2020 Fantasy Football: Green Bay Packers Team Outlook
The Green Bay Packers brought in Matt LaFleur to take over as the head coach in 2019 after spending the last two seasons running the Rams and the Titans offense. Green Bay went 13-3 in his first season despite ranking below the league average in both yards gained and yards allowed. LaFleur has six years of experience as a quarterback coach. His best success came in 2016, helping Matt Ryan and the Falcons reach the Super Bowl.
Green Bay slipped to 15th in points scored (376), which matched their results in 2018. Nathaniel Hackett returns for his second season as the offensive coordinator after spending the previous five years in the Jaguars’ system as their quarterback’s coach and offensive coordinator. Hackett ran the Bills’ offense for two seasons as well.
Their defense allowed 87 fewer points (313 – 9th) despite now improving in yards allowed. Over the past four seasons, the Packers ranked 18th or fewer in yards allowed.
Mike Pettine returns to run Green Bay’s defense for the third season after sitting on the sidelines in 2016 and 2017. Pettine has seven seasons of experience as a defensive coordinator, which earned him a head coaching job for the Browns in 2014 and 2015. Mike posted a 10-22 record in Cleveland. Overall, he has 15 seasons of experience in the NFL.
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The Packers’ defense lost LB Blake Martinez, CB Tramon Williams, S Ibraheim Campbell, LB B.J. Goodson, and DE Kyler Fackrell.
Martinez led the Packers over the past three seasons (144, 144, and 155). He picked eight sacks over the last two years. Over his four seasons in the league, Martinez had three Ints and 17 defended passes. Even with plenty of stats, he struggled over the previous two years in urn support.
The only player signed on the defensive side of the ball was LB Christian Kirksey, who struggled to stay healthy over the last two seasons.
Green Bay added T Rick Wagner while losing T Bryan Bulaga, Jared Veldheer, and T Jason Springs.
Wagner struggled last year, which came after six seasons of success. His best value tends to come in pass protection. In each of the past four years, Wagner missed some time due to injuries.
Bulaga has ten seasons of experience in the NFL after getting drafted in the first round in 2020. For most of his career, he played well in pass protection while showing fade as a run blocker in four of his past five years.
The only flier at wide receiver went to Devin Funchess. His game has been on the slide of the past two seasons due to injuries. The Packers moved on from WR Geronimo Allison and WR Ryan Grant.
The two-year experiment of Jimmy Graham ended after two seasons.
Rather than focus on improving the wide receiving position in this year’s draft, Green Bay decided to protect their interest at quarterback and running back with their first two selections – Jordan Love and A.J. Dillon.
Love comes to the NFL with size (6’4” and 225 lbs.) and a strong arm. He’ll make easy deep throws with a flick of his wrist. At times, he has a looker feel as he waits for a player to break open. I expect him to have success if given time to throw and surrounded by talented receivers. His decision making and reads need improvement while owning some concern with his accuracy.
I don’t like how he slides in the pocket on some rollout passes, leading to a longer transition time to unload the ball. Love will struggle to break free from a tight pocket under pressure while lacking the release to get the ball out quickly and on time.
Dillon has a full back’s body (6’0” and 245 lbs.) and the speed (4.53 forty yard dash) of running back. His game is all about power. When asked to run up the middle, he drifts and weaves rather than drives and accelerates after the snap if faced with tight quarters. Dillion needs almost two full strides to hit top speed in the open field. If given daylight, his game plays well while gaining more yards after breaking arm tackles.
In the third round, the Packers took a swing on TE Josiah Deguara. He shines as a run-blocking with a chance to surprise in the passing game. His route running isn’t ideal, which requires some additional head fakes to create space. His passing success will come more on dump-off passes after a lay breaks down.
LB Kamal Martin was the choice in the fifth round. His vision lowers his ceiling while also lacking change-of-direction quickness. Martin will only have success moving forward in run support, but his range is limited.
The trifecta in the sixth round went to the offensive line – G Jon Runyan, C Jake Hanson, and G Simon Stepaniak.
