The Green Bay Packers enter the 2023 season with a completely revamped look on the offensive side of the ball at the one key position and how Jordan Love replaces Aaron Rodgers will directly impact the Fantasy Football outlooks for everyone on the roster. Will Love be able to keep the passing game in rhythm? Will he be able to maximize talented second-year receiver Christian Watson's skill set? And maybe more importantly, can Love get the three rookies they drafted early (Luke Musgrave, Tucker Kraft, Jayden Reed) involved?
- NFC North: | |
Below the CBS Sports Fantasy staff will take a look into the Packers' entire team outlook, including a burning question for Fantasy Football managers that needs to be answered, key player projections, a review of their draft class, strength of schedule, and individual player outlooks for notable Packers players who may end up on your Fantasy rosters.
Packers 2023 team outlook
By Chris Towers
The Aaron Rodgers era finally came to an end this offseason, but the Packers aren't exactly rudderless with Jordan Love ready to step in as the starting QB. That doesn't mean this offense is just going to keep rolling along as it always has, but it gives them a higher floor and ceiling than a team like the Buccaneers in a similar spot, at least.
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Burning question: How good could Love be?
There are other questions here, of course. How do they split the RB touches? Is Christian Watson ready to emerge as an elite WR? How much will the rookie tight ends play? But, ultimately, none of that is going to matter all that much if Love is terrible. I don't expect him to be, but this offense's upside is largely tied to his, and he's a pretty big unknown. There's room for profit if Love is above average.
Packers player projections
|QB||Jordan Love||PA: 537, YD: 3759, TD: 23, INT: 11; RUSH -- ATT: 48, YD: 190, TD: 2|
|RB||Aaron Jones||CAR: 214, YD: 1006, TD: 7; TAR: 70, REC: 52, YD: 419, TD: 2|
|RB||AJ Dillon||CAR: 190, YD: 818, TD: 8; TAR: 43, REC: 30, YD: 241, TD: 1|
|WR||Christian Watson||TAR: 118, REC: 74, YD: 997, TD: 6|
|WR||Romeo Doubs||TAR: 97, REC: 65, YD: 654, TD: 4|
|WR||Jayden Reed||TAR: 64, REC: 42, YD: 482, TD: 3|
|TE||Luke Musgrave||TAR: 64, REC: 45, YD: 429, TD: 3|
|TE||Tucker Kraft||TAR: 27, REC: 19, YD: 179, TD: 1|
2023 NFL Draft class
1. (13) Lukas Van Ness, DL
2. (42) Luke Musgrave, TE
2. (50) Jayden Reed, WR
3. (78) Tucker Kraft, TE
4. (116) Colby Wooden, DE
5. (149) Sean Clifford, QB
5. (159) Dontayvion Wicks, WR
6. (179) Karl Brooks, DT
6. (207) Anders Carlson, K
7. (232) Carrington Valentine, DB
7. (235) Lew Nichols, RB
7. (242) Anthony Johnson Jr., DB
7. (256) Grant Dubose, WR
Strength of Schedule rankings by Dave Richard
- QB PSoS: 1st easiest
- RB PSoS: 1st easiest
- WR PSoS: 1st easiest
- TE PSoS: 6th easiest
|1||Sep 10, 2023||@Chicago||4:25 pm||FOX||Soldier Field||—|
|2||Sep 17, 2023||@Atlanta||1:00 pm||FOX||Mercedes-Benz Stadium||—|
|3||Sep 24, 2023||vsNew Orleans||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field||—|
|4||Sep 28, 2023||vsDetroit||8:15 pm||AMZN||Lambeau Field||—|
|5||Oct 9, 2023||@Las Vegas||8:15 pm||ESPN||Allegiant Stadium||—|
|7||Oct 22, 2023||@Denver||4:25 pm||Empower Field at Mile High||—|
|8||Oct 29, 2023||vsMinnesota||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field||—|
|9||Nov 5, 2023||vsL.A. Rams||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field||—|
|10||Nov 12, 2023||@Pittsburgh||1:00 pm||Acrisure Stadium||—|
|11||Nov 19, 2023||vsL.A. Chargers||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field||—|
|12||Nov 23, 2023||@Detroit||12:30 pm||FOX||Ford Field||—|
|13||Dec 3, 2023||vsKansas City||8:20 pm||NBC||Lambeau Field||—|
|14||Dec 11, 2023||@N.Y. Giants||8:15 pm||ABC||MetLife Stadium||—|
|15||Dec 17, 2023||vsTampa Bay||1:00 pm||FOX||Lambeau Field||—|
|16||Dec 24, 2023||@Carolina||1:00 pm||FOX||Bank of America Stadium||—|
|17||Dec 31, 2023||@Minnesota||8:20 pm||NBC||U.S. Bank Stadium||—|
|18||Jan 7, 2024||vsChicago||TBA||—||Lambeau Field||—|
Packers 2023 player outlooks
By Dave Richard unless otherwise noted
QB Jordan Love
Love's upside in a Packers offense expected to be tailored to his strengths is what makes him a good prospect.
