Leonard Fournette Fantasy Outlook Suggests He's Overvalued in 2019

Dan Israeli
Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins
Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins / Michael Reaves/Getty Images
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Leonard Fournette was a late first-round pick in fantasy football last year, coming off an impressive rookie season in which he totaled 1,342 scrimmage yards and 10 touchdowns. However, much like we saw in that rookie season, Fournette was plagued by injuries 2018, and ended up finishing only 37th among running backs in fantasy scoring, missing eight games in the process.

Heading into 2019, Fournette has an average draft position (ADP) of RB12 (22nd overall) per FantasyPros.com, meaning he's going between the late second and early third round of most fantasy drafts.

Fully healthy heading into the season, Fournette may seem like a value pick in that range, but there are still some doubts regarding the former LSU Tiger entering his third NFL season.

For starters, Fournette still needs to be considered one of the bigger injury risks in the earlier rounds of fantasy drafts. He has already missed 10 games due to injury in his NFL career, and was also dinged up in college, missing six games in his final season at LSU. Injury concerns are always present with workhorse running backs, and Fournette has developed a very shaky track record on that front.

Another red flag for Fournette has been his efficiency. While his volume is easy to like, having averaged 19 rush attempts per game over two NFL seasons, Fournette owns an undesirable average of 3.7 yards per carry. He has been more efficient in the passing game, averaging 8.4 yards per reception, but an average of 3.3 targets per game in 2018 isn't enough to make up for the poor rushing numbers.

The volume should still be there for Fournette this season, with only Alfred Blue and rookie Ryquell Armstead behind him on the depth chart. However, with greater volume comes greater injury risk, so there is a chance Jacksonville tries to scale back Fournette's workload to preserve his body. Nick Foles could improve the offense this season, but if he does thrive in Jacksonville then we could also see the team take a more pass-heavy approach than we've seen in recent years.

His draft cost isn't totally unwarranted, as lead-back volume could certainly allow him to amass some solid numbers if he stays healthy for a full 16 games. His upside isn't unique in the second or third round though, with players like Mike Evans, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams being drafted around him. And without an edge in upside, Fournette's low floor and injury concerns make him a tough buy in 2019.


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