Last season, Josh Jacobs had a solid rookie season with the newly named Las Vegas Raiders. On the ground, he ranked seventh in the NFL with 1,150 rushing yards, which is impressive considering he missed three games due to injuries. Additionally, Jacobs had the second-most fantasy points amongst all rookie RBs, but he could have had the most if he had stayed healthy. Heading into 2020, the new Raiders offense has the potential to bolster Jacobs’ fantasy outlook.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FPTS||FPPG|
In 2019, Josh Jacobs had 242 carries for 1,150 yards and an average of 4.75 yards/carry. In the receiving game, Jacobs hauled in 20 catches for 166 yards. Jacobs was able to reach the end zone seven times, but all of these touchdowns were on the ground. He generated 191.6 fantasy points with an average of 14.7 points, but the overwhelming majority of his success came from the running game.
This disparity made him a borderline top-ten RB in standard leagues, but only the 21st ranked RB in PPR leagues. However, it is crucial to note that he had the 15th highest PPR average amongst all RBs with at least 100 carries. On the surface, this was average production, but given his injury, this production is acceptable, especially for a rookie.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FPTS||FPPG|
According to Lineups.com, Josh Jacobs forecasts to be RB14, and he is projected to increase his fantasy points if he can play a full season in 2020. Moreover, potential adjustments to the Raiders’ new offensive scheme will likely strengthen his receiving production. Plus, Jacobs is projected to witness future success in the red zone because he ranked in the top five for red-zone touches per game. This is great because fantasy RBs are most valuable in the red-zone, and success in this area will lead to explosive contests.
Missed tackles forced by rookie RB:
1. Josh Jacobs 69
2. Kareem Hunt 61
3. Alfred Morris 57 pic.twitter.com/dYAIprd2O5
— PFF (@PFF) April 1, 2020
Auction Value: $32
It’s currently a better bargain to draft Josh Jacobs rather than select him in auction leagues. Given his 2019 rushing success and ability to bust through contact, he is a consistently reliable RB who is worth a late second/early third-round pick. He will be a fantastic fantasy selection in this area because he is a reliable rusher who can anchor your fantasy team.
However, his low end receiving output makes his auction price a worse deal than some more proven RBs. Kenyan Drake, Miles Sanders, and Austin Ekeler are examples of running backs who have better PPR value than Jacobs. Considering that they have a less expensive price tag, fantasy owners should target them instead.
As mentioned earlier, the biggest impediment to Josh Jacobs’ fantasy status is his lack of receiving production. In 2019, Jacobs ranked 49th and 50th respectively amongst all RBs in terms of receptions and receiving yardage. If these low totals carry over into 2020, Jacobs won’t be an elite fantasy back in PPR leagues. In fact, he’d be closer to average in these formats unless he witnesses an uptick receiving production. Although, the fact that he only had three games with less than 70 rushing yards means that he likely won’t fall outside of the top-15 RBs.
Currently, Josh Jacobs’ best value is in standard fantasy leagues because he is a tough running back who maximizes all his carries. Last season, Jacobs ranked 3rd for rushing yards per game and 5th for yards after contact. Consequently, these stats indicate that he is an efficient RB who can barrel through the most daunting defensive lines. Furthermore, Jacobs is trustworthy against difficult defenses because he isn’t dependent on his OL for rushing yards. Therefore, he is extremely more valuable than average RBs, like Sony Michel, who struggle to fend off contact.
Las Vegas Raiders Offense
Given Jon Gruden’s ever-changing playbook, it is impossible to predict precisely how the Raiders offense will look. In the past, Gruden has employed a conservative west coast offense that targets short passes. Although Las Vegas’ off-season moves, such as the addition of WRs Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor, signal that the Raiders will probably air the ball out more. Consequently, they will likely pass the ball more often and target the intermediate and deep levels of the field for explosive passing plays.
An uptick in the Raiders’ passing attack could lead to a reduction in touches per game for Jacobs. However, this could be good news for Jacobs because it would limit the amount of damage he encounters in the ground game. Additionally, an aggressive passing game would create more yards per touch for him, particularly on draw plays. Plus, passing the ball more could be the very thing Jacobs needs to excel in PPR leagues.
Strength of Schedule
Jacobs’ divisional matchups do not present a considerable obstacle for his fantasy success. Given that none of his rivals ranked in the top half of the NFL for limiting rushing yards, Jacobs has the potential to barrel through those defenses. In fact, the Chargers and Chiefs will probably be cakewalks because they ranked in the bottom seven of the NFL for defensive rush efficiency, according to Football Outsiders.
However, it is a good thing that Josh Jacobs is not a matchup dependent RB because his non-divisional opponents are tougher against the run. This will be most evident against the Buccaneers and Jets because they were the two stingiest units against rushing yards last season. They were also the two most efficient rush defenses in the NFL, according to Football Outsiders, so Jacobs won’t get any leeway against them. The Saints also forecast to be a challenging contest because their defense ranked in the top five against the run.
Conversely, fantasy owners should start Jacobs against the Dolphins, Panthers, and Browns because they were weak against the run last season. Given that the Browns did not address their run defense in the off-season, they will likely be his best performance in standard leagues. Although the Dolphins and Panthers addressed their area in the off-season, so they slightly improved. Nevertheless, all these teams project to be must-starts for Jacobs.
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