But because he's been mostly unimpressive over 291 career snaps, he's not nearly as exciting to buy into as other non-top-12 QBs. Love has mostly dinked-and-dunked downfield over 83 career pass attempts with only two completions of 16-plus Air Yards on 14 tries. All three of his touchdowns were catch-and-run plays by his receivers, two of which were considerably long. His biggest strength? His mobility, where he's kept plays alive with his legs and averaged 5.5 yards per run when he wasn't kneeling down (six attempts). For what it's worth, his schedule is projected to be the easiest for any quarterback this season.
Expect Love to be taken around the 21st QB off the board as an upside-based No. 2 option in Superflex/two-QB formats or as a quality backup in one-QB leagues.
RB Aaron Jones
Jones remains the Packers' lead running back, but he's not a lock to remain hyper-efficient in an offense tailored to new starting QB Jordan Love.
The expectation is a higher dose of run-pass option plays, with which Jones hasn't been quite as efficient compared to traditional carries. Jones' numbers in a small sample size with Love over the past two seasons also weren't as good as they were with Aaron Rodgers, complete with a near one-yard drop-off in rushing average and zero explosive plays. Ugliest of all, Love has never reliably thrown to his RBs at Utah State or in Green Bay, with Jones failing to register a single catch from Love over 31 pass plays together. Point is, you'd be wise to bake in a downturn in production from Jones, who has tallied over 1,400 total yards in three of his past four seasons with at least seven scores in each.
He's still a No. 2 Fantasy running back worth a top-40 pick, but expect a top-20, not a top-10, finish.
RB A.J. Dillon
Green Bay figures to use more run-pass option plays with Jordan Love, something that benefits Dillon because he's been just as efficient in that scheme as in traditional ones.
Dillon also posted better metrics with Love in a small sample size versus Rodgers, including a full yard higher on his rushing average. Unfortunately, Love has not displayed a consistent tendency to throw to his running backs going back to his college days, and his mobility does suggest he'll steal a few short-yardage scores from Dillon. Those will sting since goal-line touchdowns are usually Dillon's thing. Ultimately, the Packers offense simply doesn't figure to be as good, which caps Dillon's upside but might not keep him from delivering the same 9.9 PPR points per game he had in 2022.
Fantasy managers could consider him for Fantasy benches as soon as 80th overall.
WR Christian Watson
Watson's speed combined with his large size and huge catch radius makes his Fantasy profile desirable, but he could be limited by how accurate Jordan Love is in the Packers' retooled offense.
Watson caught just three of four targets from Love in 2022 but turned one of them, a short slant off play-action, into a 63-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Those other two receptions went for at least 15 yards each, a promising result even if as a small sample size. Ultimately, Watson is assumed to be the top target-getter in this offense, and even if the quality of targets he'll get isn't like what it was last year, he should still have some jaw-dropping plays. At least, we better hope so: Four of his seven touchdowns as a rookie came on throws of 14 or more Air Yards, tied for ninth-most among WRs.
Expect Watson to go between 40th and 50th overall in all leagues.
WR Romeo Doubs
Doubs fizzled after a fast start in 2022, particularly because the Packers unleashed Christian Watson over the second half of the season.
