Aaron Jones said it once, then said it again: He believes he can go “toe-to-toe” the highest-paid running back in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers lead rusher is looking a boost in snaps and touches on the road against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5, as complement rusher Jamaal Williams has been ruled out with a concussion that knocked him out of last Thursday’s 34-27 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
A featured rushing role is what many fantasy football owners have been anticipating for Jones since the preseason, but Packers coach Matt LaFleur made an effort to split carries between him and Williams. The two rushers took nearly the same number of carries Week 3 in the win over the Denver Broncos only to have that plan go off the rails when Williams took a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on the Packers’ first offensive play against the Eagles.
Jones finished with just 21 yards on 13 carries in Week 4, but his consistent scoring trend held true as he galloped into the end zone for his 13th all-purpose touchdown in his last 15 games.
Is that enough, though, for fantasy owners to trust Jones in their starting lineups this week?
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Aaron Jones Fantasy Outlook vs. Cowboys
The Cowboys defense isn’t exactly giving up a ton of yards to rushers through the first four weeks, an average of just 96.8 yards per game. But the Vikings defense, which has held up about the same, got taken for 116 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries against Jones.
The trouble is Jones has been wildly unproductive in his other three games by comparison with a miserable 2.2 yards on 36 carries. Jones scoring four touchdowns over his last three performances has helped his numbers, as has him being the fifth-most productive option in the Packers’ passing game with 12 catches for 75 yards, but the raw figures are a little troubling.
One or two more dud performances and Jones’ situation could change drastically for fantasy owners holding out on him becoming a consistent contributor.
Should You Start or Sit Aaron Jones in Week 5?
Aaron Rodgers won’t have Davante Adams as a target this week as the star wideout has been ruled out with a toe injury he suffered after last Thursday’s career game. A factor like that can put the passing game in flux or force the Packers to get more creative with using their rushers in the passing game. Either way, the outlook favors Jones having a more involved role against the Cowboys on the road.
While rookie Dexter Williams could make his NFL debut Sunday afternoon in place of Williams and fullback Danny Vitale is on hand to provide some help, Jones should take the majority of carries and is projected for about 13.9 points in PPR leagues, according to FantasyPros. It should also be mentioned that Jones has taken 100 percent of the Packers’ goal-line carries this season.
Final verdict: Jones is back to being the No. 1 option and effective enough in the passing game to be an easy starting choice for a second running back in Week 5. It is not a stretch to think he could touch RB1 numbers for the second time this season if he can crack through the Cowboys’ defensive line. To say do-or-die time is probably too dramatic, but this is an opportunity Jones must rise to meet.