The Packers declined to acquire meaningful competition for backup running back A.J. Dillon, despite allowing previous team RB2 Jamaal Williams to walk in free agency. This vacated an average of 34% of the team’s running back rush attempts over the last three years – a role that Dillon should absorb the majority of. In his 2020 rookie campaign, Dillon posted 3.6 yards after contact per attempt – the sixth-highest rate among 78 running backs to rush 45 or more times. He also forced a missed tackle on 37.0% of his rushing attempts, which was easily the top rate among the same.
With Aaron Jones re-signed and still likely to tote the rock 200 or more times, Dillon is unlikely to be the primary back in any phase of usage. In 2020, Jones monopolized RB opportunities in the red zone (57.1%) and on clear passing downs (non-first downs of seven or more yards to go; 45.6%). Dillon saw just 6.0% of RB opportunities in the red zone and 13.3% on obvious passing downs, as well as just two targets overall (1.8% RB target share) last season. He’ll have to convince the coaching staff he’s developed into an all-around player to prevent Jones from consuming virtually every 2021 Packers running back opportunity.
By virtue of being the only Packers running back besides Jones with significant contract or draft capital investment, Dillon should see a major workload increase in his second season. That said, he may end up limited to goal-line and change-of-pace work if the Green Bay coaching staff doesn’t see receiving improvement from the 2020 second rounder. Our models project Dillon to settle in as a middle-to-low RB4 for fantasy football, right in the same range as his ADP (RB41; late 10th to middle 12th-round pick).