Less than two weeks after Green Bay Packers RB Aaron Jones suffered a knee injury, is he ready to play in Week 12? With early expectations that Jones would miss Week 12 ahead of the Packers’ bye in Week 13, could we see the star RB early, and should fantasy football managers trust him?
Update: Aaron Jones is active for the Packers’ Week 12 game.
Is Aaron Jones playing in Week 12 as he recovers from a knee injury?
It was somewhat of a surprise to see Jones return to practice in Week 12. The initial thought was that with a 1-2 week timeframe, the Packers might let him sit through the Week 13 bye before bringing him back in Week 14. However, Jones was present at practice Wednesday, setting the expectation that he would play this week.
That expectation only grew when Jones was present at practice on both Thursday and Friday. He headed into the weekend carrying an official designation of questionable. Yet, the general feeling was that Jones would be on the field against the Rams in Week 12. On Saturday evening, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Jones wants to play. However, the Packers are not expected to make a final decision until pre-game warmpups.
It has been a mixed season for Packers running backs
Jones came into the 2021 season following back-to-back 1,000-rushing yard campains. After signing a big contract in the offseason, the hope was that he could go on and have an even better season this year. Nevertheless, it’s been a mixed season for the fifth-year back.
Part of the problem has been that Jones is actually seeing fewer rush attempts this year than the last two. Despite having similar snap count percentages (roughly 60%), he’s averaging just 12.3 rush attempts per game. That is down on both of the last two seasons when he was over 14 attempts per game.
That, combined with a drop in efficiency, has manifested itself in Jones averaging just 54.1 rush yards per game. That is the lowest number since his rookie year. He has still been a valuable contributor in the passing game but is not seeing significantly enough work there to make up for the drop in rush attempts.
Still, it’s not as if AJ Dillon has had much more success. He’s averaging the same number of yards per rush attempt (4.4) as Jones and has only found the end zone twice. The Packers are simply not running the ball as much, averaging 25.6 attempts per game as opposed to 27.7 last year.
Should fantasy managers trust Jones in Week 12?
It is hard to feel entirely confident about Jones if he is active. It seems unlikely the Packers will expose him to a heavy workload, given he was limited at practice. The combination of Dillon and Jones has worked well enough to a point where the Packers may make it a straight 50-50 split this week instead of 55-45.
That may seem like a small difference, but it could be a big one, especially if those extra carries for Dillon come in the red zone or at the goal line. Only once in standard formats, twice in half-PPR, and three times in PPR has Jones had double-digit fantasy points this year while failing to find the end zone.
When you look at his overall numbers, Jones is the RB11 in standard and the RB9 in PPR and half-PPR. The problem has been the boom-or-bust nature. An RB2 in standard averages 10.6 points per game, and Jones has been below that in half of his starts this year. Those numbers are similar in PPR and half-PPR and underlie the concern with starting Jones this week.
If he is active, it’s hard to not put him in your lineup. However, be sure to really examine your roster because, with his questionable status, we simply do not know what kind of workload Jones may have in Week 12.