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The 2020 Green Bay Packers ended in the same place the 2019 season did, losing in the NFC Championship Game. After a fantastic season that saw him toss 48 touchdown passes and win league MVP, Aaron Rodgers was pulled off the field as the team kicked a field goal that wouldn’t bridge the gap with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. When the Packers failed to get the ball back, the Buccaneers went on to the Super Bowl and Rodgers looked deflated in a press conference.
That led to an off-season of turmoil as years of frustration boiled over for Rodgers. From the time of the 2021 NFL Draft in April through the start of training camp, many questioned if Rodgers would return to the Packers or to the NFL at all. He’s back, but what will it mean for Green Bay this season?
Rodgers wasn’t the only big change for the Packers this off-season, as running back Jamaal Williams moved on, signing with the Detroit Lions on a two-year deal. Meanwhile Aaron Jones, who some thought would leave, returned on a new four-year deal. He figures to, again, lead the backfield for the Packers.
The Packers also added a few weapons in the NFL Draft, including receiver Amari Rodgers out of Clemson. In four years, he caught 181 passes for 2,144 yards and 15 TDs. That included 77 for 1,020 and 7 TDs in 2020. The team also added to the backfield by scooping up Kylin Hill in the Seventh Round. Hill saw 242 carries for 1,350 yards and 10 TDs in 2019 but opted out of 2020. He adds a body and some potential to the RB group.
The biggest addition for the Packers came immediately after the team reached an agreement with Aaron Rodgers. In the aftermath, the Packers made a deal with Houston to acquire slot receiver Randall Cobb. Cobb caught 38 passes for 443 yards and 3 TDs in 2020 with the Texans but had some of his best years with the Packers. In eight years with the Packers, he caught 470 passes for 5,524 yards and 41 TDs.
Aaron Rodgers is back, which means another year of 2020 First Round pick Jordan Love cooling his heels on the bench. Rodgers threw for 4,299 yards and 48 TDs in 2020, finishing as QB3. He should be in for a strong season in 2021 as well. I think he’s a lock to finish as a QB1, likely in the Top 6.
In the backfield, Jones figures to be the guy while second-year man A.J. Dillon gets a bigger role. Jones ran for 1,104 yards and 9 TDs, adding 47 receptions for 355 yards and 2 TDs. He finished as RB5 and has been in the Top 10 each of the past two seasons. I expect him to finish Top 10 again. Dillon rushed for 242 yards and 2 TDs on 46 carries as a rookie. Williams, now in Detroit, had 119 carries. I suspect Dillon gets between 140-165 carries and manages an RB3 season despite not being much of a receiving threat.
Among receivers, the top option is Davante Adams. He caught 115 passes for 1,374 yards and 18 TDs in 2020, finishing as WR1. I think he’ll be a top option again, though probably not WR1 overall. I have him safely in the Top 5. The rest of the group, including Amari Rodgers, Cobb, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Allen Lazard, is more of a mystery. I like Amari Rodgers long-term in dynasty, but not so much in 2021. I think Cobb has the best chance of weekly value, probably in the flex range, but I’m not sure I trust anyone aside from Adams. At tight end, Robert Tonyan was the breakout of 2020, finishing as TE3 with 52 receptions for 586 yards and 11 TDs on 56 targets. I think he’ll finish in the Top 12 for TEs again in 2021, though likely not quite as high.
The Packers have won the NFC North and landed in the NFC Championship Game each of the past two seasons. Now, they return an angry Aaron Rodgers who might be in his final season with the team. I expect them to win the North and be one of the NFC’s best again in 2021, possibly even making it to the Super Bowl finally.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.