|Year||Games||Carries||Rushing Yards||YPC||Rushing TDs||Fantasy Rank||Fantasy PPG||PPG Rank|
The Jaguars selected Leonard Fournette with the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to be their new workhorse back. Whenever Fournette has been healthy, he’s been an RB1 in fantasy PPG. No other Jaguars’ running back has significantly challenged Fournette for carries when Fournette has been on the field.
However, Fournette has missed games in each season due to injuries or suspensions. Also, Fournette has been a relatively inefficient NFL back, with a career 4.0 YPC. In the most basic terms, I don’t think Fournette is or has been a good NFL running back. He’s been given volume due to his draft capital, not because of his talent.
In 2017 and 2018, Fournette ceded passing-game work to T.J. Yeldon, and he recorded only 36 and 22 receptions in each season. Fournette finally saw passing-game work in 2019, after the Jaguars moved on from Yeldon. Fournette caught 76 of 100 targets for 522 yards and no touchdowns. Even though Fournette saw increased volume through the air, he averaged a miserable 5.2 yards/target and 6.9 yards/reception. Fournette produced because the Jaguars had few alternative options, not because he’s a talented pass-catcher.
In 2020, the Jaguars have few alternatives to using Fournette as their workhorse back once again. I broke down the entire Jaguars’ offense in June, and I’ve only cooled on Fournette since then. Then, Fournette was my RB16 and 32nd overall player, but I’ve dropped him to RB19 and 39th overall.
The Jaguars did sign Chris Thompson in free agency to be their third-down back. While some have dismissed Thompson as “washed-up,” Thompson previously worked with offensive coordinator Jay Gruden in Washington. Therefore, I believe that Thompson is a serious threat to Fournette’s role in the passing game. Also, second-round rookie receiver Laviska Shenault could be used as a short-area receiver and out of the backfield like he was at Colorado, further eating into Fournette’s receiving work.
Finally, I expect the Jaguars’ offense to be putrid in 2020. I don’t think Fournette is a talented running back, and I don’t trust him to maintain his volume from prior years, both on the ground and through the air. He’s a hard fade for me this season.
Coming out of LSU, Fournette was the first or second overall pick in dynasty rookie drafts, along with Corey Davis. While Fournette has produced far more than Davis, some of the players who went later than Fournette include studs like Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook, Alvin Kamara, Chris Godwin, and Juju Smith-Schuster. Therefore, many fantasy owners who picked Fournette are now disappointed even though he’s been a decent fantasy asset.
With that said, now is the time to run away from Fournette. The Jaguars tried to trade him multiple times during the 2020 NFL Draft, and they declined the fifth-year option on his contract. Therefore, Fournette will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season, and he will play for a different team in 2021. The 2021 free agent running back class is a stacked group, with multiple superior options to Fournette that potentially include Cook, Mixon, Kamara, Aaron Jones, Kareem Hunt, and others.
I wouldn’t wait until the season begins because Fournette will lose value if he isn’t the same workhorse as before. Trust me and get out now while you still can. If you can get any 2021 first-round pick for Fournette, I would make that trade in a heartbeat.
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.