Is Allen Lazard a Realistic Fantasy Option? (2020 Fantasy Football)
Allen Lazard made a name for himself last year when the Packers were without Davante Adams for much of the season. Presumably, Lazard will be activated from Injured Reserve (IR) shortly. When that happens, can you trust him in a crowded offense?
Lazard has been on IR with a core injury since Week 4, and many expect him to be activated this week, though, as of this writing, he has not been. Clearly, his health is a concern, though he hasn’t been ravaged by injuries in the past.
With Davante Adams sidelined for most of the 2019 season, Lazard was part of the Packers receiving carousel that generally wasn’t consistent enough to use confidently. Lazard had a couple of solid games around the 15-20 fantasy point range in PPR, but otherwise, he was a subpar option. He averaged 3.2 receptions and 43.4 receiving yards per game in 2019 with three touchdowns on the year.
This season, Lazard appeared set to take a step forward. In Week 1, he caught all four of his targets for 63 yards and a touchdown. Week 2 wasn’t too significant, as he caught three balls for 45 yards. Week 3, however, saw Adams sidelined with another injury, and Lazard erupted for six receptions for 146 yards and a score.
Then he was suddenly injured and placed on IR.
Lazard is actually the 14th-highest fantasy wide receiver in terms of fantasy points per game with 17.4, though obviously, he has only played three games. He has 52.1 fantasy points on the season, and Marquez Valdes-Scantling — his de facto replacement who has played all seven games — has 49.4 fantasy points. Lazard outproduced him in less than half of the games.
State of the Offense
The Packers offense will always feed Davante Adams, and their lead running back first, be that Aaron Jones or Jamaal Williams if Jones is sidelined. Those three players have accounted for 53.7% of the Packers total scrimmage (rushing & receiving) yards this season, and that’s with Adams and Jones missing two games each. Adams and Jones each have seven touchdowns, Robert Tonyan has five, and the next closest is, oddly enough, Lazard with his two.
The Packers are absolutely not an offense that spreads it around.
Davante Adams is the number one fantasy wide receiver on a points-per-game basis in PPR — he averages 27.0 per game. The next closest is Tyler Lockett (21.2). Adams has over 30 fantasy points in three of his five games this season, and he has seven total touchdowns, including five over the last two weeks.
I know this isn’t a Davante Adams piece, but it cannot be understated that he absolutely dominates the receiving game when healthy. If and when Lazard returns, he will be firmly second (at best) in the pecking order behind Adams in the receiving game, and his only path to fantasy stardom will be in the event of a Davante Adams injury.
Lazard is tricky. He’s coming off an injury, which always adds a shroud of mystery. He’s been the most productive Packers receiver not named Adams over the last two years, but it’s unclear if there is enough to go around after Adams gets his inevitable targets.
The Packers offense has been generally very productive this season, so I don’t mind Lazard as a FLEX option once he returns. If Adams is forced to miss any time to injury, Lazard will likely become the number one option for the time being. Don’t expect 17.4 fantasy points per game with Adams out there too, but Lazard may hover around the 10-12 range, which makes him a solid add and a potential starter as bye weeks become a force in the decision-making process.
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