Aaron Jones is Good, Jamaal Williams is Valuable

Jones is a Good Player, but not as Good as You Think

The current trend, using the #MockDraftSeries and expert opinions as a resource, says that Aaron Jones (RB33 via Fantasy Football Calculator ADP) should be drafted before Jamaal Williams (RB38). In the most recent mock draft in the Mock Draft Series, Aaron Jones was drafted four rounds ahead of Jamaal Williams (Dynasty/PPR/SF).

I’m showing my hand early, but I can’t stop myself from saying immediately, “Aaron Jones was NOT used in the passing game last season.” Nine receptions for 22 yards is not a PPR target.

Before I go any further, I must point out that Aaron Jones is a fabulous player and will definitely have fantasy value in the 2018 season. This article is not a knock on him or his talent. It is a recommendation based on statistics.

He’s Not the Favorite Back in Green Bay

Statistics show us how the Packers used their backfield. When Ty Montgomery was healthy, Jamaal Williams was the backup. In Week 1, Aaron Jones didn’t even dress for the game. Jamaal Williams was unable to take over the backfield when Ty Montgomery injured his ribs because in the same game (Week 4, against the Chicago Bears), Jamaal Williams injured his knee. The team feared for his seasonal health. The MRI showed no ligament damage, but they kept him on a short leash for several weeks to allow the knee to heal. This double injury allowed Aaron Jones to show his talent. In Week 9, all three running backs were healthy again and the trend returned to normal. Ty Montgomery was the lead, Jamaal Williams was the backup. Week 11, Ty Montgomery moves to Injured Reserve and Aaron Jones is injured. Jamaal Williams takes the lead role.

While not as “explosive” as Aaron Jones, one major difference must be considered: When Aaron Jones was being explosive, Aaron Rodgers was still playing. When Jamaal Williams was given his opportunity to lead, defenses were stacking the box because they knew Brett Hundley wasn’t a threat. Regardless of quarterback and after Ty Montgomery was moved to IR, Jamaal Williams was the lead back even when Aaron Jones was healthy from Week 11 until the end of the season.

Statistic Total Player Stats
Touches-Yards-TDs
Notes
Both Players Healthy AJ 20-90-0
JW 102-451-3
Weeks 1-3, 9-10, 14-17
Aaron Rodgers Starting AJ 50-269-2
JW 22-78-0
AJ not on injury report
JW injured Weeks 4-7
Brett Hundley Starting AJ 39-195-2
JW 156-748-6
AJ Injured Weeks 11-13
JW Injured Week 7

Both back are a similar build (JW-6’0″ 201lbs – AJ-5’10” 207lbs). Neither gets an edge there.

Opportunity Does Not Await

Finally, we must return to a point made in the beginning of the article: Aaron Jones is not used in the passing game. If Ty Montgomery is healthy, that passing down role is his without question. Next in line is Jamaal Williams. JW was 25-262-2 in receiving. AJ was 9-22-0. One was used heavily and excelled while the other was barely used and inefficient. The difference speaks volumes.

Please do not ignore Aaron Jones. He is a valuable player to have on your fantasy roster. But while my fellow fantasy drafters are grabbing Aaron Jones, I’ll wait a couple of rounds and comfortably draft Jamaal Williams at the better value. He will have the larger role which translates to better fantasy results, especially in PPR leagues.

About Marc Szymanski

@FFA_Marc on Twitter Resident of southeast Michigan and the wonderful suburbs of Detroit. In real life, I am the Manager of Technology Operations for a software company. Graduated from Baker College with an MBA in Information Systems. Fan of the wonderful game called Fantasy Football. Fan of the Packers AND Lions. Thanks to Madden '94 for the Sega Genesis for causing an internal struggle twice a year.

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