Dynasty Economist: Aaron Jones

The Dynasty Economist article displays a current player’s value in the dynasty community. From this, I will outline statistics that will give evidence to indicate if each player is better or worse than that perceived value.

One of the most popular Sell High’s is Aaron Jones. It’s easy to see why, 19 total touchdowns (23 including the postseason), lack of receiving options on the packers, and a “split” backfield. However, what if I told you he might be a buy?

I get it, his touchdown rate doesn’t seem sustainable, but he has always been great at scoring touchdowns.  Believe it or not, his touchdown rate in 2019 wasn’t that different from previous years. In 2017 he was averaging one touchdown per 22 touches, 2018 one touchdown per 17 touches, and 2019 touchdown per 15 touches. Even with the limited touches he definitely has an eye for the pay dirt. To put this in perspective, last season McCaffery scored 19 touchdowns on 403 touches; that’s one touchdown per 21 touches.  A known 2019 prolific touchdown scorer Todd Gurley had 254 touches and 14 touchdowns; that’s one touchdown per 18 touches. These are two elite options, but it displays how this touchdown rate is not unheard of, especially Jones’ rate over the last two years on a prolific offense.

What if we disregard touchdowns? Has Aaron Jones proved to be more than a touchdown guy? Last season Jones posted 1,550 yards and 49 receptions at the age of twenty-four. That is more yards than Chris Carson, Josh Jacobs, and Joe Mixon last season. If we take away the touchdowns from every running back last season, ranking them solely on yards and receptions Jones would still finish as the RB8. Clearly running backs aren’t just going to stop scoring touchdowns, so what if we doubled his touchdown rate from last year (1 touchdown per 32 touches)? This would mean Jones would have had 9 touchdowns and still be the RB8 on the year just ahead of Nick Chubb. Although touchdowns help, he is definitely a passing threat as well as a between the tackles guy.

What about the team? Rodgers is aging, and much like why everyone was hot and bothered about Michel last year, the offense is running the rock more making the quarterback more of a game manager. The only difference is that unlike the Patriots, the Packer’s offense is just as good as it was before (this year Green Bay scored 376 points, in 2018 376 points, and 2017 400 points). We also haven’t addressed touches.  You can argue Jones is in a committee to bring his price down but really his snap count is pretty close to other lead backs. Here are some average snap counts from last year: Derrick Henry had 63%, Aaron Jones had 61%, and Mixon had 59%. This puts him right in the mix of some other clear lead backs, and the term ‘committee’ has clouded the perspective of what a lead back can be.

Lastly, I think the best reason for why this is a time to buy is his full season fantasy finish. Regardless of what you think of touchdown regression or split touches, he finished RB2 on the season in .5ppr. Here is a list of the last three RB’s to finish as the RB2 on the season: 2016 Zeke, 2017 Bell, 2018 Barkley. All of these players in the following year were priced WAY higher than Jones is now (I get dynasty age needs to be considered but I think you get the point).

If you told me that you can buy the RB2 on the season for what Jones’ perceived price is, I’d take it. I’m not saying to go sell your Josh Jacob’s and Nick Chubb’s for Jones. However, if you are a team that doesn’t have an elite upside running back, Jones might be your way to achieve that at a lower price than the others.