Here are Josh Jacobs’ full NFL stats.
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The Raiders drafted Jacobs with the 24th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft as the first running back off the board. Jacobs didn’t play as a workhorse back at Alabama, sharing the load with Damien Harris and Najee Harris. However, the Raiders immediately installed Jacobs as their workhorse back, with scatback Jalen Richard and backup DeAndre Washington as depth options.
Jacobs immediately established himself as a runner in the NFL, averaging 18.6 attempts/game as a rookie. His 4.8 YPC was excellent for a rookie and indeed for any running back. Also, Jacobs averaged 88.5 rushing yards/game, third in the NFL behind only Derrick Henry and Nick Chubb. Jacobs far exceeded my expectations as a pure rusher during his rookie season, demonstrating top-five ability.
Unfortunately, Jacobs did almost nothing as a receiver during the 2019 season. Jacobs received first-round draft capital due to his receiving ability, so his low target and reception numbers surprised me. He did suffer a shoulder injury in the middle of the season, which may have limited him as a receiver. Both Richard and Washington outperformed him, with each player getting 36 receptions compared to only 20 for Jacobs.
2020 Performance and Outlook
Going into 2020, Raiders’ head coach Jon Gruden consistently stated that he wanted to get Jacobs more involved as a receiver. He mentioned Jacobs’ shoulder injury was why Jacobs didn’t catch more balls as a rookie, and he made it clear that Jacobs was the Raiders’ workhorse back. However, the Raiders extended Richard and drafted hybrid scatback Lynn Bowden Jr. in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. They also signed Devontae Booker and Theo Riddick in free agency, giving them four different options to use in the passing game outside of Jacobs.
Luckily for Jacobs, everything changed as we approached the start of the season. The Raiders released Riddick, and then they stunningly traded Bowden Jr. to the Dolphins. In Week 1, the Raiders handed Jacobs 25 carries compared to four for Booker. Most notably, Jacobs had six targets and four receptions for 46 yards. Considering that he only averaged about two targets/game in 2019, his usage looks way better in 2020. I’m all in on Jacobs as a rock-solid RB1 for the rest of the 2020 fantasy season.
In dynasty leagues, Jacobs is only 22 years old, has first-round draft capital, and has no competition in his backfield. Therefore, he’s a clear first-round startup pick for me, coming in as my dynasty RB6 and sixth overall player. Only Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ezekiel Elliott, and Alvin Kamara are ahead of Jacobs.
If you wanted to select Jacobs third overall behind only McCaffrey and Barkley, I couldn’t blame you for that decision. Jacobs is a clear hold for anyone who has him on their rosters, but I think he’s also a strong buy-high candidate. I don’t believe that most dynasty owners value Jacobs quite as high as I do, so you might be able to acquire Jacobs more cheaply than some of those other top running backs.
Many might even prefer Jonathan Taylor, Joe Mixon, or Miles Sanders to Jacobs, opening an excellent pivot opportunity. If you can get Jacobs plus for any of those running backs, it’s a smash move. Either way, I think it’s clear that Jacobs is a cornerstone asset, and he should have that value.
Thanks for reading this article. You can find me on Twitter at @DFF_Karp. I love to interact with anyone in the community, so reach out at any time! I take fantasy questions and help with all formats, so keep sending those questions my way.