It’s that time of year again when the dark days of professional sports break a bit for the light of the upcoming NFL season. With that new NFL season comes the excitement of your next opportunity to dominate your friends in fantasy football. As a league commissioner, I’ll selfishly use this opportunity to get the ball rolling early instead of waiting until August 28th to start the process.
I want to go through the top fantasy football assets the Green Bay Packers have to offer. I’ll cover yearly redraft leagues and dynasty leagues for offense and defense. The Packers may not have a ton of household fantasy names but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some incredible value.
Yearly Redraft Leagues
The Green Bay Packers are a huge question mark in terms of evaluating their playmakers for fantasy football value. We know how good Aaron Jones can be and we know for the most part what AJ Dillon brings to the table. Outside of the running back position, there are a lot of unknowns about the fantasy potential of this Packers team. Here are my top 5 Packers to own this year in yearly redraft fantasy leagues.
1. Aaron Jones
This one kind of seems like a no-brainer but someone has to be number 1. Jones finished as running back #9 last year in overall points. That may be a surprise for some as it felt like a bit of an off-year. Although Aaron Jones set a career-high in rushing yards, he had his fewest overall touchdowns (7) since his rookie season in 2017.
The stat that made the biggest difference was his 59 receptions. That was also a career-high for Jones and helped raise his floor and ceiling last season. It’s tough to predict how he’ll perform with a quarterback starting his first season as a starter but being a reliable safety outlet for dump passes is huge. Green Bay Packers coach Matt LaFleur will finally be able to run his offense and Jones could be the biggest beneficiary.
2. Christian Watson
Christian Watson slots in at number 2 strictly because of his potential. Dillon may have been the safer pick here but Watson could very well end up as the highest-scoring fantasy player for the Packers. Watson did virtually nothing for the first 9 weeks of the season due to injuries and lack of trust from his quarterback and still ended up as the 41st-ranked fantasy receiver.
In year 2, he trades the potential that comes with a hall-of-fame thrower of the ball in Aaron Rodgers for a hopefully more reliable offensive system and a quarterback that trusts him more. The physical skills are more than obvious with Watson, if the offensive system works the way we all hope, then he could be in for a huge sophomore season.
3. AJ Dillon
This was the toughest spot to fill because I could see 2 other players ending up in this spot come the end of the season. With that said Dillon is easily one of the most fantasy-relevant backup running backs in the league. He finished 26th last season and contributes with a good amount of touchdowns and a surprising amount of catches. I feel like the MLF offensive system favors a back like Jones but Dillon will get plenty of touches as well in a contract year.
4. Romeo Doubs
Romeo Doubs is a difficult player for me to put my finger on for fantasy purposes. I like his potential and standing in the wide receiver depth chart, but I don’t know if he’s explosive enough to ever be a huge fantasy asset. Doubs should end up being a consistent target for Jordan Love this season but he’ll need to be big on third downs and score a decent amount to reach his potential. I don’t think the Packers will throw enough for him to wrack up stats from volume.
5. Jordan Love
The 2023 Green Bay Packers offense as a whole is tough to predict. We had a general idea of what to expect when Rodgers was commanding the offense but with a new quarterback, predictions are all over the place. The good news is Love has the physical abilities to be a very good quarterback. Pair that with an offensive system that will finally be able to operate as intended which makes me think Love could be a decent fantasy quarterback this season.
His ability to run helps him have a higher floor than most, although I don’t think that will be a huge part of his game. The Matt LaFleur offense should create easy throws for him early in the season with the offense opening up as the young skill players gain confidence.
Jayden Reed, Luke Musgrave, and Tucker Kraft all have a lot of potential, but I don’t see them being fantasy relevant in year 1. In PPR (points per reception) formats, Reed may be worth rostering towards the end of the season but it again goes back to the offense not likely throwing the ball a ton overall. Musgrave should end up being a homerun play tight end in the future but we likely won’t see it in year 1.
The dynasty league rankings will vary a bit from the standard yearly redraft rankings. Although I’ll list similar names, the order of them will vary a bit with some new names making an appearance. I also want to touch on the defensive side of the ball for those hardcore dynasty players that have entire defenses to fill out.
