Aaron Rodgers put together a phenomenal 2020 campaign as he won his third MVP award, his first since 2014, and also earned First-Team All-Pro honors. In the middle of that stupendous season, Rodgers found time to get engaged to Shailene Woodley, an actress best known for her role in Big Little Lies. Despite all of these positives in Rodgers’s life, there is an ongoing tension between Rodgers and the Packers front office that doesn’t look to be close to being resolved. The exact details of the situation have yet to be fully disclosed, but what’s known is Rodgers is definitely not thrilled with the general manager Brian Gutekunst. I’m expecting this situation to be resolved by the start of the season, and while a trade away from Green Bay can’t be fully ruled out, I’m projecting Rodgers to be with the Packers for fantasy football purposes.
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As I mentioned above, 2020 was a phenomenal season for Rodgers. He led the NFL in completion percentage (70.7%), passer rating (121.5), and passing touchdowns (48), so the MVP award and First-Team All-Pro nods were well-deserved. Rodgers also set a career-high mark for passing touchdowns. In terms of fantasy football, Rodgers hit 20+ fantasy points in all but two games last season and was the absolute picture-perfect definition of consistency. It’s hard to fathom a perfect season for the veteran quarterback.
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While much of Rodgers’s 2020 season was arguably unsustainable, his elite TD:INT ratio isn’t going anywhere – he leads all NFL quarterbacks all-time in this metric (minimum 50 games played). Rodgers’s 9.1% TD rate might drop a bit, but he should still be among the league leaders in this category. Rodgers hasn’t thrown for 4,500 yards in a season since 2011, but with an extra game on the schedule this year, he should be able to get back to that mark. There’s not a ton to say about this projection – as long as he’s on the field for the Packers, Rodgers is going to be one of the most productive quarterbacks in the NFL.
Aaron Rodgers had only career INTs when he threw his 400th TD.
The next closest is Tom Brady at INTs. https://t.co/8mMfjqx5GG
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) June 2, 2021
ADP & Auction Value
ADP: 79.9, QB8
Auction Value: $13
Even after Rodgers’s stellar 2020 season, his ADP remains at about the same place as it was entering last season. In the 8th or 9th round, you’re drafting him at his floor much more than his obviously elite ceiling. If he replicates his performance from last year, Rodgers would be a steal at his current ADP. Keep an eye on whether or not this changes once we get more clarity on his situation moving forward with the Packers.
Unfortunately for Rodgers, his fantasy football value is somewhat capped by his lack of rushing production. While some quarterbacks are bona fide running backs in addition to their typical passing production, Rodgers just doesn’t run the ball that much – he’s only passed 200 rushing yards in one of the past four seasons. Additionally, Rodgers hasn’t passed 4,500 passing yards since 2011 and is unlikely to lead the NFL in passing yards in the near future. However, Rodgers is a machine in the red zone and a beast at scoring touchdown. Rodgers’s consistency drives his fantasy value as he had just two games all of last season with fewer than 20 fantasy points. With his elite touchdown rate, Rodgers is a locked-and-loaded top-ten quarterback for fantasy as a baseline.
Rodgers’s elite production last season represented his ceiling as he set career-best marks in many categories. However, with all of his weapons returning, in addition to head coach Matt LaFleur, with whom he seems to be developing excellent chemistry, Rodgers should be able to continue producing at an elite level. Rodgers has never thrown for 50 touchdowns and has never thrown for more than 4,637 yards, but both of those numbers could theoretically be broken over the course of a 17-game season. Just as his floor is somewhat deflated due to a lack of rushing production, as is Rodgers’s ceiling for fantasy, but he provides elite top-end upside at a very reasonable ADP.
Top-6 QBs in fantasy points per dropback (includes rushing) last year:
1. Lamar Jackson
2. Aaron Rodgers
3. Ryan Tannehill
4. Josh Allen
5. Kyler Murray
6. Jalen Hurts
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) June 1, 2021
Green Bay Packers Offense
If Aaron Rodgers does work things out with Packers management, he’ll be thrilled to return to an offense that brings back all of its key playmakers. Davante Adams returns after a First-Team All-Pro campaign in which he played in just 14 games but caught 115 balls for 1,374 yards, and 18 touchdowns – Rodgers and Adams are the best QB-WR tandem in the NFL. Aaron Jones comes back after registering just under 1,500 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns, while tight end Robert Tonyan returns after a breakout season in which he caught 11 touchdowns. Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard return to round out the pass-catching corps but don’t sleep on rookie Amari Rodgers. The Clemson product is going to push for playing time right away, thanks to his strong route-running and ball skills. The Packers will have to contend with replacing Corey Linsley, a first-team All-Pro center who departed in free agency, but the line should be solidly above-average again this season.
Strength of Schedule
While Rodgers has plenty working in his favor in terms of his ability to succeed for fantasy football, the schedule is not one of them. Per FantasyPros, the Packers face the fourth-toughest schedule for fantasy quarterbacks this upcoming season. It starts with the NFC North, a division with some tough defenses. While the Lions allowed the second-most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks, they should improve this year. The Bears and Vikings ranked top ten in fantasy points allowed to QBs, and Minnesota should only get better with a handful of key players returning from significant injuries. However, Rodgers has always torched his division-mates, and, last season, he threw for 20 touchdowns to 0 interceptions in six divisional games. The Packers also have to face the Los Angeles Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Washington Football Team, the top three defenses against fantasy quarterbacks, last season. However, Rodgers is virtually matchup-proof, and there shouldn’t be any serious concerns about the strength of the schedule in terms of projecting him to succeed.
It is not physically possible to throw a more accurate ball than Aaron Rodgers does right here pic.twitter.com/oahdFhU5Ek
— Eli Berkovits (@BookOfEli_NFL) May 29, 2021
The set of factors that enabled Aaron Rodgers to finish as the QB3 for fantasy last season don’t seem to have changed much as head coach Matt LaFleur and all of the key skill position players return. However, what is a question mark is the status of Rodgers heading into this season as he’s embroiled in an ongoing dispute with the franchise’s front office. As long as Rodgers is on the field this season, he’s virtually a lock to finish as a top-ten quarterback, and he has clear top-three upside at QB as he showed last season. For the time being, Rodgers continues to present an exciting value in fantasy drafts, especially for best-ball leagues. Keep an eye on his ADP as the situation surrounding his playing status is hopefully resolved in the coming months.