Last season, Leonard Fournette was able to return to his 2017 form. In 2019, Fournette ran for a career-high 1,152 rushing yards and experienced a career-high in fantasy points. He also was able to play in 15 games last season, which is the most in his NFL career. However, there are some significant problems concerning Fournette’s fantasy status. These issues include his inconsistency from a statistics perspective but also deal with his place within the Jacksonville Jaguars’ new offense. As a result, he is a risky RB who could make or break your fantasy football roster in 2020.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FPTS||FPPG|
After a lackluster 2018 campaign, Leonard Fournette resurged as a solid fantasy running back who scored 259.4 fantasy points. Surprisingly, much of Fournette’s success came from the receiving game, where he hauled in 76 catches for 522 yards. In fact, for the first time in Fournette’s career, he recorded triple-digit targets. If Fournette can maintain this consistency in the 2020 season, he could be very valuable in PPR leagues.
Throughout his career, Leonard Fournette’s best attribute has been his ability to create yardage after contact. Last season, Leonard rushed for 792 yards after contact, which was third-best in the NFL. This statistic is fantastic for his fantasy status because it indicates that he should still maximize carries when he plays against daunting defensive lines. Plus, it means that he should even play decently well if his OL regresses.
|RUSH YDS||RUSH TD||REC||REC YDS||REC TD||FPTS||FPPG|
One of the most alarming concerns associated with Fournette is his lack of touchdowns (three total TDs in 2019). This season, Fournette had the lowest touchdown total of his three-year career, halving his 2018 number last season. Shockingly, his red-zone woes occurred even though he was a league leader in red-zone touches. Therefore, this issue can’t simply be fixed by increasing his carries. In fact, over the last three seasons, Leonard has witnessed a continuous decline in touchdowns. If this trend continues into 2020, his lack of scores will drastically limit his ceiling in standard leagues.
Given that touchdowns are a considerable aspect of RB fantasy points, Fournette will need to make up for this loss with increased yardage. The good news is that he has rushed for 1,000+ yards in the two seasons he managed to play in at least 13 games. Furthermore, he has gradually become more of a receiving threat since entering the NFL in 2017. In fact, his receiving yards per game increased by over 10 yards per game from 2018 to 2019. As a result, he will most likely maintain his status as a tier two back, but he won’t become an elite RB until he can more frequently reach the end-zone.
My early PPR Rankings for 2020
1. Christian McCaffrey
2. Saquon Barkley
3. Dalvin Cook
4. Michael Thomas
5. Alvin Kamara
6. Ezekiel Elliott
7. Leonard Fournette
8. Chris Godwin
9. Julio Jones
10. DeAndre Hopkins
11. Derrick Henry
12. Davante Adams
— Adam Rank (@adamrank) December 30, 2019
Auction Value: $48
Fournette’s ADP and auction price are both are too high to warrant selecting him. As it pertains to fantasy drafts, Fournette is simply too risky to warrant drafting too early in the second round. Of all the RBs likely to be on the board in the second round, Kenyan Drake, Aaron Jones, and Nick Chubb would be better running backs to target. If you can get him in the latter half of the second round or third round, it would be a better acquisition, but it’s far from a disaster to miss out on picking him.
From an auction standpoint, $48 is simply too high to warrant picking Fournette. For $45+, you should be choosing an RB who has a history of elite fantasy production or long-term consistency and no red flags. Currently, Derrick Henry, Kenyan Drake, Austin Ekeler, and Aaron Jones are safer RBs with cheaper price tags. If the Jags draft an RB in the draft, you can anticipate that Fournette’s price will become more reasonable.
The biggest issue with Leonard Fournette is that he always deals with some unforeseen problems. Last season he struggled to find the end zone and experienced major dysfunction with former VP of football ops, Tom Coughlin. In 2018 and 2017, he suffered nagging injuries that prevented him from playing in 11 games. Speaking of injuries, Fournette has never played through a full season, so it would be an enormous gamble to pick him too early. As a result, Fournette is a riskier RB asset than the average back, and the Jags’ notoriously inconsistent offense will do little to help that.
