Green Bay has one of many backfields where the roles are not clearly defined. Since running back is one of the most important positions in fantasy football, it's wise to get as clear a picture as possible on every backfield.
In what could be the most wide-open backfield in the NFL, Jamaal Williams, Aaron Jones, and Ty Montgomery return in Green Bay. Will they have defined roles? Is this truly a committee, or will there be a noticeable pecking order? Does Jones' two-game suspension change anything once Week 3 rolls around?
Daniel Simpkins: This backfield may end up like last year where all three runners matter for fantasy at some point due to injury, suspension, and dissatisfaction with production. That's not what fantasy owners want to hear, but it's the probable outcome here. Of the three, I like taking the plunge on Ty Montgomery the best. He's often the cheapest in drafts and his receiving ability makes him intriguing if he does earn the starting nod like last year.
Clayton Gray: I agree that the best of the bunch will be the one who spent the least amount of time with an injury. If they are all healthy, I like Williams. He lacks flash but looks like the most complete back of the three. I generally don't draft him, however, as he's gone before I'm willing to take a shot.
Matt Waldman: The suspension of Aaron Jones won't matter much because it's only two games. The only way this matters is if one of Williams or Montgomery goes off early and only after they've had a training camp that sets the tone for such a possibility. We need to hear that Williams looks more explosive or Montgomery has become a great blocker.
If one of these things happens to keep Jones on the bench, then Williams or Montgomery becomes valuable in a draft. Otherwise, this is the talent-to-value draft game plan in effect: Williams is the most well-rounded and has the best chance of keeping the other two on the bench but it's most likely a three-way split among the three if all of them remain healthy.
Jones has the best chance of becoming the option with the greatest volume in a committee situation because he's explosive and has good hands. However, that volume is more difficult to invest a high pick because of the likelihood of a committee.
Jason Wood: The return of Joe Philbin as offensive coordinator cuts both ways. On one hand, he gave Ryan Grant the lion's share of touches for a few seasons in his last stint as the Packers coordinator. On the other hand, Philbin's offenses in Green Bay and Miami were generally ineffective at running the ball.
Since I have little faith Philbin will suddenly become a running game aficionado, I'm with Matt in expecting this to be an uninspiring committee situation as long as all three backs are healthy.
Phil Alexander: I'm with Daniel here. Montgomery -- who has been highlighted as a camp standout by Packers beat writers -- is the only member of Green Bay's committee with a clear role, yet he currently has the lowest ADP of the trio. When the Packers go no-huddle, are in a two-minute drill, or are otherwise faced with an obvious passing situation, Montgomery will be the guy on the field -- and there's room for more.
With Jordy Nelson in Oakland, about 30% of the team's slot routes from 2017 have been vacated. We can safely expect Aaron Rodgers to react to the way defenses are accounting for Montgomery and move him around the formation to create mismatches whenever he's on the field -- including motioning him into the slot.
Both Williams and Jones were effective when given an opportunity last year, but there is no denying Packers head coach Mike McCarthy is intrigued by the flexibility Montgomery provides. Not only did he win the starting job over the same competition in training camp last year, but before getting hurt in Week 4, Montgomery was on the field for 100%, 96%, and 100% of Green Bay's offensive snaps in Weeks 1-3, respectively.
Andy Hicks: The ultimate answer here is that there is no winner, but all will have a role and all will be useful for fantasy purposes. All three of the backs in Green Bay, at one stage, was the starter in the 2017 season. Aaron Jones provided the most sizzle in his four-game spell as the lead runner, while Jamaal Williams was the preferred runner later in the season when he and Jones were fit. Ty Montgomery does not look like he will hold up as a heavy-duty running back and is likely to have his snap percentage below what you would like from a fantasy back. To open the season I expect Jamaal Williams to see the most carries, Ty Montgomery to be the third-down/change-of-pace back and Aaron Jones to be a backup upon his return from suspension. If the Packers are winning, they won’t mess with what is working. If not, or there are injuries I expect Aaron Jones to see more time and they will hope to see the explosiveness he flashed last year. Jamaal Williams should be the highest-ranked back as he is the most likely to see 200 carries. Ty Montgomery should get points every week, but Aaron Jones is the only back here with RB2 upside if he gets a chance.
Devin Knotts: Aaron Jones should be the guy, especially after the Packers running game struggles against what should be two good run defenses in Chicago and Minnesota in Week 1 and Week 2. Jones is the most complete back on the team, and I expect Ty Montgomery to play third-downs to play a Theo Riddick type receiving role out of the backfield.
Jamaal Williams was on the field last season as much as he was because of his pass blocking ability injuries, and because Devante Mays fumbled his first carry of what was potentially going to be a split backfield. Now that Ty Montgomery is healthy, I suspect Williams will be the odd man out on this team unless there once again is an injury as he just is not that talented of a running back.