The Green Bay Packers shrugged outside expectations and avoided adding a new No. 2 wide receiver to the roster this past offseason. Allen Lazard is a big reason why.
Lazard went from being left off the initial 53-man roster last summer to seizing a notable role in the Packers offense midway through the 2019 season, hauling in 35 receptions for 477 yards and three touchdowns and earning the trust of quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the process. Now, the Packers’ third-year wideout is poised to make an even bigger jump in 2020 as an established piece in Year 2 of Matt LaFleur’s offense.
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Allen Lazard 2020 Fantasy Projections: Outlook & Preview
Not much hype has emanated from the Packers’ receiving corps coming into the 2020 season. While Davante Adams remains the top pass-catcher, the Packers lost their only notable offseason addition, Devin Funchess, to an opt-out decision related to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a growing perception that Rodgers is in decline statistically, which hurts the fantasy football value of receivers in his sights.
And yet, Rodgers is coming off a particularly sharp training camp ahead of his 16th NFL season and figures to carry an additional chip on his shoulder in 2020 with his potential successor — first-round pick Jordan Love — now waiting in the wings. A determined Rodgers has delivered some pretty spectacular seasons in the past, and someone other than Adams and running back Aaron Jones will reap the benefits if it happens again this year.
In terms of positioning, there is nobody better suited than Lazard to assume the No. 2 role behind Adams. Sure, he will compete for regular reps with deep-ball threat Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, but his progression has only continued upward since he broke onto the scene in Week 6 last season. He also looked like a natural part of the first-team offense throughout training camp with as much energy and explosiveness as ever.
Great catch from Allen Lazard, leaping above safety Will Redmond on third down to high point Aaron Rodgers’ pass. Jaire Alexander also in the area. We’ve seen that from Lazard before. Think last season’s clutch TD at Detroit.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) August 29, 2020
When Should You Draft Allen Lazard in 2020?
Lazard could be huge in 2020, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Packers aren’t the same team that churned out fantasy machines like Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb and have shown in recent years its best to approach their up-and-comers with a degree of caution — looking at you, MVS and Geronimo Allison.
ESPN’s Matthew Berry put Lazard at No. 128 overall on his 2020 fantasy football big board, keeping him above high-profile rookies such as CeeDee Lamb and Brandon Aiyuk and other rising wideouts, including Robby Anderson. He was also more than 100 spots behind Jones (No. 12) and Adams (No. 13), emphasizing his place in the Packers’ playmaker hierarchy.
An evaluation from FantasyPros put Lazard somewhat lower on the league’s list of wideouts, predicting him to surpass the 50-catch mark but only produce 143.8 points in PPR leagues (or 92.9 in standard leagues). Even if he exceeds expectations, Lazard doesn’t figure to gain more than 750 yards on the season with his scoring potential also low, thanks to a stacked backfield.
Final verdict: Lazard can be classified as a sleeper and a breakout candidate for the 2020 season, but an early-round investment could be better spent on a wideout more certain to draw a high volume of targets in the passing game. If you spot Lazard still on the board in the later rounds when you’re looking for a WR3 or WR4, though, don’t hesitate to scoop up the Packers’ presumptive No. 2 receiver.