The Aaron Rodgers era finally came to an end this offseason, but the Packers aren't exactly rudderless with Jordan Love ready to step in as the starting QB. That doesn't mean this offense is just going to keep rolling along as it always has, but it gives the Pack a higher floor and ceiling than a team like the Buccaneers in a similar spot, at least. Of course, that's assuming Love is any good, which we just don't know yet.
Record: 8-9 (17)
PPG: 21.8 (14)
YPG: 337.9 (17)
Pass YPG: 213.6 (17)
Rush YPG: 124.3 (17)
PAPG: 33.1 (18)
RAPG: 26.8 (16)
2022 Fantasy finishes
Number to know: 83
That's how many passes Jordan Love has attempted in his NFL career, which is not a lot. If you include the preseason, that number jumps all the way to 192, though if you're a believer in Love (or are just looking for reasons to be optimistic about this offense), you may prefer not to look at those preseason attempts, because they come with a 6.5 yards per attempt and four touchdowns to five interceptions. Even accounting for the fact that he's rarely played with starters, those are pretty ghastly numbers -- Love's 72.0 passer rating in the preseason is the 10th lowest among players with at least 30 preseason attempts over the past three seasons, and none of the guys below him are starting-caliber players.
That all sounds bad, but I don't really think we should take much from the preseason numbers. Production isn't necessarily the only thing teams are looking for in the preseason, after all. I think the bigger takeaway from Love's lack of action is that he should be viewed as basically a total unknown coming into the season. He was a first-round pick back in 2020, though he was hardly a blue chip prospect or anything, and we just haven't seen enough of him to form a strong opinion. My baseline assumption is he'll be a below-average NFL QB, at least at first, but that's already being baked into the prices of most of the team's Fantasy options. If he exceeds expectations, there could be quite a bit of profit to be found across this offense.
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1. (13) Lukas Van Ness, DL
2. (42) Luke Musgrave, TE
2. (50) Jayden Reed, WR
3. (78) Tucker Kraft, TE
4. (116) Colby Wooden, DE
5. (149) Sean Clifford, QB
5. (159) Dontayvion Wicks, WR
6. (179) Karl Brooks, DT
6. (207) Anders Carlson, K
7. (232) Carrington Valentine, DB
7. (235) Lew Nichols, RB
7. (242) Anthony Johnson Jr., DB
7. (256) Grant Dubose, WR
1 RB carries, 0 RB targets, 184 WR targets, 74 TE targets
Rankings and projections
Chris Towers' projections
|QB||Jordan Love||PA: 537, YD: 3759, TD: 23, INT: 11; RUSH -- ATT: 48, YD: 190, TD: 2|
|RB||Aaron Jones||CAR: 214, YD: 1006, TD: 7; TAR: 70, REC: 52, YD: 419, TD: 2|
|RB||AJ Dillon||CAR: 190, YD: 818, TD: 8; TAR: 43, REC: 30, YD: 241, TD: 1|
|WR||Christian Watson||TAR: 118, REC: 74, YD: 997, TD: 6|
|WR||Romeo Doubs||TAR: 97, REC: 65, YD: 654, TD: 4|
|WR||Jayden Reed||TAR: 64, REC: 42, YD: 482, TD: 3|
|TE||Luke Musgrave||TAR: 64, REC: 45, YD: 429, TD: 3|
|TE||Tucker Kraft||TAR: 27, REC: 19, YD: 179, TD: 1|
How good can Jordan Love be?
There are other questions here, of course. How do they split the RB touches? Is Christian Watson ready to emerge as an elite WR? How much will the rookie tight ends play? But, ultimately, none of that is going to matter all that much if Love is terrible. I don't expect him to be, but this offense's upside is largely tied to his, and he's a pretty big unknown. There's room for profit if Love is above average.
One sleeper, one breakout and one bust
Doubs earned a solid role as a rookie fourth-rounder, and his skill set stands apart from Watson's, which could make him a decent complementary piece. Doubs actually had more targets and catches than Watson in one fewer game, and could be more like a volume-based possession type receiver, while Watson breaks games open with his speed and down-field ability. That doesn't mean I think Doubs will out-target Watson, but it's not impossible. If this offense isn't any good, that probably won't matter too much for Fantasy. But if Love is better than expected, Doubs could be a decent WR3 for PPR formats, at least.
Watson is one of the most pivotal players in Fantasy for this season, I think. Let's make the case for him before looking at the downside, and the good news is, the case for him isn't hard to make. Watson is a gigantic, elite athlete who put his athleticism into play as a rookie after a slow start. From Week 10 on, Watson put up an 1,100-yard, 15-touchdown pace, showing off the ability to make plays both down the field and with the ball in his hands. His average depth of target was 13.8 yards down the field, and he also averaged 6.7 yards per reception after the catch, making him one of only 10 rookies over the past five years with at least 60 targets, an ADoT of at least 10 yards, and a YAC/R of at least 5.00; the other guys to do that were Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, A.J. Brown, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy, Calvin Ridley, Antonio Callaway, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, and Michael Gallup. There are some mediocre names there, but there are also some absolute superstars. If you're chasing upside, Watson's skill set features plenty of it.
Of course, the other side of this is that, among that group of 10, Watson had the fourth-fewest catches and the fewest targets, and the three with fewer catches were Callaway, Valdes-Scantling, and Gallup. I think he'll be better than all three of those guys (he was much more efficient as a rookie), but the point is that we're dealing with a very small sample of success for Watson. He was a dynamic playmaker as a rookie, but is he capable of building on that? Can he be a true No. 1 WR, someone who garners 25% of the targets despite defensive attention? And can he do that while Love is at least good enough not to drag him down? The upside is obvious, but there's plenty of downside in this profile, too. I prefer him more as a low-end No. 2 WR or a high-upside WR3, which typically means someone else in my draft is going to like him more than I do.