Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Has Aaron Jones Emerged As “The Man” In Green Bay?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

For the second straight week Aaron Jones led the Packers’ backfield in rushing, and you have to wonder if he’s officially claimed #1 status.  Just look at the numbers against Buffalo:

  • Aaron Jones – 11 carries for 65 yards (5.9 YPC) and 1 TD
  • Jamaal Williams – 11 carries for 27 yards
  • Ty Montgomery – 5 carries for 18 yards

We all know Montgomery is going to function as the pass catching running back, though he was targeted just 3 times on Sunday.  While Jones and Williams shared the early down work, Jones was the far better performer.  Williams had a shot to stake his claim to the job over the first two weeks, but he failed to capitalize on Jones’ suspension and now is likely going to pay the price for that failure.

Williams’ best game of the season saw him take 16 carries for 59 yards and his best average per carry came in Week 3, when he took 5 carries for 29 yards (5.9 YPC).  Overall he’s averaging 3.4 yards/carry and has failed to break a run of more than 11 yards.  Considering his 3.6 YPC last season, what exactly are we supposed to get excited about?

Jones, on the other hand, has gotten 17 carries over his first two games and has amassed 107 yards (6.3 YPC).  He’s already shown bigger play ability, including a 30 yard run in Week 4, and after a 5.5 YPC last season it’s clear he’s the more explosive running back.

The issue, and it’s a fair concern, is if he’s going to be able to hold up to the workload and/or get goal line touches.  Listed at 5’9” and 208 lbs., he had some health issue during his time at Texas – El Paso.  Durability is going to keep Williams in the mix, and at 6’0” and 213 lbs. he could also emerge as a TD vulture moving forward.

Throw in Montgomery’s presence, cutting into the pass catching opportunities, and Jones’ value is obviously going to be capped.  Does that mean he’s not a potential RB2/FLEX option on a weekly basis?  Absolutely not, but we also can’t expect Top 15 type production (in a different situation he’d have that type of upside).  There are simply too many obstacles working against him.  There may be some big games, but the risk outweighs the potential reward and keeps the value capped).  As a RB3 he’s an ideal option, with the potential to produce far more value than that.

Sources – ESPN, NFL.com  

Make sure to check out all of our Week 5 rankings:

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defenses
The Ditch List: Is It Time To Move On From These Disappointing Performers (Derrick Henry & More)
RB Committee Update: Looking At The Outlook In Detroit & Seattle

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