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Jahnke favorite fantasy football picks – my guys

It’s “my guy” season at PFF — time for us plant our flags on players we like more than almost anyone. For my list, I compared my rankings to my peers and only considered writing about the players I ranked the highest with no ties. That left me with 31 players to choose from. I focused on the ones with extreme differences while also covering a variety of positions. These are all players that I’ve found myself adding in several leagues and players I’ve held onto or acquired in dynasty leagues.

One caveat: There won’t be any tight ends on my list. Out of the 31 players, the only tight end was Travis Kelce. He won't let you down, but claiming the top player at a position as my guy didn’t make sense. The reason no other tight ends are on the list is because there are so many with breakout potential that it’s better to wait and see which tight ends are left to pick from in the last few rounds than spend a higher pick on them.

As for the other three positions, players are ordered based on where they land in my rankings. All ADP references are from Best Ball 10s from Aug. 16-22. 

1. Aaron Jones

The only skill players to score more than Jones in 2019 were Christian McCaffrey and Michael Thomas. There is fear that he won’t repeat his strong performance, as Jones should see regression from his 19 touchdowns and the Packers drafted of A.J. Dillon in the second round. This has dropped his ADP to 2.04. While these are reasons he probably won’t be the third-highest-scoring fantasy player, dropping him down to the 16th pick is too far.

Last season, 16 of his 19 touchdowns were on the ground and 14 of those came in the red zone on 34 red zone attempts. While it’s highly unlikely Jones will be so efficient converting touchdowns, it is likely that he'll see more red zone carries. 

In 2017, Matt LaFleur’s Rams ran 46.5% of the time in the red zone, while his 2018 Titans ran 51.7%. In each of those years, LaFleur had a running back in the top five in red zone carries. Over the first half of the season, the Packers were near the bottom of the league at 33.3%, but in the second half and in the playoffs they ran 41.6% of the time. It’s reasonable to expect the start of 2019 to be the outlier, which means more red zone carries to help fight against the touchdown regression.

As for Dillon, the average second round pick in the past decade has taken 356 snaps per season — that's the mean and also two snaps away from the median. Because both Jones and Packers' 2019 backup running back Jamaal Williams are in contract years, it makes sense for Green Bay to have prepared in this draft for the departure of one or both players. They don’t need Dillon to have a large role this year because of the talent they have at running back, so Dillon should fall below the 356 snap threshold rather than above.

As the 2019 season went on, Jones started taking more and more of Williams' snaps when both were healthy. If Dillon weren't in the picture, Jones would probably get more snaps this year based on how the end of last season played out. With Dillon, his snaps should be around the same.

Over the last three years, Jones' PFF overall grade is 90.6, which is third-best for all running backs. Elite backs who are the clear starters with a run-first coach should be first-round picks.

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