2022 Fantasy Football: Why You Should Draft AJ Dillon

by Mike Bonni
2022 Fantasy Football: Why You Should Draft A.J. Dillon

With Davante Adams now in Las Vegas, a depleted wide receiver depth chart and Aaron Jones becoming more of a featured pass catcher, AJ Dillon is a prime breakout candidate for the Green Bay Packers. These are just some examples of Why You Should Draft AJ Dillon in 2022 Fantasy Football drafts.

Well, Fantasy fiends, draft season is almost over. What a sad time this is, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. The NFL season is a week away from Thursday!

The F6P crew will be providing draft content all the way up until the last minute, so be sure to check that out.

As for me, I will be continuing the "Why You Should Draft" series.

2022 Fantasy Football: Why You Should Draft AJ Dillon

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The changes in Green Bay are for real. There are 200+ targets up for grabs, and they didn't do much to address the situation. They did draft two rookies (Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson) and signed Sammy Watkins (Week 1 hero), but that's it.

Remember, Aaron Rodgers likes to throw to players he trusts. Right now, the main guys he trusts are Aaron Jones and Allan Lazard. Plus there is news that Aaron Jones can play in the slot more, he could be looking at a ton of targets. This would mean more carries for AJ Dillon and we want that.

AJ Dillon is getting more hype than he ever has in 2022. Can he live up to it?

Previous Body Of Work (2019-2020)

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In 2020, AJ Dillon (rookie season) saw limited work (11 games). His presence was felt though, as he rushed for 242 yards on 42 carries (5.3 YPC) and added two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Dillon was non-existent in the passing game. He saw just two targets, yikes!!

2021 is a different story though. AJ was an integral part of the GB offense and he didn't disappoint.

AJ Dillon played in all 17 games (2 starts), rushing for 803 yards on 187 carries (4.3 YPC) while adding five touchdowns. Unlike in 2019, Dillon was involved in the passing game. He was targeted 37 times and he caught 34 of them for 313 yards while adding two touchdowns. This was good enough to vault him into RB2 territory (RB23 in 2021).

It took a while for AJ Dillon to get going, as he was RB42 in Weeks 1 to 9. He barely saw more than 40% of snaps. In those first nine games, he only saw 40%+ in three games.

When given the snaps though, AJ Dillon took off. From Weeks 10 to 18, saw 40% or more of snaps in seven of the final eight games. During that stretch, Dillon was RB12 (14.8 FPPG). Expect these types of snap counts in 2022 for AJ Dillon.

Important stat to know: When given 10+ carries, AJ Dillon averaged 12.6 FPPG. Correlate that to a full season and AJ Dillon would have been RB14.

If you think Aaron Jones will get all the RZ work, you are wrong. AJ Dillon was 12th in RZ touches (according to playerprofiler.com) in limited action.

As you can see, AJ Dillon was starting to find his form toward the end of the year.

What To Expect in 2022

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According to playerprofiler.com, the Packers ran the ball 26.1/game (15th) in 2021. I expect this to go up (slightly), with the losses at receiver. I have the Packers projected to run 28 times a game in 2022. The emergence of AJ Dillon in the back half of 2021, coupled with the fact that Aaron Jones will be used more as a receiver supports this thinking.

Last year, Dillon (11.0 attempts/game) and Aaron Jones (11.6) were almost dead even in attempts. It's important to note that Jones did miss some games last year. This is one reason why it was so close. With Aaron Jones being the superior receiver, expect him to get more targets and his rush share to stay the same. Don't fade him.

As for AJ Dillon, expect an uptick in carries. I'm thinking around 12-14/game for Dillon, around 10-11 for Jones. AJ Dillon could see the same amount of targets as well but this could be hopeful thinking.

Bottom Line

Currently going as RB25 (Fantasy Pros ADP), Dillon could be the steal of the draft as he is going in the sixth round (64 overall). He is going behind players like Amari Cooper, and Amon-Ra St. Brown. More specifically, Dillon is going behind RBs like Josh Jacobs, Elijah Mitchell, and Antonio Gibson.

I would much rather have AJ Dillon over all those players named above. In fact, I have AJ Dillon as my RB20. He finished RB23 last year, with a "limited role". Now that he is expected to get even more snaps, carries, RedZone attempts, and targets there is no reason he should be ranked lower than RB22.

AJ Dillon could be a mega steal with where he is going (RB25). He is guaranteed 200+ carries in a good offense, has a role in the passing game (hopefully), and will get touches in the red zone (12th last year). Draft him as much as you can.


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