The seemingly neverending “will he or won’t he” Aaron Rodgers saga finally came to an end. For several weeks, Rodgers was rumored to be headed to the New York Jets. It finally came to fruition. Let’s dive into the fantasy football ramifications of the Jets’ monumental upgrade at quarterback.
Aaron Rodgers Agrees To Be Traded to the Jets
After a barrage of conflicting reports throughout the day as to whether the deal was complete, we got official word from Aaron Rodgers himself that his return next season will be with the New York Jets.
After 18 seasons (15 as the starter), Rodgers is no longer a Packer. He follows the path of the man he replaced, Brett Favre, in leaving the Packers for the Jets.
At worst, Rodgers moving to the Jets should be a lateral move for his fantasy value. He wasn’t particularly good last season. His 14.8 fantasy points per game average was the lowest mark of his career by 2.5 ppg.
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Of course, part of the issue was Rodgers’ dismal supporting cast. After trading away Davante Adams, the Packers simply didn’t replace him.
Rodgers was throwing to two rookies in Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, a former UDFA playing multiple levels above where he should in Allen Lazard, and the ghost of Randall Cobb. Perhaps a younger Rodgers could’ve turned water into wine, but at 38 years old, that’s just not something he can do anymore.
On the Jets, Rodgers will have a true WR1 at his disposal in Garrett Wilson. He also can potentially revive Elijah Moore, who, once upon a time, was an ascending second-year player. Add Breece Hall into the mix, and Rodgers has the most complete set of weapons he’s had in a long time.
I don’t expect Rodgers to ever be an elite QB1 again, but I wouldn’t rule out him finding a way to crack the top 12 in 2023.
How the Rodgers Trade Impacts the Fantasy Value of the Jets’ Key Offensive Players
From an NFL perspective, the primary focus, understandably, is on Rodgers. The Jets have a relatively complete roster. If Rodgers is even 70% of his former self, this team is now a Super Bowl contender. But fantasy managers are far more excited about what this means for the Jets’ skill position players, particularly the wide receivers.
Aaron Rodgers Turns Garrett Wilson Into WR1
Wilson has all the makings of an elite WR1, both in fantasy and reality. He averaged 12.7 ppg as a rookie while posting a 1,100-yard season. The crazy part is Wilson’s season should’ve been even better had he not had to endure playing half his games with his namesake, Zach Wilson.
When Garrett was catching passes from anyone other than Zach, he averaged 17.3 ppg. 16.0 ppg is roughly the threshold for WR1 production. Wilson was firmly in WR1 territory when Joe Flacco and Mike White were under center. Basically, Wilson is QB-proof … just not Zach Wilson-proof. Even if Rodgers is a shell of his former self, he’s an unfathomably large upgrade on Zach Wilson.
We know Rodgers loves to pepper his WR1. From Greg Jennings to Jordy Nelson to Adams, Rodgers has proven capable of producing fantasy WR1s.
Last season, Wilson’s catchable target rate was outside the top 90. That will undoubtedly improve with Rodgers throwing him passes.
Wilson was already someone I planned to aggressively target in 2023 fantasy drafts. In general, sophomore wide receivers coming off strong rookie seasons are very good bets in fantasy value. With Rodgers, Wilson is probably going to have a WR1 ADP. And I don’t care — I’m in. Wilson has legitimately top-five upside this season.
If Healthy, Breece Hall’s Ceiling Just Got Even Higher
In just seven games, Hall already established his incredible talent. He averaged 16.4 ppg and was well on his way to 1,000 yards rushing and an RB1 season.
Hall averaged 5.8 yards per carry. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. He was even better than that.
Hall’s 6.9 yards per touch would’ve led all running backs had he played enough games. His evaded-tackles-per-touch rate was also the best in the league. An impressive 11.3% of his carries went for at least 15 yards. Only one back had a higher rate.
Basically, Hall is the total package for fantasy football. He’s a three-down RB. As evidenced by his 13% target share, he can catch passes. And he’s got the efficiency to go along with the volume. The only holdup was the lack of touchdown upside on an offense hindered by its quarterback. Now, Hall legitimately has 20-touchdown potential.
Obviously, the biggest concern with Hall is his knee. We need to make sure reports on that are positive before pushing our chips in on him for the 2023 season. But once Hall gets back to near full strength, he’s a near lock to be an elite RB1.
Could Rodgers Save Elijah Moore’s Career?
After a WR28 finish as a rookie (12.6 ppg), Moore was a popular mid-round selection in 2022 fantasy drafts. As I just mentioned, I really like targeting sophomore wide receivers, especially ones coming off strong rookie campaigns. Moore fit the bill.
Unfortunately, he was inexplicably phased out of the Jets’ offense. His target share plummeted to 11.7%. Despite playing in five more games, he caught six fewer passes than he did as a rookie for 92 fewer yards. Moore averaged 5.5 ppg and was completely unrosterable in fantasy leagues.
It was a staggering fall from grace and one no one saw coming. Did Moore suddenly become bad at football? Perhaps. But the Jets’ quarterback situation, plus the arrival of the superior Garrett Wilson, certainly didn’t help.
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For all of Moore’s failings last season, he was still the team’s second-most targeted wide receiver.
Without Rodgers, Moore would likely have gone undrafted this season. Now, his ADP should creep back into the draftable territory. Depending on how high it gets, he might be worth a dart throw on the chance Rodgers likes him and can return him to WR3 levels.
What About Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, and Corey Davis?
All three of these guys were fringe fantasy assets throughout last season. They had moments where they were worth streaming and spot-starting, but none of them maintained consistent fantasy-relevant roles.
Rodgers’ presence increases the chances one of them might emerge as a viable third option in the Jets’ passing game. But in all likelihood, the non-Wilson/Moore guy will be random and unpredictable on a weekly basis. Unless something changes, I do not expect Tyler Conklin, C.J. Uzomah, or Corey Davis to be on fantasy rosters much in the 2023 season.