Aaron Jones is one of the most underrated running backs in the NFL. If you go and look at his stats, you would see that he is one of the premier backs in the league. And yet I feel like no one talks about him like they do about Christian McCaffrey or Alvin Kamara. But Jones can do everything those other top running backs can do plus he has the added benefit of having the most sideline bling in the league. Aaron Jones was the third member of the three musketeers in Green Bay alongside fellow Aaron, Aaron Rodgers, and Davante Adams that catapulted the Packers’ offense to become the best in the league. With Aaron Rodgers holding out at the moment, it looks like Aaron Jones will need to elevate his already high play if Green Bay wants to go to the NFC Championship in 2021.
— Tom Silverstein (@TomSilverstein) December 7, 2020
Aaron Jones had a smashing year in 2020. He recorded his career-high in rushing yards despite missing two games with a calf injury. He was also not far off from his career-highs in receptions and receiving touchdowns and might have set new personal highs in those categories if he played all 16 games. Jones had an exceptional season in fantasy where he recorded 12 games with 10+ points and 3 games with 20+ points including a game where he scored 43.6 points against the Lions. Jones received double-digit touches in every game he played in and made the most of those touches by averaging 5.3 yards per rushing attempt. Jones will look to continue his excellent season in 2021 whether Aaron Rodgers is there or not.
There is a chance that Jones’ numbers dip in 2021, but I see Jones having another great season. The only reasons why Jones might not be as dominant is because of the Packers’ quarterback situation and the fact that the Packers play a really difficult schedule. But then again Jones is still super dynamic, fast, strong, shifty, and has solid hands. So this makes it kind of hard to tell how Jones will perform. Jones is one of the top running backs in the league talent-wise, but his surroundings might not be as favorable this year as they were last year.
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 11, Rounds 1-2, RB9
Auction Value: $42
Jones is in the mix as one of the top running backs in fantasy in 2021. While not a consensus top picks like Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook, Jones still ranks as an RB1 and a pretty damn good one at that. He is ahead of other RB1 category-type players like Austin Ekeler and Cam Akers. Jones is kind of in this weird area where he is good enough to be drafted ahead of other skill position players, but not good enough to be drafted above fantasy superstars like Davante Adams or Travis Kelce. Aaron Jones can both catch and run the ball well and is worthy of a top 10 pick for the upcoming season.
The only way I could see Aaron Jones falling off this season is if Aaron Rodgers is not the starting quarterback for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers was operating at a god-like level last season, so if that guy isn’t there then everything gets shut down. That includes Devante Adams and Aaron Jones. Jones will get his touches with Jamaal Williams no longer in the backfield, but teams would be more inclined to stop the run since they don’t fear the Packers’ passing attack. Other than that, Jones has also suffered knee and hamstring injuries which are important body parts for a running back. If Aaron Rodgers doesn’t play for the Packers in 2021, then drop Aaron Jones to an RB2 ranking.
If everyone from that 2020 Packers offense is back for 2021, then Aaron Jones will have another big season. Jones was one piece of the triple-headed monster that tore up the league last season. Jones was the rushing element that was able to free up open space in the secondary for Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams through his shifty quick change of pace running style. Jones was also no stranger in the passing game as he tied for the 8th most receptions by a running back in 2020. If the stars align for the Packers management and the 2020 NFL MVP returns to their organization, then Aaron Jones should have another incredible year.
Green Bay Packers Offense
When you have the MVP-winning quarterback playing for your team, life on offense is pretty easy. Matt LaFleur and the coaching staff have unlocked Aaron Rodgers in ways that Mike McCarthey could never dream of. Green Bay was the #1 total offense in the league last season because they were elite in the running and passing game. Green Bay scored a league-high 526 points and 66 touchdowns last season. Aaron Rodgers was firing on all cylinders as he threw a league 48 touchdowns to his good buddy ol’ Pal Davante Adams who scored a league-high 18 touchdowns. Aaron Jones and the running game were also sneaky underrated as Jones was within the top 10 in rushing yards. Green Bay had a complete and potent offense that could score any way they wanted to last season. If this crew stays together in 2021, then it could be another long year for any defenses that have to play the Packers.
Strength of Schedule
The Packers have the 4th hardest strength of schedule entering 2021. This year’s challenge is in playing the Vikings, Bears, and Lions twice as well as the AFC North, NFC West, Chiefs, Saints, Washington Football Team. Looking at this schedule I will say one thing, if they don’t have Aaron Rodgers this year, then the Packers are not winning the division or more than 7 games. This schedule is brutal. Not only do you have to play the two teams that were just in the Super Bowl, the Chiefs, and Buccaneers, but you also have to play the loaded AFC North who contain the Steelers, Ravens, Browns, and Bengals. The Packers also have to play the other hardest division in football, the NFC West, which has the Seahawks, Rams, 49ers, and Cardinals. The Packers got screwed over with their schedule and their schedule looks even harder considering their bye week isn’t until Week 13. The Packers are basically playing a playoff game every week except for their games against the Lions. The Packers were the #1 seed in the NFC last season, but I don’t see them repeating in 2021.
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