency on TDs for production is a major red flag for his 2023 prospects, especially with the Packers offense likely taking a step backward with the change in QB from the 2020 & 2021 MVP in Aaron Rodgers to Jordan Love with just 1 career start to-date.
The talent is there, but I don’t foresee the per-touch efficiency remaining as inflated as we saw in 2022 with a regressing offense, especially with weapons like Romeo Doubs (now fully healthy), Jayden Reed (2nd Round), Luke Musgrave (2nd round), and Tucker Kraft (3rd round) all added or returning this offseason that have the potential to be redzone threats.
I would be okay with Watson as a mid-WR3 option, but it doesn’t appear that he will come close to that price as he’s being projected as a mid-WR2 (WR19) in the 4th round (4.05) on ADP and as a low-end WR2/high-end WR3 on ECR. If he were to fall beyond those price points into the 6th round as a value WR3 option, I will bite, but outside of that, it appears he is being overvalued due to a strong four-game stretch where he found long-TD success.