Fantasy Football: Aaron Jones Is Stuck In Running Back Purgatory

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Aaron Jones
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 07: Aaron Jones #33 of the Green Bay Packers runs for a first down during the first quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on October 7, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Lions defeated the Packers 31-23. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) ** Aaron Jones **

There is nothing more frustrating for fantasy football owners than watching an incredibly talented running back split carries with vastly inferior teammates. Right now, Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is trapped in a running back by committee. This running back by committee, while sometimes beneficial in real football, leads to extreme uncertainty in fantasy football, simply because players like Jones have such a limited chance to make an impact.

Because of this, Jones is stuck in running back purgatory. You obviously can’t cut him, he’s too good to let go for nothing. You can’t trade him, as you’ll be getting pennies on the dollar for a high-upside player. And you certainly cannot start him, as his limited snap count puts a dramatic ceiling on how productive he can be on any given Sunday.

Fantasy Football: Green Bay Packers Aaron Jones Trapped In Running Back Purgatory

Aaron Jones is currently sharing a backfield with teammates Jamaal Williams and Ty Montgomery. Williams has been the closest thing to a lead back, running the ball 53 times for 195 yards without a score. Montgomery, meanwhile, has run for 87 yards on 20 carries while adding 158 yards on 12 receptions.

Despite missing the first two weeks of the season, Jones has basically matched their production already. In three games, Jones has recorded 24 rushes for 147 yards and the lone touchdown by a running back. Additionally, Jones has recorded 41 receiving yards on four receptions.

The stats clearly show Jones is the Packers best back and the tape confirm that assessment. However, despite his clear superiority, Jones has struggled to see the field consistently. Ever since returning from suspension, Jones has played in just 30.1% of snaps. He’s never seen more than a 38.2% share of the snaps, as the Packers coaching staff insists on rotating all of the backs onto the field.

By comparison, Jamaal Williams has seen 40.3% of the snaps over that same timeframe. Even Ty Montgomery has seen a higher snap percentage (30.5%) than Jones, despite being a significantly less productive player.

So Where Do We Go From Here?

With the Packers reluctant to give Jones a full workload, fantasy football owners are left with a series of unsavory options. As already mentioned, you can’t afford to trade or cut Jones. That said, starting him is a dangerous proposition. Without a high volume of carries, Jones’ only hope of being a worthwhile start is if he breaks off a big run. Jones certainly has the ability to do that, but it’s unwise to bank on long runs when he’s barely on the field.

That said, it’s only a matter of time before Jones consistently sees action. Jones is easily Green Bay’s most gifted runner and is actually among the league’s best pass blockers. Jamaal Williams is a great pass blocker by running back standards, and anyone defending his usage always mentions how he excels at this part of the game.

While nobody’s denying that Williams is a good pass blocker, Aaron Jones has been even better this year. Per Pro Football Focus, Aaron Jones has an 82.5 grade as a pass blocker this season, while Jamaal Williams has just a 76.7 grade.

At the moment, there is literally nothing Jamaal Williams can do that Aaron Jones cannot. It’s only a matter of time before the Packers come to this same conclusion and start making Jones their workhorse back. For now, fantasy football owners should keep Jones on the bench unless devastating injuries have destroyed their running back depth. However, expect Jones to start taking over as the lead back in as soon as two to three weeks. Once he does, he’ll be a week in, week out starter with high RB2 upside.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. If I were Jones I would ask to be released from the team. If he played for the Saints he would already be considered a star. They know how to use their talent, instead of letting it rot on the bench, or the practice squad. Who knows, maybe if Reggie Gilbert had a year under his belt on the 53 last year, he would be much further along in his development. I think Mike likes to appease players who are loyal to the team, but just aren’t as good as their backups. The Patriots ( the team that’s a sure bet to be in the AFC Championship game every single year) would have said “screw you” to Clinton Dix long ago, and would have Aaron Jones on the field for 80% of the offensive plays. I’m sure the Pack is getting a reputation around the league as a team that doesn’t let it’s stars reach their potential. Just ask Casey Hayward and ( can’t think of his name) who went to Buffalo and became an ALL PRO. They aren’t keeping their mouths shut about the BS they dealt with in GB. If you think that other players aren’t listening, DREAM ON!! Remember the 70s and 80s, when you would have to hold a gun to someone’s head to get them to sign with the Pack. Mike is recreating that culture!

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