The calendar has now turned to July, and that usually means it is time for fans to start focusing on their fantasy football drafts. It is never too early to start preparing for fantasy football so now is a good time to start looking at some players and where they may fall in any given fantasy draft. One of the more intriguing players in this year’s draft is Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones. Here is a fantasy football outlook for Aaron Jones heading into the 2022 season.
Fantasy Football 2022 Season Preview: Aaron Jones
After a slow start to the season in Game 1, Jones played well over the following five weeks (529 combined yards with six touchdowns and 19 catches on 97 touches). After that A.J. Dillon seemed to cut into Jones’ workload and stats a bit, as, over the next five weeks, he only saw 119 touches, resulting in 639 combined yards with four touchdowns and 31 catches. He also missed two games with a knee injury.
Overall, Jones finished the 2021 season with just the 22nd-most touches per game and the 13th-most Fantasy points per game (PPR). He did end up with more touches than Dillon (620 vs 410) but his overall stats regressed as his productivity dropped in rushing yards (799) and rushing touchdowns (four). However, he did finish with a career-high in catches (52) with 391 receiving yards and six touchdowns, something that is significant to note for the 2022 season.
Because the Packers had two talented backs (here are the three who are vying to be the Packers third back in 2022), they did not need to give either a huge workload. Head coach Matt LaFleur rotated Jones and Dillon to try to keep them fresh and healthy. While this is good from a team standpoint, it means that Jones’ fantasy value took a hit after he was a borderline first-round draft pick in 2021. Jones was not a fantasy liability in 2021, but he did not produce at the level where most drafted him.
So will fantasy owners see similar production for the 2022 season? The short answer is yes but there is the possibility that Jones could easily exceed last season’s fantasy numbers.
The main reason for the possibility of increased fantasy numbers is that the Packers have parted ways with star wide receiver Davante Adams. This now leaves them with a mostly inexperienced, unproven group at wideout as training camp approaches. This likely means that Jones should see similar, if not increased touches in 2022. If there is one thing that is sure about the Packer offense, it is that when Aaron Rodgers is facing a critical situation, he relies on players he trusts. With Adams gone, it appears that Jones will now become Rodgers’ most trusted player.
The Packers also realized this, as they signed Jones to a four-year deal worth $48 million, including a $13 million signing bonus. All of this means that Jones will now be the featured offensive weapon in both the running and passing attacks. ESPN Fantasy has projected him as the 13th ranked running back and 21st overall in scoring with a slightly higher projected point total than he had in 2021.
These projections may be a bit conservative. Potential fantasy owners may remember last season’s Week 8 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals. In that game, the Packers were without their three top receivers. Jones and Dillon carried the ball a combined 31 times for 137 yards and a score, with those attempts pretty much split right down the middle. However, Jones led the team in receiving with 51 yards on seven catches. That kind of usage and production could be the norm for Jones and the Packers in 2022.
Average Draft Position
Fantasy Pros have Jones being drafted as the number 13 running back, due to the fear that Dillon will continue eating into his volume. However, there is a huge potential for upside this season with an expected increased workload in the passing game. Do not be surprised to see Jones being drafted as a top-10 running back in some leagues.
In their 10-team mock draft, Fantrax’s Colin McTamany selected Jones with the last pick in the second round, with 12 other running backs being selected ahead of him. With the expected usage this season, owners could see a significant difference in his draft position in PPR versus Non-PPR leagues.
Matt Harmon of Yahoo conducted a two-round 12-team mock draft and selected Jones at the end of the first round, noting the potential upside of Jones seeing more looks in the passing game.
The early mocks seem to reflect some of the uncertainty of how many touches Jones will see this season. Drafters will have to weigh these uncertainties when considering if Jones should be drafted when it is their turn. Like other players, it is wise to keep track of training camp news to see if there are any trends with Jones and the other position players to try to get an indication of how he will be used.