Leonard Fournette didn’t skip leg day while waiting for an RB-needy team to give him a call. TBH, most thought he would turn into Eddie Lacey while out of football for the past few months, but he appears to be in the best shape of his life after showing off those hammies during his first Bills practice last week.
The Bills signed Fournette to take Latavius Murray’s snaps and maybe even more as they look to spark their running game that ranks 12th in the league — which is boosted by Josh Allen’s 233 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.
Speaking of Murray, no one has been more pathetic at the stripe than the veteran running back. Murray hasn’t scored since Week 3 and has been stuffed at the goal line a league-leading four times this season — which has turned into Allen keeping the ball in the red zone recently.
FOURNETTE’S FANTASY OUTLOOK WITH BILLS
Adding the physical Fournette to the backfield will decrease the number of hits on Allen, and he’s a proven finisher, scoring 16 total touchdowns over his last two seasons.
Not only will Fournette be in line for those duties, but he will likely take some third-down work from James Cook after recording 144 receptions over his last two seasons. Cook, who some considered the best pass-catching back in his class, has yet to make serious noise as a pass-catcher. He only has 22 receptions on 26 targets in nine games this season.
It may sound crazy, but I would be trembling in my boots if I were a Cook owner.
“Fournette gives them the physical, between-the-tackles runner to help them in short-yardage situations when he’s active on the 53-man roster,” wrote The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia. “They still believe in Cook and his potential moving forward, and his performances in the last two games have shown he can do a little bit of everything for the offense.
“But Cook needs to improve at blitz pickup, opening the door slightly to others getting time on the field. Murray has taken up a lot of the third-down work because of the pass-protection element, though his rushing success has worsened in recent games. Fournette can blend not only the short-yardage piece but also a pass-catching element to his game to make him an all-around option when activated.”
If the Bills deploy Fournette as their RB2, their third-down back, and their goal-line back, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when he’s outscoring Cook on a weekly basis — especially after Cook saw just 10 total touches in their Week 9 loss to the Bengals.
“I had a couple teams reach out to me,” Fournette told the media. “But I really wanted to do what’s best for me, a fresh start out here in Buffalo. I have a lot left in the tank to play, it was all about the right opportunity.”
Overall, with Cook’s underutilization, Murray’s inefficiency, and Damien Harris on IR, Fournette could ultimately take over the Bills’ running back room while the team battles for a playoff spot.
The former LSU Tiger is available in 69% of Yahoo! leagues and should be added in all leagues — especially in PPR leagues where he could make a significant difference for the rest of the season.
Fournette checks in at RB42 (+33 vs ECR) on The Wolf’s Rest of Season Rankings, while Cook lands at RB22 (-3 vs ECR).