A brief look at the statistical history of the Green Bay pass-catchers tells us one thing. A generous Aaron Rodgers sharing his targets = fantasy success. So why is the second most competent receiver on the Packers roster currently staring at a sub-200 ADP? Get your watchlist ready as we dive into Wisconsin’s next superstar a one Alan Lazard.
The past two seasons have seen fantasy darling Davante Adams dominate both the target share and the fantasy relevance in Green Bay. The remaining wideouts have had to survive on the meagre scraps left amongst them. As we (hopefully) enter the 2020 season, Rodgers finally boasts a second receiver he can trust.
A Tasty Late Target Surprise?
A simple look beyond the past two years will have Sleeper addicts salivating. In 2017 Adams still lead proceedings with a monster 118 targets. But closely behind, Randall Cobb collected a generous 92. The larger share of passes allowed the ex-Packer to finish with 635 yards, 4 TDs and 91.5 fantasy points in standard leagues. Not bad for a number 2.
During the previous 2016 season, Rodgers called upon a prime Jordy Nelson to turn 152 targets into 209 fantasy points. Ironically the secondary pass-catcher was a breakout season from, then 3rd-year, Davante Adams. As Green Bay’s Wide Reciever 2, Adams recorded 997 yards, 12 TDs and a tidy 171 fantasy points. Notice a trend here?
It’s pretty evident that Rodgers has a penchant for peppering talented and trustworthy receivers. A peppering that usually results in both on-field and fantasy success. But, what makes Allen Lazard so special?
Standing at 6ft 3, 225 lbs and boasting an outstanding 4.55 speed, Lazard certainly fits the mould of a proto-typical X receiver. The final two years of Lazard’s college football career affirm these physical attributes. Averaging 979.5 yards and collecting 17 touchdowns over his prime years in the Big 12.
The Beginning of Something good?
An ex-Jacksonville undrafted free agent, Lazard was signed off the Jaguars practise squad in late 2017. Trading Blake Bortles for Mr Rodgers a few months later. After catching a single target during his only appearance in 2018, the Iowa graduate saw his role increase the following year.
The 2019 season allowed Lazard to fully showcase his NFL chops. Many analysts pegged either the experienced Geronimo Allison trendy sophomore Marquez Valdes-Scantling as breakout candidates. Lazard eclipsed both with a smaller target share.
Through 13 games, Rodgers handed the former Cyclone a meagre 52 targets. The 6th most targeted player on the roster. Undeterred, the wideout responded by turning his small share into an impressive 477 yards, 3 TDs and 67.8 fantasy points. These final numbers positioned Lazard 2nd in receiving yards and joint 2nd in receiving touchdowns on the team.
Even more impressively, Lazard’s stat sheet places him first in multiple categories. These include yards per target, yards per reception, catch rate and contested catch rate. Yes, higher than Davante Adams in all of those.
No WRs in the Draft?
During the offseason, Lazard was tipped to become a victim of the Packers draft night. Surely a superstar college wideout would join the Pack and force Lazard further down the depth chart? In truth, Matt LaFleur blindsided everyone by bringing in Quarterback Jordan Love in the 1st Round. Running Back A.J. Dillon followed in the 2nd and Tight End Josiah Deguara joined in the 3rd. Not one of Green Bay’s nine picks included a pass-catcher, with the Wide Reciever room currently identical to last year. Lazard now sits just behind Adams as the secondary receiver.
Though the Packers have moved to a far more run-friendly scheme in recent years, expect to see far more air yards in Wisconsin this season.
Rodgers pass attempts have been falling steadily since that historical 2016 campaign. A mixture of the emergence of Aaron Jones, an injured then departed Jordy Nelson and the lack of a competent receiver opposite Davante Adams.
Much has been made of the perceived disrespect to their franchise Quarterback via the acquisition of Jordan Love. Many experts banked on the front office adding weapons to Rodgers attack. Surely looking to build on the 2019 Conference Championship loss to San Francisco. Rather than help #12, Rhule and co. decided to invest in his eventual replacement.
Looking Good for 2020
All signs now point towards a pissed off Quarterback looking to embarrass a front office already planning for his departure. Eager to remind potential suitors of his still elite ability. 2020 could see a new Rodgers, this version carrying a chip on his shoulder the size of the Grand Canyon.
Adams will undoubtedly be the No.1 receiver in Green Bay, dominating targets, receptions and draft boards. But let’s do the math. More passing attempts = more targets for the receiver group. Even more targets for the receiver group = more targets for Allen Lazard. More targets for Allen Lazard (x) the best catching percentages on the team = fantasy success. Fantasy success at a sub 200 ADP? Sign me up.