Ronald Jones' Fantasy Outlook Explodes After Taking Over Buccaneers' Backfield - Roto Street Journal
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Ronald Jones’ Fantasy Outlook Explodes After Taking Over Buccaneers’ Backfield

If you need a good laugh, type in ‘Ronald Jones’ in the Roto Street search bar. You’ll find an absolute roller coaster of articles from myself and The Wolf, as we battled back and forth on RoJo’s mostly non-existent fantasy outlook since he entered the league.

After rushing for a pathetic 44 yards on 22 carries as a rookie, Jones finally overtook the plodding Peyton Barber at the end of last season, averaging 4.2 yards per clip.

With Tom Brady signed, Jones entered this offseason on a mission.

However, the RoJo fantasy experience hit another bump in the road when he was momentarily named the 2020 starter before the team signed Leonard Fournette. It looked like yet another lost year for RoJo and another season where I had to blindly back my guy.

RoJo of two years ago would have packed it in and quit. But after catching 150 to 300 balls a day this offseason, Jones wanted to become a more complete back.

“He’s gotten over that immaturity hump to where he’s starting to mature more now. He’s doing so many things differently this year,” Luke Neal, Jones’ personal running back coach, said to ESPN.

“The sky is the limit for this young man,” Neal said. “His ceiling is so high. It’s untapped. He’s just a canvas right now — he’s a blank canvas right now…it’s basically creating and molding him into possibly one of the best ones to come along.”

With Fournette banged up and LeSean McCoy looking 50 years old, RoJo took advantage of his recent workhorse role and exploded with three straight 100-yard rushing games — leading to fantasy RB1 status.

“I think he knows the offense, he knows what to expect, he knows the blocking schemes,” Bruce Arians said. “I think he made Roquan Smith miss dead in the hole twice. I wouldn’t say there was any contact, but he made him miss. He’s always had that ability [and] he’s really got much better patience. He’s not running as fast to the hole and [he’s] seeing things better this year like he did near the end of last year. He’s just growing in the offense.

He’s a guy going into the season [who] we knew we could feed 20-25 times. Then, getting Shady, getting Leonard – you give him a blow. I don’t have any trouble handing it to him 20- 25 times and throwing it to him five or six. He can handle that load.”

While Jones has seemingly won over Arians, it’s still tough to fully trust the coach. Fournette is still a big body who can wear down defenses and steal touchdowns when healthy, but Jones looks like he gets stronger as the game progresses.

Per Pro Football Focus, Jones has forced 19 missed tackles, averages a beastly 3.51 yards after contact per attempt, and has totaled 12 explosive (10+) runs so far this season.

Jones is still improving as a pass-catcher, but as of now, he looks like the Bucs’ locked-in three-down back even when Fournette returns to the lineup.

Jones has not only swayed his coach but has also won over The Wolf. RoJo is now his RB15 on the 2020 Rest of Season Big Board.

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