Leonard Fournette is a Top-10 RB for 2019
As was the case with my last subject, Marvin Jones, Leonard Fournette is quickly being dismissed after an injury-plagued season in 2019. The bruising running back is just one year removed from being a first-round pick in fantasy. The Jacksonville Jaguars star rusher was limited to just eight games in 2018. This came after playing in just 13 games in his rookie season of 2017. While Fournette has struggled to stay on the field during his short time in the league, the former LSU Tiger has been a valuable fantasy asset when healthy. This article will make a case for drafting Fournette ahead of his current RB15 ADP and show why there is potential for a top-10 finish in 2019.
Fournette has finished as an RB1 in nearly half of his games played, with nine top-12 finishes in 23 games. In six of the 14 games, he did not reach RB1 status, he had less than 14 carries to explain why he was unable to reach RB1 status. In fact, the consistency is better than that of some running backs being drafted ahead of him such as Dalvin Cook and Aaron Jones.
Granted, Fournette has had some subpar performances over his career, but part of that can be attributed to being on an offense that struggled mightily under the likes of Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. A revamped offense with Nick Foles at the helm should be a recipe for success for the former first-round pick.
Former Top-1o RB
Similar to Marvin Jones being a year removed from being a WR1, Fournette was a top-10 running back for fantasy in 2017. That season he finished as the RB10 with 230.2 points. This despite playing in just 13 games. New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo does not have much experience at the position. Under him, running backs posted finishes of RB24, while in Cleveland in 2015, and RB3o last year with the Minnesota Vikings. This was with Isaiah Crowell and an injured Dalvin Cook in his backfield. Look for a better result in 2019.
Leonard Fournette has also hit the double-digit point mark in 15 of his 23 games, so even if he is not finishing as an RB1, he is not killing your lineup either. Actually, in 2017 he was extra impressive, going for 10 plus points in all but two of the 13 games he played.
While Fournette only played in eight games in 2018, he was still on pace to finish as an RB1. Looking at the numbers, they project out to a finish of 240.8 points. Good for RB11 last season. Fournette was more efficient on a per-snap basis than the aforementioned Cook and Jones. While Cook did project to finish better than Fournette last year, he did so playing many more snaps.
Cook averaged 10 more snaps per game in 2018. Look for similar usage for Fournette in 2019 if he stays fully healthy. A good reason for the limited snaps was the lingering hamstring issue he fought all season. He also battled an ankle injury while at LSU. The good news is that despite the fact that he is often injured, none of them have been major. Also, they have been to different areas of the lower body, not in the same area.
As we look at the current ADP via FFC, we see that Fournette can be had in the early third-round. He is going off the board as RB15 in redraft formats. That is a bargain for someone that was RB10 just over a season ago.
Damien Williams who does not have near the history of success as Fournette is even being drafted ahead of him. In dynasty, there is still value to be had. Fournette is also going in the same area at RB15 and even later in the third round.
The young running back is still just 24 years old and has only a season and a half of wear on him due to the number of games missed to injury.
Based on the fact that Fournette already has a top-1o finish under his belt and projected to be the RB11 in 2018 means he can confidently be drafted with top-10 upside. We have yet to see a full 16 game season from Fournette. If he can accomplish that feat in 2019, the odds are even greater that he cracks the top 10.