Leonard Fournette Fantasy Outlook & Injury Update 2022 (Clear RB1 Upside With Little Competition)
Fantasy managers that selected Leonard Fournette late in 2021 drafts or picked him up off the waiver wire found one heck of a diamond in the rough. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' ball-carrier finished as the No. 6 RB in PPR scoring leagues despite missing the final three games of the regular season.
With that being the case, it's no surprise to see Fournette dangling right around the RB1 mark in fantasy football rankings. His average draft position (ADP) has him going as the 14th running back off of the board and as a late second or early third round selection.
Leonard Fournette Fantasy Football Outlook
The biggest thing Fournette has going for him entering the 2022 season is a lack of competition. Rookie Rachaad White, veteran Giovani Bernard and third-year pro Ke'Shawn Vaughn are the only other running backs on the roster. Quarterback Tom Brady has proven time and time again that he trusts Fournette in pass protection, in rushing up the middle and as a receiver in the passing attack.
It's important to note that Fournette finished as a clear-cut RB1 while only appearing in 63% of Tampa Bay's offensive snaps. That pails in comparison to players like Najee Harris (84%) and Dalvin Cook (71%).
He also led all RBs with 62 receptions before going down in Week 15. The fact that he has an opportunity to increase both of those marks in 2022 is substantial from a fantasy football perspective, especially because he already averaged 90.4 yards from scrimmage per game in 2021.
What may stand out most about Fournette as a Buccaneer is his consistency. The 27-year-old finished as a top-24 RB in 78.6% of the games last year. He also ranked among the top-10 running backs in goal-line touches (9) and touchdown percentage (4%). Replicating numbers anywhere close to that kind of success this fall would catapult him well past his ADP.
Leonard Fournette Injury Update
It's important to mention that Fournette has yet to play an entire regular season in his five-year NFL career. Various knee, quad, ankle and foot issues plagued him throughout the first few years. It was a hamstring injury that caught up to him in 2021, but he did return a few weeks later in the playoffs.
Fournette was also part of a major storyline during Buccaneers' minicamp when reports claimed he had weighed nearly 260 pounds. He has since worked hard to shed the extra weight, most recently checking in at 244 pounds on the first day of training camp. Head coach Todd Bowles has been adamant that Fournette is close to being in the best shape that he can be.
Leonard Fournette Projections
Projections from the NFL odds on FanDuel Sportsbook expect Fournette to finish in the middle of the pack. He's 15th to lead the NFL in rushing yards (+3000), which is just a bit better than where he finished the 2021 season at with 812 yards on the ground. He is also sixth to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns (+1600). That is obviously a much more attainable option. When taking Fournette's averages with Tampa Bay into consideration (14.1 touches per game, 4.9-yard average), it's a safe bet to say Fournette will reach 1,200 yards from scrimmage for the second straight year.
Is Leonard Fournette a Good Fantasy Football Pick?
When it comes down to it, is Fournette someone to target in the early rounds? Definitely. He's the No. 18 running back in The Duel's PPR fantasy football rankings, and is worthy of consideration as an elite RB2 with a RB1 ceiling.
Managers looking for him to skyrocket past his totals from last year have to be careful not to reach for Fournette, though. It's very possible that he has already shown what his best season looks like. A season in which he averages around 12-14 PPR points per game as a versatile offensive weapon.
If you've drafted Fournette this year, or you're a Tampa Bay fan, make sure to check out the best Buccaneers fantasy football team names for your squad.
Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.