With the news that the Oakland Raiders would be releasing backup running back Doug Martin, fantasy value for the rookie Josh Jacobs began to rise. First-round running backs have had a lot of success during their rookie years recently, just take a look at Saquon Barkley last season. However, Jacobs is no Barkley, so how should we value him in drafts?
When to Draft Josh Jacobs in Fantasy Football
If tough to value Jacobs accurately, since we barely got to see him during the preseason. We haven't even seen him on "Hard Knocks." However, we saw his talent at Alabama, despite splitting time with Patriots' rookie running back Damien Harris. Jacobs was able to average 5.9 yards per carry over his three seasons running in the SEC. He also added 247 yards and three touchdowns receiving, which is an area of his game that has been stressed early this offseason. The Raiders view Jacobs as a true workhorse and can be a three down back, despite having Jalen Richard to relieve Jacobs on third downs.
With this in mind, there is plenty of fantasy value to be had as a workhorse in an improved offense. According to the FantasyPros' ADP Rankings, Jacobs is currently going as RB18 (34th overall). This puts him just behind running backs Chris Carson, Devonta Freeman and Aaron Jones, three players that you could argue should be taken after Jacobs due to their snap share on their respective offenses.
Fantasy football is all about volume and opportunity and with the situation Jacobs finds himself in, he should have just as much as some of the league's top running backs. How he is able to utilize that opportunity will determine his true fantasy value, but early signs are encouraging for the highly-touted rookie.
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