Runyan will transition from tackle to guard in the NFL. His early edge comes from his feel for play development. He has a fighter feel who can recover for an initial loss. Runyan needs to add power and improve his hands. His pedigree gives him a chance to outperform his draft position.
Hanson is a slow-footed power player. His motor offsets some of his shortfalls. He seems to embrace the underdog role in his trench battles. Hanson falls short in quickness while lacking the range to make plays outside his box.
Stepaniak brings extreme power to the offensive line. He fires with leverage in the run games while having a limited range in pass protection. His bullish style takes a hit when on his heels when faced with matching power.
With their final two picks in the seventh round, Green Bay added DB Vernon Scott and DL Jonathan Garvin.
Scott has the look of a developing player, but his legs can’t offset some of his shortfalls in decision making and understanding route flow. His fire in run support isn’t where it needs to be. Possible coaching piece if he’s willing to work hard.
Garvin wants to rush the quarterback, but his quickness is ahead of his overall game. He tries to win swimming on the outside while lacking the depth of moves to vary his attack. Garvin needs to develop finishing power and make sure his tank is full of energy to compete on every down.
Green Bay averaged 4.4 yards per rush in 2019, which moved to 15th in rushing yards (1,795) with an impressive 18 rushing TDs. The Packers averaged 25.7 rushes per game with minimal long runs (seven carries over 20 yards).
The Packers fell to 19th in passing yards (4,017) with 26 TDs and four Ints. They gained 7.0 yards per pass attempt with 52 plays over 20 yards and 12 catches over 40 yards. Their offensive line allowed 36 sacks and 85 QB hits.
LT David Bakhtiari
Bakhtiari has been one of the top players at his position over the previous four seasons, with his best value coming in pass protection. In 2019, he had a slight regression in both run and pass blocking while still ranking as an edge in both areas. Green Bay drafted him in the fifth round in 2013.
LG Elgton Jenkins
In his rookie season, Jenkins made 17 starts over the 18 games played by the Packers. He finished as a neutral run blocker while not allowing a sack all year. His movements limit his blocking window even with some quickness. Jenkins is a worker who understands how to get the job done in all aspects of the game. Power is where he gains his edge, which can’t help his mistakes in pass protection.
C Corey Linsley
Linsley played well in all six seasons in the league. He did allow the most sacks of his career in 2019, which came after a strong season in pass blocking in 2018. Linsley tends to rank as an asset in run blocking.
RG Billy Turner
Turner signed a four-year $28 million contract in March of 2019. He played all 16 games last year, which was the first such accomplishment of his six-year career. His pass blocking came in well below the league average, but he did improve slightly as run blocker.
RT Rick Wagner
Wagner takes over at right tackle after spending the previous three seasons in Detroit. Even with risk in allowing some sacks, his pass blocking skills tend to offer upside. He’s coming off the worst season of his career. Over the last five years, Wagner came up short as a run blocker.
Offensive Line Outlook
The quick-release of Aaron Rodgers offsets some of the pass-rushing downside of his offensive line. The Packers don’t have great passing options at wide receiver and tight end behind Davante Adams, which led to them relying on the running back position for success last year. Overall, Green Bay has an above-average offensive line with weakness on the right side of the line.
The data shows the strength of schedule as far as rushing attempts (RATT), rushing yards (YDS), yards per attempt rushing (YA), rushing touchdowns (TDs), completions (COMP), passing attempts (PATT), passing yards (YDS), yards per attempt passing (YA), and passing touchdowns (TDS).
This information is based on 2019, which will work as our starting point for 2020. We’ll look at all the changes on offense on each team in the NFL plus the upgrades and downgrades on each team on the defensive side. We’ll update this table when we finish the research on all 32 teams.
2019 LG Average = the league average of all stats from all 32 teams in 2019.
2019 Results = this is the results for each team in the NFL.
2019 Adjustment is based on the 2019 league average and the 2019 results for each team, this number will show if each team is above or below the league average in each stat category and the basis for the strength of schedule.
