In Fantasy Football circles, one question that seems to be doing the rounds at the moment is- what to do with Leonard Fournette? Truthfully, I didn’t know which side I was on. So here I am figuring out his 2020 outlook.
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Review of 2019 Season
I think this is where the division starts- the fantasy football finish of Leonard Fournette in 2019. Ask just a handful of owners how he performed last season and you’ll see it. Some owners will lament his lack of touchdowns, and others celebrate his pass-catching.
The Good of Leonard Fournette’s Fantasy Football Season
Ultimately, he finished the season with 1,152 rushing yards (with a total of 1,674 scrimmage yards). That was enough to rank him in the top six at the position in yards- it was the lack of touchdowns that hurt his final fantasy finish.
Another positive was his involvement in the passing game. Fournette had more targets just from Gardner Minshew (75) than he had in the entirety of his 2017 & 2018 seasons!
All of that was while he was facing stacked boxes 31.7% of the time (per NFL’s Next Gen Stats) behind an awful offensive line (rated 26th in the league) so really not a bad season all in all.
The Bad of Leonard Fournette’s Fantasy Football Season
Conversely, there is a reason why owners felt he didn’t have a great season. He wasn’t the most efficient player with his touches, but that hasn’t been his hallmark since entering the league- that has been volume.
That shows up with his receiving stats this year. Fournette has never really been used that much in the passing game, which is maybe why his catch rate wasn’t great. However his receiving yards per target at 5.2 falls behind the likes of David Montgomery who managed 5.3 yards per target.
The biggest hit against how owners will have felt about him will be the lack of TDs scored. Despite touching the ball 341 times (265 rushing attempts and 76 receptions) he only scored three times. To do that with the backdrop of having 50 touches in the red-zone is impressive.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have brought in Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator, who has historically run the ball around 40% of the time while in Washington. That might be a tendency of Gruden, or it could be that his teams are normally trailing in games. Something that could hurt his fantasy value.
Equally, it might be a struggle to replicate his volume in the receiving game too. The Jaguars added pass-catching specialist Chris Thompson, who worked with Gruden in Washington, and will get the majority of backfield targets. There is also uncertainty over his future with the team, with the team declining to pick up his 5th-year option and actively trying to trade him away.
It’s hard to really have a final decision on Fournette, because his circumstances and your action are dependent on the type of league you are playing.
With all of those negatives, I still find myself happy to pick him up in the second round of drafts. His volume cannot be knocked currently, with the team not adding a workhorse to the backfield. Combined with positive touchdown regression I’d be happy to pick him up with where he is going (mid-second round)
Fournette‘s value in dynasty (for me) is hard to measure reliably. If I’m in a win-now mode then I’d look to try and pick him cheaply. If I’m looking like i might need a little bit more time, I’d try and shop him to a contender. The reason being that the team have made it clear that they aren’t committed to him for the long-term.
Fournette is a player that is clearly going to be a polarizing force during the draft season. And you could make an argument either way as to his value, but with an ADP in the middle of the second round he is a great value. Either as an RB1 if you opted for a receiver in the latter part of the first round, or a rock-solid RB2 if you already grabbed a running back with your first pick.
Image Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports