Why Leonard Fournette Can Rebound to Fantasy RB1 Form in 2019 - Roto Street Journal
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Why Leonard Fournette Can Rebound to Fantasy RB1 Form in 2019

Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette was a “2018 Bust of the Year” candidate, but could be in line for a major rebound as a 2019 Offseason Winner. Even after an injury-ruined sophomore season, Fournette remains firmly atop the team’s depth chart. TJ Yeldon is now in Buffalo, and Fournette’s only “competition” for usage is now Alfred Blue and fifth round rookie Ryquell Armstead, keeping the path to workhorse “Volume” wide open. Plus, Nick Foles is an immediate and stark upgrade over Blake Bortles, and the line should be markedly improved in 2019. With an expected bump in receiving usage, Fournette’s shaky health may be the only obstacle to a massive 2019 RB1 campaign in which he expects 2,000 rushing yards.

Of course, the health question marks could not be more glaring. Dating back to college, Fournette has consistently missed time due to foot and ankle injuries. His bruising style invites contact and opens him up to serious punishment. The Risk is extremely high drafting Fournette.

Still, nearly every other “Fantasy Factor” has improved for Fournette this offseason. Volume has never been an issue, as Fournette (23.3) trails only Zeke Elliott (26.0) in touches per game over the last two years. Even better, only Todd Gurley (1.5) has seen more carries per game inside of the opponents’ 5-yard line than Fournette (1.1) in this span, and the Jaguars boast even lesser RB competition in 2019.

Yes, new OC John DeFilippo remains a “Scheme” question mark. His offenses have been consistently pass-happy, as the Vikings ranked second-highest in attempts during DeFilippo’s 13 games with the team (over 40 per game). Still, DeFilippo acknowledged this team is composed far differently, noting:

“This is not like the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense. This is not the Minnesota Vikings’ offense. This is the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offense. We’re going to do what our players do best, and Fournette is going to be a major reason where our offense goes. We’re really looking forward to Leonard having a big year.”

Already, this seems to mean more passing-game involvement for Fournette. He was heavily involved as a receiver in OTAs, and Foles admitted he loves throwing to him: “That’s a threat… if you ask any defender, when a running back can go out of the backfield and not only run the ball and protect, but he can receive, that’s really tough on a defense.” Fournette’s flashed receiving chops, with 58 receptions, 487 yards, and 2 TDs on 74 career targets.

None of this will matter if he’s bit by the injury bug again. Still, with a Round 3 Price Tag, Fournette could pay off huge with 12+ games.

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