Today, we had some stunning dynasty news when the Jaguars released Leonard Fournette. I’ll break down the dynasty and 2020 impact on all related assets in this rapid reaction piece. Let’s jump right in!
How Fournette Got Here
I’ve written about Fournette many times throughout the offseason, most recently in a free dynasty profile. In that article, I had the prescient take not to wait on the season to open to sell Fournette. At the time, I believed he would lose significant work to backups Ryquell Armstead and Chris Thompson, even though I didn’t predict an outright release.
I also noted that the Jaguars tried to trade Fournette throughout the offseason, and they didn’t want him on their team. They declined his fifth-year option, and I expected him to be on a new team in 2021. I have never thought of Fournette as a talented running back, so I thought he’d have little market as a free agent.
Now, Fournette hits the free agency market a year earlier than I thought. Once again, if the Jaguars couldn’t trade Fournette for any value, I don’t think he has much interest from other teams. Fournette isn’t an incredibly talented running back, but he deserves to have a job in the NFL.
Fournette’s Future and Value
I’m a bit puzzled as to which teams might be interested in Fournette’s services. He will go on waivers today with a Tuesday 4 PM deadline to claim him. Any team that claims Fournette will inherit his $4.17 million salary for 2020.
Waiver claims are in reverse order of 2020 standings, so the Bengals have the first overall priority, followed by Washington, and so on. While I don’t think the Bengals have any interest in Fournette, Washington is a team to watch. They could claim Fournette, having released Derrius Guice due to his off-field infractions.
If Fournette lands in Washington, I would have little interest in him from a dynasty and 2020 perspective. Washington has pass-catching star Antonio Gibson and veteran Adrian Peterson will continue to compete for carries. Fournette would fall as a mid-range RB3 in my 2020 redraft rankings and around aging veterans Le’Veon Bell and David Johnson in my dynasty rankings. At those prices, I’ll go elsewhere and just avoid Fournette for now.
Throughout the 2020 offseason, I have selected Ryquell Armstead in multiple DFF redraft mocks, mentioning his upside in case Fournette was released. Well, now Fournette has been released, opening up the depth chart. Armstead was a fifth-round pick in 2019, but he received little work. He only had 35 carries for 108 yards and no touchdowns, while adding 14 receptions for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
I don’t see Armstead as a workhorse type, either in 2020 or in the future. For 2020, I have Armstead currently as my RB45. I think the Jaguars’ offense will be terrible, and I’m not confident in Armstead. I’ll take different fliers late in redraft formats.
As for dynasty leagues, I think Armstead is an easy sell. I don’t believe in him long-term, and the Jaguars will undoubtedly draft or sign Fournette’s long-term replacement in 2021. Get out from Armstead for any second-round pick and move on.
Other Jaguars’ Running Backs
The Jaguars have Chris Thompson as their pass-catching back behind Fournette. With Fournette gone, I expect Thompson to see a more significant role in 2020, especially on third-downs. Thompson turns 30 years old, so he has little dynasty value. However, he could be a reliable PPR contributor if he manages to stay healthy. He’s now my RB55 for 2020.
Outside of Thompson, the Jaguars only have undrafted free agents on their depth chart. Devine Ozigbo and James Robinson are the two most notable names, but I doubt either make a regular-season impact. On September 5th, NFL teams will have to cut down to 53 players, and multiple running backs will become available. I believe the Jaguars will sign a cheap veteran back, making Ozigbo and Robinson irrelevant. I wouldn’t look their way in dynasty leagues.
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.