clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Allen Lazard & Robert Tonyan carry tremendous fantasy upside into 2021

The Packers have big-name fantasy stars on the roster, but the other guys might help tip your teams over the edge.

NFC Championship - Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Green Bay Packers Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

We know the big names in fantasy for the Green Bay Packers and how effective they can be in winning your leagues. But outside of Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and Aaron Rodgers (maybe?), who are the fantasy diamonds in the rough on this Packers roster who could sneak you past your friends, family members, and coworkers in your leagues?

Last season, I was pretty high on Allen Lazard being a sneaky deep-round pick in redraft leagues based, in part, on being ranked 17th by DVOA among WRs in 2019. However, the injury bug struck and derailed Lazard’s fantasy relevance. (This did partially lead to the emergence of Robert Tonyan, who played a larger role in the offense that only a few predicted.) I still think Lazard can come back and be a fixture in the offense.

Lazard started the season hot, playing no less than 83 percent of snaps and bringing in 13 catches for 254 yards and two TDs in the first three weeks. In those games, his 15.8, 15, and 24.3 yards per catch were incredibly promising. Injuries forced Lazard to miss the next six games, however, and he didn’t really return to form until the playoffs began.

According to Sharp Football Stats’ strength of schedule, the Packers face the 11th easiest schedule by Pass Efficiency Defense of Opponents in 2021. This is buoyed in large part due to the Lions being on the schedule twice, but there are a lot of defenses on the schedule whose pass defenses are lifted by pass rush rather than an abundance of lockdown DBs in the secondary. I am thinking primarily of San Francisco, Chicago, and Arizona, who all project to be 8th, 9th, and 12th by Pass Efficiency Defense. We should also take into account that Adams will absorb the most attention from opposing secondaries, leaving Lazard to compete in one-on-one matchups with the CB2. If the Packers continue to put together a well-coached offensive line, despite personnel losses, and Rodgers continues to avoid sacks like a wizard, defenses that lack secondary talent can be exposed.

Additionally, as long as Matt LaFleur is directing the offense and Rodgers is piloting it, the Packers have a perennial top-tier offense that will get the most out of players who would otherwise struggle. Currently, Lazard is going as WR69 in half-point PPR leagues and 205th overall. That’s a dart throw you should be willing to make.

Elsewhere, Tonyan should be another guy to target. I thought was a diamond on display, but apparently he’s not on the showroom floor. Fantasy Pros has Tonyan going as the TE18 and 152 overall. This is the same guy who finished second at his position in Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement and first in DVOA. He was as valuable as you could get for a tight end last year, he just lacked the volume. And he still finished as TE4 in PPR leagues.

In what was essentially his first season seeing significant snaps, Tonyan excelled and should continue to trend upwards. Tight ends going ahead of Tonyan include timeshare guys Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, Zach Ertz — who may not remain in Philadelphia and who hasn’t looked the same anyway — and inconsistent players like Tyler Higbee, Evan Engram, and Logan Thomas. Having 17 tight ends off the board before last year’s TE4 is bonkers. The value of getting Tonyan that late is absurd.