2019 Fantasy Football Team Previews: Post-McCarthy Packers looking for balance

The Packers experienced a tumultuous offseason, and surely everyone in Titletown hopes Aaron Rodgers gets along better with new coach Matt LaFleur than he did with Mike McCarthy. There was far less turnover on the personnel side and a year of experience with tight end Jimmy Graham and the trio of 2018 rookie wide receivers helps the case for a bounce-back 2019.       

2018 Review

Record: 6-9-1 (21st in NFL)
PPG: 23.5 (14)
YPG: 369.1 (12)
Pass YPG: 264.9 (9)
Rush YPG: 104.2 (22)
Pass attempts per game: 40.0 (3)
Rush attempts per game: 20.8 (32) 

2018 Fantasy finishes

QB: Aaron Rodgers -- QB9
RB: Aaron Jones - RB24; Jamaal Williams -- RB44
WR: Davante Adams -- WR3; Marquez Valdes-Scantling -- WR66; Randall Cobb* -- WR85; Geronimo Allison -- WR96
TE: Jimmy Graham -- TE12
*No longer with team

Number to know: 9

Matt LaFluer has been an offensive coordinator twice, and his teams ranked ninth in rushing attempts each year. Chalk that up to personnel — offenses built around Todd Gurley and Derrick Henry/Dion Lewis influenced it — but it seems safe to assume the Packers will be spending more time on the ground in 2019. Despite missing parts of multiple games, Aaron Rodgers still finished 2018 with his second-most pass attempts ever. 

2019 Offseason

"It's like filling out a basketball roster. You're not going to go out and play with five point guards. You need a speed guy. You need a guy that's got short-area quickness. We'd like to have a couple guys that are versatile enough to do both of those things." - Matt LaFleur, on his wide receivers

Head Coach: Matt LaFleur (1st year - previously Offensive Coordinator, TEN)
Offensive Coordinator: Nathaniel Hackett (1st year - previously Offensive Coordinator, JAC)  

Draft Picks 

1. (12) Rashan Gary, LB
1. (21) Darnell Savage, S
2. (44) Elgton Jenkins, C
3. (75) Jace Sternberger, TE
5. (150) Kingsley Keke, DT
6. (185) Ka'dar Hollman, CB
6. (194) Dexter Williams, RB
7. (226) Ty Summers, LB

Free Agency Additions

OL Billy Turner; LB Za'Darius Smith; LB Preston Smith; DB Adrian Amos 

Key Departures

WR Randall Cobb; LB Clay Matthews; LB Nick Perry; DB Bashaud Breeland; DB Kentrell Brice

Rankings and Projections

Player
Aaron Rodgers QB1 QB2 QB4
Aaron Jones RB15 RB14 RB21
Jamaal WilliamsRB44 RB49 RB49
Davante Adams WR2 WR3 WR5
Geronimo Allison WR31 WR40 WR30
Jimmy GrahamTE21TE24TE19
Jace Sternberger TE32 TE18TE30
Mason Crosby K7 K11 K8
Packers DST DST13 DST20 DST17

Heath Cummings' projected offensive stats
QBAaron Rodgers4,180 YD, 31 TD, 8 INT; 306 Rush YD, 2 TD
RBAaron Jones210 ATT, 1,050 YD, 9 TD; 27 REC, 189 YD, 1 TD
RBJamaal Williams155 ATT, 575 YD, 4 TD; 22 REC, 204 YD, 1 TD
WRDavante Adams149 TAR, 97 REC, 1,187 YD, 10 TD
WRGeronimo Allison110 TAR, 68 REC, 941 YD, 5 TD
WREquanimeous St. Brown44 TAR, 26 REC, 385 YD, 2 TD
TEJimmy Graham72 TAR, 44 REC, 528 YD, 5 TD

Biggest question

Besides Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, who's the most trustworthy Packer? 

"Geronimo Allison's speed and experience were factors Aaron Rodgers missed in 2018. The team did nothing to replace him this offseason. If anything his chances to play are greater with Randall Cobb gone and last year's rookies flubbing their opportunities. The only catch is that Allison is largely unproven himself -- he has four touchdowns and three 80-yard outings in 30 career games." -- Dave Richard

One sleeper, one breakout and one bust

Sleeper: Jamaal Williams

Perhaps what Fantasy players are most excited for with Matt LaFleur is that he isn't Mike McCarthy. McCarthy never seemed quite as willing to invest fully in Aaron Jones as we wanted. But what if it wasn't just a McCarthy thing? What if we get to Week 1 and Williams is still there, nudging Jones out of key series? Add in Jones' injury history — two right MCL sprains, one left MCL sprain in two seasons — and Williams may not be the Fantasy afterthought we want him to be. 

Breakout: Geronimo Allison

This is the chalk answer, the free space on the bingo card. Allison looked well on his way to breaking out in 2018 with 303 yards and two touchdowns through the season's first five games before a groin injury cut his season short. Allison isn't a standout athlete, but he seems pretty much locked into a role as Aaron Rodgers' No. 2 option, and that should be enough.  

Bust: Davante Adams

Look, you have to pick someone as a bust for every team. In Adams' case, this is more about the team around him changing than about any expected decline in his play. Adams took the leap to truly elite status in 2018, but it took 169 targets in 15 games to get there. On a Packers team that would prefer to run the ball more, reaching that kind of target total again seems tough to expect. Something more like 1,100 yards — plus his usual allotment of around a dozen touchdowns — probably pushes Adams more into the low-end No. 1 WR range. 

So which Fantasy Football sleepers should you snatch in your draft? And which RB2 can you wait on until late? Visit SportsLine now to get Fantasy Football cheat sheets from the model that called Andrew Luck's huge season, and find out.

Fantasy Writer

Though he can be found covering three different sports depending on the time of year, there is one unifying theme in how Chris Towers approaches sports; "Where's the evidence?" It doesn't matter how outlandish... Full Bio

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