While Fournette is a risky pick, the reward from drafting him at the right time would be decent. Unlike RBs like Nick Chubb, Fournette is the undisputed lead back in Jacksonville. In fact, Fournette had the second-highest (91.7%) snap share and opportunity share (90.1%) in 2019, according to playerprofiler.com. Due to his high usage ratings, he has been able to average 15+ fantasy points per game in each season during his NFL career.
These stats prove that Fournette is a solid fantasy back who performs efficiently on a per-game basis. Moreover, he usually receives the overwhelming majority of Jags carries when healthy. Fournette is far from tier-one status, but he is a decent RB2 who would be a great flex option.
Last season, former Jacksonville offensive coordinator John DeFilippo utilized a pass-heavy scheme that was heavily criticized for its lack of motions and creativity. After his offense fizzled out, DeFilippo was fired and replaced with former Redskins head coach, Jay Gruden, who will be the Jags’ third OC in three seasons.
Given his past schemes, Gruden will likely integrate a west coast offense into the Jags’ playbook to assist with QB, Gardner Minshew’s development. Gruden’s play-action emphasis and pass-run balance will help Fournette gain more explosive runs while maintaining his receiving production from last season.
According to CBS, Jay Gruden RBs averaged 22.5 carries while playing in his offenses. If Fournette can garner at least 75% of that average, he will be receiving nearly 17 carries per game. This load should set him up with enough touches to be a tier two RB. For perspective, Christian McCaffery only averaged 17.9 carries/game last season.
However, Fournette has some work to do before he remains the Jags’ lead back. During an interview with Jaguars.com, Gruden said that the Jags need to find a third-down RB. This signals that Gruden currently doesn’t think of Fournette that way, which is devastating for his fantasy projections. In fact, he will likely observe a reduction in snaps, especially on obvious passing downs, lowering his floor to tier three status.
Strength of Schedule
Heading into the 2020 season, there won’t be many challenging contests for Fournette. The hardest team he’ll face will most likely be the Baltimore Ravens who are stellar against the run. Plus, they added Calias Campbell and Derek to a roster that already ranked in the top ten for limiting RB fantasy points and rushing yards. Therefore, this might be a game to bench Leonard Fournette. The Bears will also look to limit Fournette’s yardage, so Chicago projects to be a hard contest. Within the division, the Colts will also be a tough series because they ranked in the top five at limiting RB points and top ten at defending the run.
Next season Fournette will have five great opportunities to play against teams that struggle against the RBs. For instance, the Texans will be a cakewalk because they ranked in the bottom ten against RB points and rush yards per game last year. Plus, they did little to bolster their front seven in the off-season, so Fournette will probably excel against them. He will likely also excel against the Browns, Bengals, Packers, and Dolphins because none of those teams is a formidable matchup against fantasy backs. Detriot could also be a potentially opportunistic matchup for Fournette because their defense was shoddy last season. Although considering that they are built to stop the run, this projection needs to be monitored during the season because it is subject to change.
- Allen Robinson Fantasy Football Outlook & Value
- Zach Wilson Fantasy Football Outlook & Value
- George Kittle Fantasy Football Outlook & Value
- Patrick Mahomes Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Lamar Jackson Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Mike Evans Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Terry McLaurin Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Ja'Marr Chase Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Keenan Allen Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Michael Thomas Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Alvin Kamara Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Christian McCaffrey Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Dak Prescott Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Josh Allen Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Austin Ekeler Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Ezekiel Elliot Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Chris Godwin Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Odell Beckham Jr. Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Davante Adams Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Derrick Henry Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Justin Herbert Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Devonta Smith Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Trevor Lawrence Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Darren Waller Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Aaron Rodgers Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Saquon Barkley Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Tyreek Hill Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Justin Fields Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Kyle Pitts Fantasy Outlook & Value
- TJ Hockenson Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Adam Thielen Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Chris Carson Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Aaron Jones Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Travis Kelce Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Joe Mixon Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Kenny Golladay Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Julio Jones Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Chase Edmonds Fantasy Outlook & Value
- DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Stefon Diggs Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Nick Chubb Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Miles Sanders Fantasy Outlook & Value
- DK Metcalf Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Jonathan Taylor Fantasy Outlook & Value
- Trey Lance Fantasy Outlook & Value