What was once lost is now found. At least, as it pertains to the Green Bay backfield.
In a somewhat surprising move, the Green Bay Packers re-signed running back Aaron Jones to a four-year, $48 million contract a few days after deciding not to put the franchise tag on him. The deal keeps Jones with the team through the 2024 season. It also keeps him in the top-15 overall selections when drafting our 2021 fantasy teams.
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Jones has finished in the top-five in fantasy points among running backs in each of the last two seasons, including a 2020 campaign that saw him rush for a career-best 1,104 yards despite missing two games. He also led all Packers running backs in touch share (30.4%), targets (63), catches (47), and red-zone opportunities (48). Jones was also among the league leaders among runners in yards per carry average (5.5).
The decision to retain Jones means the Packers will part ways with Jamaal Williams, who earned 119 carries and a 17% touch share this past season. He also saw 26 red-zone looks, which were second behind Jones. All (or most) of those touches will now go in the direction of A.J. Dillon, the Packers' second-round pick in the 2020 draft. While dynasty managers are undoubtedly disappointed that the Packers retained Jones, Dillon should still see an increase in touches moving forward. He'll have standalone flex starter value at times, but he'll ultimately be a high-end fantasy handcuff in 2021.
However, most of those chances will come on the ground, as Dillon was targeted just twice on 97 offensive snaps as a rookie. So while the Boston College product could put up a slight dent into Jones' carries, chances are Jones will be in a good position to catch 50-plus passes out of the backfield from reigning league MVP Aaron Rodgers.
I'd expect Jones to be picked either late in the first round and no later than the middle of the second round in most 2021 drafts. As for Dillon, he'll be more of a mid-to-late round selection as a handcuff for Jones or a draft and stash if Jones misses any time.
Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!