With the lack of receivers available in Green Bay, is AJ Dillon worth a start in fantasy football for Week 8? Injuries and illness have decimated the Packers’ offense in the run-up to their Thursday Night Football clash with the Arizona Cardinals. At wide receiver, the team could be without arguably their top three options. The news of Davante Adams landing on the COVID-19 list has rocked the fantasy community. If the Packers want to keep up with the undefeated Cardinals, they’ll need to find a game plan.
Is AJ Dillon more than just a handcuff to Aaron Jones?
Dillon is the backup running back for the Packers, and that’s the correct decision. Aaron Jones is an elite running back and has consistently been one of the top players at his position in fantasy football. Dillon has performed well when given the opportunities, though. He rushed 15 times for 81 yards in Green Bay’s Week 4 victory over the Steelers while catching his only target for 16 yards. In a Week 6 victory over the Bears, he rushed 11 times for 59 yards.
Dillon still isn’t at the level of involvement that Jamaal Williams was in previous seasons, but he’s a valuable part of the offense. While it would be strange to see an Aaron Rodgers-led team move away from the passing game, it could be their best chance of victory. If that’s the case, then somebody will need to ease the burden on Jones. At 6’0″ and 247 pounds, Dillon has the frame to handle an increased workload.
The Packers will need to turn to plan B
Adams has been one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in the last few years. He has 52 receptions for 744 yards and 3 touchdowns this season. His absence will be felt. Currently, he is the WR7 in standard scoring and the WR4 in points per reception (PPR). Adams has been targeted 73 times this season. Those 10+ targets per game will have to go somewhere, and Dillon could see some extra looks.
Adams’ absence will leave the biggest hole in the offense, but he’s far from the only unavailable player. Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who was targeted 16 times in the first three games, has been out of the lineup since a hamstring injury forced him onto injured reserve. Head coach Matt LaFleur is hopeful that MVS will be available, but his status is still up in the air.
Allen Lazard, who would typically be expected to be one of the primary beneficiaries of an Adams absence, landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list as a close contact of Adams. As an unvaccinated player, league rules dictate that Lazard be out for five days. The timeline means he won’t play against the Cardinals.
Dillon is a question mark and faces a tough matchup
If Valdes-Scantling can’t play, then the only players active on game day who have out-targeted Dillon will be Jones, tight end Robert Tonyan, and wide receiver Randall Cobb. Dillon hasn’t traditionally been used as a receiving back, but his role has grown since last season.
The Cardinals will provide a tough matchup for the Packers. They are currently allowing the fifth-fewest points to running backs in standard scoring and the seventh-fewest in PPR.
Dillon is currently the RB37 in our Week 8 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings. Even with bye weeks and injuries, you will likely have better options.
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