The Packers have more risk than upside for their run schedule in 2020. They will be tested by the Bucs, Saints, and Eagles plus four other below-par contests (IND, TEN, and CHI X 2). Green Bay has two favorable games (JAX and CAR).
The best success passing the ball should come against Tampa, Houston, and Detroit (2) with two favorable games (IND and TEN). The Packers have one poor matchup (SF), while the Bears’ pass defense could be a problem in two contests.
The Packers would love to have a more dynamic offense, but they lack the depth and explosiveness to offer success play-action passes. They have an electric running back with big play and scoring ability, which helps Green Bay slow down the game and control the clock.
Here’s a look at the early projections for the Packers, which will be fluid all summer after taking in all injury updates and training camp news:
Over the past two seasons, the Packers have transformed into a top franchise running the ball, especially in close. Last year their RBs scored 18 rushing TDs with 2,472 combined yards and 101 catches (8 receiving TDs).
The change in offensive style paired with only one elite receiving option (Davante Adams) at WR and TE led Rodgers to become a back-end top 12 QB in the fantasy world (11th in 2019).
Over the last five years, his yards per pass attempt (7.1) ranked below his previous five seasons (8.5).
Green Bay failed to add any receiving talent in this year’s draft. In essence, the Packers protected their future instead of addressing the present state of the roster. Rodgers can’t be happy, but he’ll still find a way to win games.
For now, a great name value game manager who tends to get overdrafted as the sun has been setting on his career. More of the same in 2020, which puts him at the back-end of the top-12 QB options.
I have Rodgers projected for 4,167 combined yards with 29 TDs and seven Ints. Fantasy owners have him priced as the 12th quarterback in mid-June with an ADP of 86.
Based on 2019, Love doesn’t belong in the top college QB conversation. He passed for 3,402 yards with 20 TDs, but 17 of his throws ended up in his opponents' hands. Love also rushed for 175 yards on 81 carries while failing to score on the ground.
His stock was trending up after his sophomore season (3,567 passing yards and 39 combined TDs). Love saw his yards per pass attempt fall from 8.6 to 7.2 in 2019.
Over the next year or two, Love will work behind Aaron Rodgers while hoping to refine his game and improve decision making.
Other options: Tim Boyle, Jalen Morton
In one season, the Packers’ running backs saw their running back opportunity grow by ten percent in the passing game and over 25 percent in the run game. Their RBs scored 25 TDs with 2,472 combined yards and 101 catches. With no real upgrades at a wide receiver and tight end, Green Bay should again feature Aaron Jones in their offense in 2020.
After a short Week 1 (13/39), Jones slipped to the third possibly fourth round in drafts in the high-stakes markets, which were held after the opening game of the season on Thursday night.
His play and opportunities were up and down over the first 3 months before turning on the jets over his final six games (695 combined yards with nine TDs and 16 catches on 126 touches). Jones finished with six impact games in the regular season, which led to 25.0, 49.20, 41.60, 27.3, 31.2, and 29.0 fantasy points in PPR leagues.
Jones averaged 19.0 touches per game with a better opportunity over his final six games (21 per contest).
His growth as pass-catcher helps his value, and Aaron Rodgers should get in better rhythm with him out of the backfield (Rodgers missed some easy throws to Jones last year).
Second-round draft selection A.J. Dillion could be a problem at the goal line. Look for regression in TDs (13) for Jones and a path for 1,534 combined yards and 62 catches. He’ll be a top ten running back drafted this year.
His only negative is that Jones will be a free agent in 2021, which could lead to a holdout this summer.
Other than two missed games and an early exit in Week 4, Williams had the best year of his career. He set career-highs in catches (39) and receiving TDs (5), but he finished with the lowest total
in yards per catch (6.5).
His only impact game (136 combined yards with a TD and four catches) came in Week 6. Over his first ten games, Williams gained 604 combined yards with six TDs and 36 catches.
