I’m not a big fantasy football guy, as I have other things to do on a Sunday morning instead of setting a billion lineups. I am a Green Bay Packers guy, though, so I do tend to look at fantasy football projections to get a temperature of what’s expected for the Packers’ offensive skill players going into a season.
With that in mind, I gave a look at ESPN’s fantasy projections and jotted down my thoughts on the expected production of Packers players in 2023. After charting Green Bay’s preseason and reverse engineering the team’s depth chart, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on this year’s squad, as they prepare for the season opener against the Chicago Bears.
Passing: 316 of 500, 3522 yards, 20 touchdowns and 14 interceptions
Rushing: 46 carries, 172 yards and 2 touchdowns
Maybe I’m just used to watching Aaron Rodgers for the last decade-plus, but that interception number seems to be a little high from ESPN here. Based on the preseason, I don’t think Love is going to put a lot of balls in harm’s way. On the “contended” throws that he made this summer, most were deep shots down the sideline, which force cornerbacks to play a receiver’s hands rather than the ball in the air.
Outside of that, the passing numbers look solid. I do have an objection to Love’s rushing stats, though, as I think that Matt LaFleur’s offense is going to use Love’s wheels this season. We’ve seen reports in camp that the team has run some triple option looks in closed practices, on top of the fact that Green Bay’s mobile quarterbacks all ran the read option this preseason.
Rushing: 184 carries, 914 yards and 4 touchdowns
Receiving: 52 receptions, 403 yards and 3 touchdowns
Rushing: 179 carries, 772 yards, 6 touchdowns
Receiving: 32 receptions, 248 yards and 1 touchdown
It’s hard for me to believe that Aaron Jones is only going to score four rushing touchdowns this season. This is still a run-first team and I believe that Jones’ six rushing touchdowns over the last two seasons are more luck than trend. Remember, he scored 25 rushing touchdowns the two years prior. But, yes, this will be a backfield committee in 2023.
67 receptions, 981 yards and 6 touchdowns
48 receptions, 587 yards and 3 touchdowns
50 receptions, 618 yards and 3 touchdowns
I’m surprised that Jayden Reed and Romeo Doubs are so close here. The Packers seem to want to run a lot more 12/21 personnel (two-receiver sets) than in past seasons, based on the preseason. Reed exclusively worked as a slot receiver with the first-team offense this summer, which means that Christian Watson and Doubs are the true starters at the position. I expect their targets to follow that logic.
Doubs is currently dealing with a hamstring injury, though, which could be the X factor in this race. With that being said, it was undrafted rookie receiver Malik Heath — not Reed — who stepped in Doubs’ shoes as an outside receiver in the preseason finale, when Doubs was held out of action.
37 receptions, 394 yards and 3 touchdowns
Luke Musgrave, the second-round rookie, is ranked as the 30th overall tight end in ESPN’s fantasy rankings. That is entirely too low, based on the fact that he played all but one preseason snap that quarterback Jordan Love was on the field for this summer.
I’m not sure if he’s going to be a world-breaker in Year 1, but he is going to be the Packers’ true number-one tight end this season. There’s no reason why his projected numbers should be so low compared to players who are in a real timeshare at the position.
Who are you higher or lower on than the projections? Drop your thoughts in the comment section below.