After his week two performance, a lot of people seem to think that Leonard Fournette is on the rise. While on the surface, it appears that Fournette established himself as the starter in Tampa Bay, a closer look at the numbers reveal that we still have a long way to go before we can actually determine Leonard Fournette’s long-term value for the rest of the fantasy football season. It’s time for an absurdity check on his current fantasy football value.
Nothing is Resolved in Tampa Bay
One game does not a job make. Especially in Tampa Bay, where shuffling running backs is a way of life. In week one, Ronald Jones took the lion’s share of the workload. While it is easy to say that the only reason Leonard Fournette wasn’t more in week one was that he had just joined the team, the Buccaneers 2019 season tells a different story. In 2019, if you found yourself trying to choose between Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones, you found yourself wanting to choose a noose. Bruce Arians has no rhyme or reason to which running back he is going to use as far as I can tell. In 2019, Jones took the majority of carries in six games, Peyton Barber took the majority of carries in three games. In the other nine games, there was an even usage split.
Is Leonard Fournette’s Production a Mirage?
Not only can you not be sure if Arians is going to use Leonard Fournette as a lead back, but you also can’t even be sure if Fournette will be able to maintain his week two production level. Last week, Fournette had 12 carries for 103 yards and 2 touchdowns. Those numbers are fantastic and if my running backs gave me that on a weekly basis, I would be a very happy man. However, a closer look at those numbers brings up some questions.
First off, Fournette got all of his yards on 12 carries, which means he averaged over 8 yards per carry. We all know that type of efficiency isn’t sustainable. He gained the majority of his production off of two big plays of 46 and 25 yards. The biggest issue of all with his numbers is that he “earned” them against a Carolina Panthers defense that gave up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs in 2019 and has been continuing that trend. According to my BFF Josh Jacobs after his week one game, “I wish I could start a running back against the Carolina Panthers every week.” I’m paraphrasing or making that last quote up, I can never remember.
What I’m basically saying here is that if you have Fournette and are excited because he has finally turned things around, I am here to steal all your joy. You should not be happy just because Fournette was able to torch a defense that I could run on. That isn’t to say that Fournette will be bad or will have no value. All this means is that we need to see Arians give Fournette more than 12 carries in a game before I am willing to feel comfortable starting him.