The Jacksonville Jaguars made no bones about it — when they selected Leonard Fournette the No. 4 overall pick, they made him the bell-cow back. Fournette will be getting 20 carries a game, he’ll get as many snaps as T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory combined, and the offense will be running through him.
And with all those opportunities, Scott Barrett over at Pro Football Focus believes Fournette will carry the load on your fantasy football team as well, saying he believes Fournette will be getting the bulk of the team’s carries, nearly all goal line carries, and worth a top-six pick in dynasty leagues.
Taking Fournette at No. 4 overall was largely panned by draftniks, though embraced by the fantasy community. Despite the high selection, I’m less optimistic in terms of immediate and long-term fantasy potential. Despite what Jacksonville’s front office is claiming, I don’t see Fournette as a three-down-back. In three years at LSU, he amassed only 40 career receptions, and still managed to drop a whopping eight passes. In terms of talent as a runner, I really don’t see much separating him from Dalvin Cook, who was selected a round later by the Vikings.
Jacksonville ran the ball only 37 percent of the time last season (seventh-lowest), and I expect that number to climb significantly under new executive vice president Tom Coughlin and his plans for a more-balanced offense, however, with Coughlin also comes a long history of maddening running back usage. Still, I expect the team to give Fournette the bulk of the carries and almost the entirety of the rushing workload near the goal line. However, I also expect Jacksonville to continue to use T.J. Yeldon on third downs and as a change-of-pace back. Coughlin basically said just that in his press conference following the selection.
Jacksonville’s offensive line is a question mark as well. As a team, Jacksonville running backs haven’t averaged 4.0 yards per carry since 2011, and last season the team ranked bottom-10 in both average yards before contact and PFF run-blocking grade. From a dynasty perspective, Fournette is still likely a top-six pick for me, but I don’t have him among the top-three, as so many other do.
Fournette will get plenty of opportunities, but worth a top-six pick? The offensive line still needs a lot of work so it’ll be quite a while before you see a return on that kind of investment. And with a (likely) new quarterback under center next year after Blake Bortles underwhelms again, Fournette’s production could be affected.
What do you think? Is Fournette worth your RB1 or RB2 label? How high are you picking him up in your fantasy leagues?