By: Jack Brown (Twitter: @Jackbrown177
Player Analysis: Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette and RBs in Bad Offenses
On Fantasy Football Calculator, Fournette’s ADP us 2.12(RB12). You’re taking him as an RB1. Fournette has an uphill battle to becoming that.
Here’s a list of RB1s (on a PPG basis) and their corresponding PPG offense(PPR)
*8 Game Minimum
Bell, Charles, Lewis and Arian Foster finished as top 5 RB’s.
Bell- 6 games, #4 OFF
Charles- 5 games, #9 OFF
Lewis- 7 games, #3 OFF
Foster- 4 games, #22 OFF
Finishers Outside of Top 16
Here is how the table changes if we count the RB’s in 2015 that didn’t qualify.
It’s not a huge sample size, but it gives us a solid idea (I can’t put up 10 years of data tables, for the sake of being concise).
We can filter it further.
RBs Outside the top 16, under 2.5 receptions a game.
I’m not overly enthusiastic about this chart. Ostensibly, his last year was pretty good. It was a small sample size(7 games). If Yeldon wasn’t on the roster and Jacksonville didn’t the assertion they wanted to run the ball every play, there would be some reason for enthusiasm. Ostensibly, wanting to run the ball every play sounds good, but receptions are more efficient touches, especially in PPR. Yeldon is a former 36th overall pick and averaged 3.33 Rec/G. And from a subjective standpoint, Fournette hasn’t been a good receiver on film. Perhaps underrated, but I doubt you could find anyone who would say Fournette is an above replacement level receiver.
Jacksonville was ranked 22nd in yards before contact. The RBs that finished as an RB1(PPG) that had worse YBC were Riddick. Riddick averaged 5.3 receptions a game. The leading receiver on the team, Yeldon wasn’t even close to that.
I see a lot of parallels between Fournette and Gurley. Both coming off an injury, very talented, high draft picks. They play on bad offenses with bad lines. The only way I envision Fournette being an RB1 is by doing what Gurley did in his rookie year. Break off a lot of long touchdown runs. The one RB who played in a bottom 16 offense who averaged under 2.5 receptions a game who finished top 5? Todd Gurley. Todd Gurley only finished top 5 because of injuries. He was exactly 5, and if all those 4 Rbs played, I’m certain one would’ve surpassed him. With that in mind, Fournette doesn’t have a top 5 performance in his range of outcomes. That’s concerning considering how improbable Fournette finishing as an RB1 is.
Fournette has the unholy trio. Below average receiving skills, bad OL and a bad offense. Fournette could be a victim of bad game script, In addition to all his other issues. His ceiling is capped, and his floor is a bust. He was injured last year, inured now and a violent runner. Fournette is 22, RB’s peak at 24-26. Most rookies aren’t Ezekiel Elliott. You’re almost guaranteed to not see a return on investment taking him as an RB1.