With Aaron Jones charging down the stretch, Williams finished with only 31 touches over his final five games (including the playoffs) with 128 combined yards.
Rotational back with pass-catching ability, but the Packers' future at RB lies in the hands of Jones, and the Packers added a power runner (A.J. Dillon) in the second round of this year’s draft.
He shined in his freshman season (300/1589/14) while losing some value in 2018 (1,149 combined yards with ten TDs and eight catches on 235 touches. Dillon matched his early success (318/1685/14) in the run game while adding a few catches (13/195/1).
Dillon has a strong lower half of his body with minimal upside in the passing game.
His second-round NFL draft value does point to Dillon being a factor if Jones has an issue. At the very least, he should garner a short-yardage opportunity while possibly being a thorn in Aaron Jones’s scoring value at the goal line.
With Jones being a free-agent after 2020, Dillon gives Green Bay insurance for next season.
Other options: Tyler Ervin, Dexter Williams, Damarea Crockett, Patrick Taylor
From 2018 to 2019, the Packers wide receivers caught 45 fewer passes with a decline of 752 yards, seven TDs, and 66 targets. Since 2017, their wide receivers lost over ten percentage points in their opportunities in completions and seven percentage points in receiving yards. The bottom line for the Green Bay passing game is someone needs to step up at WR2 to help the Packers regain some of their lost value in the passing game.
Besides four missed games, Adams did what was expected from him last year except for some regression TDs (5 – 13 in 2018).
Over his final five games, including the playoffs, he caught 44 of his 64 targets for 610 yards and four TDs. His final stats projected over 16 games would come to 111 catches for 1,329 yards and seven TDs on 169 targets or 285.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues.
Adams finished with seven games with over 100 yards receiving (7/106, 10/180, 7/118, 7/103/1, 13/116, 8/160/2, and 9/138), which included the playoffs. His other two games of success came in Week 13 (6/64/2) and Week 17 (7/93/1).
Over his six years in the NFL, Adams gained over 1,000 yards only in 2018. Top tier WR in opportunity while owning an edge in scoring. Adams should be drafted as a top-five WR (ADP of 12) in 2020 while being projected for 105 catches for 1,291 yards and nine TDs.
Based on the Packers draft decisions, they better hope Funchess is a significant upgrade at wide receiver in 2020, or they may very well lose their franchise QB in the near future.
Last year he played in only one game after breaking his collarbone in Week 1. The previous year, Funchess battled a back issue, which led to his career moving in the wrong direction (2017 – 63/840/8 on 111 targets and 2018 – 44/549/4 on 79 targets).
Green Bay doesn’t have a defined WR2 heading into 2020, which allows Funchess to regain his bounce in his step. He's a better player than he’s shown of late while offering size to help his value in scoring in the red zone.
I set his bar at 46 catches for 585 yards and four TDs, which may be conservative if his summer camp news is positive.
The Packers need Lazard to make a push forward in 2020 after getting shut out at wide receiver in the 2020 NFL Draft. Last year he worked his way to WR2 over the final three games (11/128/1 on 21 targets).
Lazard played well in two contests (4/65/1 and 3/103/1), but he averaged only 4.25 targets per game over his final 12 weeks.
His best success at college came in 2016 and 2017 (140 combined catches for 1,959 yards and 17 TDs). Lazard is a big receiver, who may emerge as a goal-line option.
Lots of questions here while being overdrafted for me in the early draft season (ADP – 196) when compared to Devin Funchess’s price point (ADP – 258).
Midseason in 2018, Valdes-Scantling flashed over a five-game stretch (7/68/1, 2/45/1, 3/103, 3/101, and 6/44). Unfortunately, he ended up being a trap over his next seven games (15/179 on 33 targets). His catch rate (52.1) needs plenty of work while offering big-play ability (15.3 yards per catch). Eight of his 38 catches went for 20 yards or more, and four receptions gained 40-plus yards.