1. Christian Watson
In terms of dynasty value, no Green Bay Packer may hold more fantasy appeal than Christian Watson. He was always thought to be raw and had the athletic skill set to dominate. After a slow start to his rookie season, while dealing with injuries, he finally caught fire starting in week 10. He showed the traits that made many very high on him. His age, potential, and glimpses of top-tier playmaking put him at the top spot.
2. Aaron Jones
Aaron Jones comes in here at #2 mainly because he’s already on his second contract and the shelf life of running backs isn’t overly long. He could very well be productive for another couple of years but I’ll take an explosive rookie over Jones at this point. If you have him on a good contract then he may be worthy of the top spot but second feels right for him.
3. Jordan Love
This may seem a bit high but if you own Jordan Love in Dynasty, you likely have him extremely cheap or still on a rookie deal. Having a starting quarterback at that price holds a ton of value and you may be able to extend him after this season for good value as well. It’s hard to forecast how good Love may be but he has the athletic traits to be at least an average fantasy quarterback and likely won’t command a high price tag.
4. Jayden Reed
Like Watson, I’m taking age and contract into consideration with this Reed placement. I expect him to be good but don’t know how much of it we’ll see this year. If all goes well with Love as the starter, the offense has the chance to open up in a big way in 2024. Love will be more confident and he’ll have a full year under his belt with his young weapons. Reed has the skill set to be a difference maker while filling a position of need for the Green Bay Packers.
5. Luke Musgrave
It hurts leaving out AJ Dillon but I think the upside of Musgrave puts him in the top 5. I could realistically see him higher than this when all is said and done but his ability to stretch the field could be huge. Tight ends are a crap shoot on if they’ll flame out or be the next George Kittle, but Musgrave has the athletic traits to make a difference. Plus it’s tough to get high-upside tight ends for cheap which adds more value for me.
1. Quay Walker
Inside linebackers historically struggle to make a huge difference in their first season. There is a steep learning curve in the NFL and the mental side of the game is nearly as important as having the needed athleticism to make an impact. Walker showed athleticism in spades and proved the mental portion isn’t far behind. He struggled early in the season with his linebacker duo down with an injury but performed much better in the second half of the season.
Linebackers can put up similar points to higher-end offensive players which is why I have Walker at the top spot. His ability to wrack up tackles, fly around in coverage, and rush the passer means he has multiple ways to contribute every week.
2. De’Vondre Campbell
I could put Campbell and Walker 1A and 1B but the age of Walker put him over the top. I expect Campbell to have a big rebound year and to wrack up tackles. If he stays healthy and avoids missed tackles, he will likely be the more consistent of the two middle linebackers in terms of fantasy stats.
3. Rasul Douglas
Safeties are typically a better fantasy position than corner but Douglas finds a way to put up stats. Not many corners put up the tackle numbers he does which is huge since his interception and pass deflection opportunities will be there with teams not wanting to throw at Jaire Alexander.
4. Jonathan Owens
I don’t know what to expect from the safeties this season so I’ll go with one that put up decent numbers last season. With 84 solo tackles and 41 assists, Owens always seemed to be around the ball. That activity gives him a high fantasy floor for what would likely be an inexpensive contract. Darnell Savage is too much of a question mark for me to put him in this spot but the Green Bay Packers will have at least one safety that is fantasy relevant.
5. Lukas Van Ness
The defensive line is in a similar boat to be as the safeties, at least in terms of fantasy projections. I like the depth along the defensive line better but I don’t know if any of them will do enough to warrant being rostered. Van Ness gets the nod due to his age and potential. Rookie pass rushers aren’t the best to rely on in fantasy but his ability to hold up against the run gives him a higher floor. As long as he sees the field early, which he should, he’ll be worth not only rostering but potentially starting as well.
The 2023 Green Bay Packers may not be loaded with can’t-miss fantasy options, but they have plenty of value plays. I hope this breakdown helps at least some of you add some depth to your teams or feel more confident in ideas you’ve already considered running with.
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