He had five drops over 67 targets last year, didn't have excellent metrics (10.1 yards per catch), only saw eight red-zone targets and went from 6.1 targets per game in the first eight weeks to 4.3 in his final four. Watson remains the prized piece of the passing game, and the team added receiver Jayden Reed in the draft along with a couple of fresh tight ends. Tack on the Packers offense changing gears with Jordan Love under center instead of Aaron Rodgers and Doubs' upside comes with some serious doubts.
He's at best a bench WR who might not even be worth the sizzle of a 10th-round pick.
WR Jayden Reed
Reed has a legit shot to be the Packers' primary slot option at the position -- maybe even their No. 2 receiver.
The rookie was a quick-footed, well-nuanced receiver stuck in a bad offense at Michigan State, finishing up with only five touchdowns in 11 games after scoring 10 in 13 games the year before. More importantly, Reed racked up 114 catches on 185 targets (30 were deemed uncatchable) with a 14.6 receiving average. His lack of height and breakaway speed may keep him from being dominant, and 12 drops over those past two years can't be overlooked, but he's pretty polished and should contribute as soon as this year.
He's not a must-get in seasonal drafts (though you might pick him up off waivers), but he is very much worth considering after 20th overall in rookie-only drafts.
WR Dontayvion Wicks
Wicks was a hot-shot prospect in 2021 when he averaged a robust 21.1 yards per catch at Virginia with nine touchdowns in 12 games. But he regressed in 2022, scoring twice in eight games and suffered a bone bruise. At 6-foot-1 and 206 pounds, Wicks has good size with quick feet and build-up speed, but he dropped a bunch of passes due to bringing targets into his body instead of snaring with his hands. He has a shot at developing into a role player for the Packers, who do not have a lot of depth at the position. He's worth a speculative add off waivers in Dynasty leagues.
TE Luke Musgrave
Musgrave shouldn't be overlooked as an impact rookie considering the thin depth of the Packers receiving corps.
The 6-foot-6, 253-pound tight end used his speed and huge hands to average 14.3 yards per catch over his final two seasons at Oregon State. His collegiate stats otherwise, combined with a high number of drops (four in his past two seasons, eight in his past three), suggest he's in need of some coaching. But the Round 2 investment and lack of veteran talent at tight end give Musgrave an easy path to the starting lineup and potentially a high number of targets.
Musgrave could get attention at the end of seasonal drafts if preseason reports are glowing, but he's much more likely to be snatched by 30th overall in rookie-only drafts.
TE Tucker Kraft
The rookie Kraft gives the Packers some much-needed depth at tight end, but he also has a puncher's chance at being a stat contributor. The South Dakota State product has very good size (6-foot-5, 254 pounds) and surprising quickness with good hands. Green Bay's coaches have to work with him on improving his route-running and securing the ball before moving upfield, but after modestly averaging 12.3 yards per catch over his final two college seasons, the potential for him to improve is in reach. Dynasty managers will shop for Kraft with a late Round 3 pick in rookie-only drafts.
K Anders Carlson
The Packers drafted Carlson out of Auburn in April, making him the likely replacement for 16-year veteran Mason Crosby. Kicking for the Tigers over five seasons, Carlson made all but three of his extra points and 71.8% of his field goals. That doesn't sound good, and his 29.4% rate from 50-plus yards out isn't great either. Maybe his biggest selling point is that his brother is Daniel Carlson, who has been excellent in the pros. Take a wait-and-see approach with Carlson this season and add him only once he's established some consistency.
There are two legit reasons to begin the year with the Packers DST: Their talented defense, and their schedule. Pass rusher Rashan Gary leads a pretty deep group up front to get after the quarterback while shutdown corner Jaire Alexander headlines a better-than-solid secondary. This squad had 17 interceptions, which was great, but only 34 sacks in large part because Gary missed eight games. Additionally, almost none of the passers the Packers will see in the first half of the season will scare anyone (unless you're scared of Justin Fields, Russell Wilson or Kirk Cousins). It's the kind of combination that makes this DST worth taking with your last pick.