In 2019, Green Bay gave Valdes-Scantling starting snaps over the first six games, but he only caught 19 of his 34 targets for 283 yards and one TD. After a flash off the bench in Week 7 (2/133/1), the Packers phased him out (six catches for 44 yards on 20 targets in the second half of season).
Over four seasons in college, Valdes-Scantling caught 119 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 TDs with his best success in his senior year in 2017 (53/879/6). He has elite speed (4.37) while being a hands catcher. He adjusts to the ball well in the deep passing game while showing the ability to create easy throws when defenders give him too much cushion off the line of scrimmage. Valdes-Scantling needs to show he can win tightly contested balls in the NFL and beat press coverage.
Injuries at WR helped St. Brown get meaningful snaps over the last 12 games of 2018. His best success came in Week 5 (3/89) and Week 16 (5/94) while failing to score a TD. He finished with 21 catches for 328 yards on 36 targets. St. Brown missed all of 2019 with a high ankle sprain.
Over the last two years in college, St. Brown caught 91 passes for 1,476 yards and 13 TDs. His game is built more over the middle on crossing routes while showing the ability to play out of the slot or on the outside. His stats look boring in college, but he didn’t have the best talent throwing him the ball. Brown needs to improve his route running and his in-game motor. His release and strength give him a chance to surprise if in the right role.
Other options: Jake Kumerow, Reggie Begelton, Darrius Shepherd, Malik Taylor, Darrell Stewart
The demise of Jimmy Graham led to Green Bay looking to their tight ends less in 2019. They finished with a drop of 18 catches for 219 yards and 28 targets. Before last year, the Packers looked for their TEs about 20 percent of the time, which is about the league average.
The Packers took a swing at TE Jace Sternberger in the third round in 2019 after a breakthrough season at Texas A&M (48/832/10). He comes to the NFL with questions in his blocking skills despite a willingness to work in the trenches on early downs.
Sternberger runs well with strength in his route running. He’ll make tough catches with the ability to pick up yards after the catch.
In his rookie season, Green Bay only had him on the field for 64 plays. With Jimmy Graham out of the mix, Sternberger should be more active in 2020.
Only a flier in deep leagues unless he gets glowing reports in training camp. The Packers added TE Josiah Deguara in the third round of this year's draft, another player of similar value.
Over his final two seasons at Cincinnati in college, Deguara caught 77 combined passes for 972 yards and 12 TDs with similar success in both years (38/468/5 and 39/504/7).
Last year he gained over 50 yards in just three games (4/53/1, 5/64, and 2/76/1). The best game of his college career came in 2018 against Connecticut (5/112/1).
Deguara is only a player to follow over the summer.
Other options: Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Evan Baylis, James Looney
Crosby was at his best from 2013 to 2016 when he made 85.9 percent of his 128 field-goal tries. Over this span, he made 14 of his 21 kicks from 50 yards or longer.
Last year Crosby made 91.7 percent (career-best) of his field goals, but he finished with only 24 chances. It was the second time over the past three seasons (2017 – only 19 field goal chances) that Roby ranked at the bottom of the league in field goal tries.
Over the last five seasons, Crosby missed eight of his 195 extra-point opportunities. In his career, he made 35 of his 66 kicks from 50 yards or more.
In 2019, Green Bay scored 44 touchdowns.
Crosby is only a matchup kicking option for me in the fantasy market.
Green Bay nearly has a league average schedule for their rushing and passing defense.
They have four games (ATL, TB, and CHI X 2) against teams that ranked poorly in rushing yards in 2019. The Packers should have the toughest time defending the run vs. San Francisco, Tennessee, Indianapolis, and Minnesota (2).
Green Bay has a three-game stretch (NO, ATL, and TB) where they will be tested in the passing game. They don’t have any other matchup that should present a problem in the air. Their defense should have an edge in five additional contests (IND, CHI X 2, and MIN X 2).
Green Bay dipped to 25th in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (1,921) with 15 TDs and eight runs over 20 yards. Ball carriers gained 4.7 yards per rush, with 25.7 rushing attempts per game.
