2022 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Let's please stop sleeping on Allen Lazard

Aaron Rodgers, in addition to being an eccentric NorCal zillionaire on a journey of self-actualization and personal discovery, assisted by psychedelics and Ayurvedic treatments, is really a helluva quarterback in both fantasy and reality. He's the back-to-back MVP, a ten-time Pro Bowler, the NFL leader in passer rating and touchdown rate in each of the past two seasons. He's produced the lowest interception percentage in the league for four consecutive years.

Rodgers is verifiably and indisputably great at football.

He's also heading into a season without Davante Adams as his teammate for the first time since 2013, so the Packers offense has entered a transitional phase. Over the past four years, Adams caught 47 touchdown passes in 57 games for Green Bay, averaging 10.8 targets and 93.2 receiving yards per week. His loss, along with the departures of Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown, leaves over 240 wide receiver targets up for grabs.

Which brings us to this guy:

Allen Lazard is the last man standing in Green Bay

Allen Lazard simply has a massive opportunity ahead in 2022. Rodgers has already referred to him as both the team's No. 1 receiver — which seems overwhelmingly likely — and as a future Hall of Famer, which is ... um ... well, that's not yet a lock. At this point, it's perfectly clear that the veteran is entering a season in which he has a real chance to emerge as a fantasy star, a featured wideout in an explosive offense. Green Bay has a tradition in the Rodgers era of developing impact receivers slowly and methodically, over multiple seasons; Jordy Nelson broke out in his fourth year, James Jones in his sixth. Adams was a drop-prone punchline as a rookie, then erupted for 997 yards and 12 scores in his third season.

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Let's remember that it was Rodgers himself who lobbied to get Lazard on the field back in 2019, and the decision paid immediate dividends. He's emerged as a circle-of-trust receiver for the Packers, deployed both outside and in the slot. He finished as the WR45 last year in half-PPR leagues, during a season in which only 60 chances came his way.

How useful might he become if he adds, say, a quarter of this team's vacated targets to his workload?

At 6-foot-5 and 230, Lazard seems like a strong candidate to draw a significant share of the high-value opportunities funneled to Adams in the past. Last season, Davante saw 28 targets in the red zone and 14 inside the 10-yard line. When defensive backs are on an island against Lazard, he can be an unsolvable problem:

Still, early fantasy drafters don't seem to appreciate or embrace the upside here. In an average Yahoo league, Lazard is falling well outside the top-100 picks (ADP 110.9), drafted as a non-starter at WR40. We're barely taking him ahead of last year's fantasy finish, despite the incredible setup.

This will simply serve as your final reminder that 1) Lazard was arguably the most significant fantasy winner of the NFL offseason, 2) Rodgers is basically screaming at us to draft him and 3) he's available to you as a fourth receiver, buried in the Russell Gage-Tyler Boyd neighborhood. Ignore his potential at your own peril.

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