Feeling healthy, looking good, Aaron Jones could run wild for the Green Bay Packers this season.
The only question now is whether the third-year starting running back’s body will hold up for an entire season after falling four games short in each of his first two years in the NFL. Fortunately, Jones being active of Week 1 is all the good start he needs.
The Chicago Bears return most pieces to their 2018 league-leading defense — even if one of those pieces, Adrian Amos, has made Green Bay his new home — and the threat that unit poses to Jones’ production is obvious. Jones has shown flashes, and the Packers talk about him like someone who can become more, but is he ready to take the next step with Khalil Mack standing on the other side of the ball?
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Aaron Jones Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Bears
Jones was successful when he was active in 2018. In the eight games in which he carried the ball more than 10 times, he racked up 597 yards at an average of 5.5 yards per take. His career against the Bears, however, is less than dazzling.
Jones left last year’s December game at Soldier Field with a season-ending knee injury after rushing just four times for eight yards. His only other time in the building saw him struggle to get much of anywhere, going 13 carries for 49 yards with the saving grace of a touchdown in a 21-point victory in September 2017.
His career numbers against the Bears have seen his 20 carries amount just 69 yards and a single score, but Jones has the advantage of the time on his side. Time spent healing and making his body stronger as well as adjusting to a new system under Matt LaFleur. Time that has put him in a situation to be a successful complement to Aaron Rodgers in the passing game.
Should You Start or Sit Aaron Jones in Week 1?
Unless you are well endowed in RB1 talent, Jones is someone that should be in your lineup no matter what during Week 1. LaFleur is likely to switch it up regularly to keep the Bears on their days, and that could include featuring Jones in the passing game, too. He did make 26 catches for 206 yards last season.
Should his role stay exclusive to rushing the football, the production is historically there on per-carry points with him last year rushing for a first down on more than 30 percent of his overall 133 carries. The trick is figuring out just how often the Packers will turn to him, something that only actually games will reveal.
Final verdict: Start him. Because whether he’s your RB1 or RB2, he is too valuable to leave on your bench when at 100 percent. Fantasy Pros have just 11 other rushers, including Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook and Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon, ahead on him. Remember, you know nothing yet. Let the team you drafted speak for itself and reassess after the opening week.
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