The Packers fell to 14th in passing yards allowed (3,721) while sharply lowering their TDs allowed (19) and improving their interceptions (17). QBs gained 7.4 yards per pass attempts with 56 completions over 20 yards. Their defense picked up 41 sacks.
DT Dean Lowry
Over his four years in the NFL, Lowry saw his playing time increase each season. His best value tends to come in run support, but he did regress in this area in 2019. Lowry needs to improve his tackling while offering almost upside in the pass rush.
DT Kenny Clark
Over the last two seasons, Clark picked up 117 combined tackles and 12 sacks. In 2017 and 2018, he ranked highly defending the run. Last year he fell to about the league average in this area. Green Bay drafted him in the first round in 2016.
DT Tyler Lancaster
The Packers gave Lancaster more playing time in 2019, but his play regressed across the board. At best, he’ll be a rotational player vs. the run on early downs with no impact rushing the quarterback.
LB Preston Smith
In his first season with the Packers, Smith set a career-high in sacks (12) and tackles (56). His run defense isn’t great, and he will miss some tackles. His growth in the pass rush is the key to his increased playing time.
LB Christian Kirksey
After posting elite tackles totals in 2016 (148) and 2017 (138) with the Browns, Kirksey struggled to stay on the field over the past two seasons (23 missed games). When at his best, he’ll chip in on the pass rush while helping in coverage.
LB Oren Burks
Burks will compete with multiple players on the Packers’ defense for the second inside linebacker job. Over his first two seasons after getting drafted in the third round in 2018, he only has 35 tackles and no sacks in 35 games off the bench.
Burks is an undersized linebacker (6'3' and 233 lbs.) who brings a safety-feel to the game. He’ll struggle when he fails to get a free run at running backs, but his game does project well in the pass coverage where his quickness is his edge. His on-field awareness is a strength even with minimal experience. Burks should continue to improve while seeing more of his playing time on passing downs.
LB Za’Darius Smith
Smith ended up being an excellent addition to Green Bay’s defense in 2019. He set career-highs in tackles (55) and sacks (13.5). He developed into one of the top pass rushers with growth as well as a run defender.
CB Jaire Alexander
Other than one game against the Raiders, Alexander emerged as a top defender in pass coverage in the NFL. He finished with 58 tackles, two Ints, and 17 defended passes while allowing a low completion rate. Alexander will give up some TD and big plays. Alexander did struggle in 2019 in run support, which was tied to a high number of missed tackles.
CB Kevin King
After struggling with injuries in his first two years in the NFL, King was able to play in 15 games last year. He made plenty of plays (66 tackles, one sack, five Ints, and 15 defended passes), but King also showed risk in all areas. He allowed too many big plays while also whiffing on many tackles—an upside player who still has plenty of work to do.
S Adrian Amos
Amos is a third player that Green Bay added to their defense in 2019 that finished with a career season. He finished with the most tackles (84) of his career with one sack, two Ints, and eight defended passes. Amos has a long resume of success in run support while also holding receivers to low yards per catch.
S Darnell Savage
In his rookie season after getting drafted in the first round, Savage posted 55 tackles with two Ints and five defended passes in 14 games. He struggled against the run while also finishing with too many missed tackles.
Savage brings speed (4.36 forty yard dash at the combine in 2019) to the Packers' secondary while needing to get stronger. His coverage skills grade well while offering playmaking ability and a high football IQ. He should develop value in run support. His frame has a cornerback feel while coming into the NFL as a safety. Savage needs to prove his value vs. size in coverage and traffic.
Team Defense Outlook
Kenny Clark sets the tone on the Packers' defensive line, while Green Bay relies on the pass rush from their two developing outside linebackers. This defense lacks impact talent on the outside of their defensive line, and they could have questions at middle linebacker. Their secondary needs to improve vs. the run while expecting to play well in coverage as long as the passing window is short.
The Packers’ defense should push closer to a top 12 fantasy defense while looking more like a matchup option.