Leonard Fournette Fantasy Profile
If you believe you can accomplish everything by ‘cramming’ at the eleventh hour, by all means, don’t lift a finger now. But you may think twice about beginning to building your ark once it has already started raining.
While the opening quote comes from the Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From The Living Dead you’d be wise to adopt this mindset when it comes to your fantasy football philosophy. A week or so removed from the free agency frenzy, it’s time to turn our attention to the 2017 draft class. In particular the running backs and the likely impact they’ll have on your 2017 fantasy team.
Leonard Fournette 6ft 1″ 235lbs
Born in Louisiana, New Orleans (7th ward) Leonard Fournette went on to attend St Augustine High School. During his time at St, Augustine Fournette showcased his talent in both track (100 & 200 meters) and football. Fournette’s talent was so obvious that his freshman year’s body of work (a little over 2500 yards rushing and 30 touchdowns) was enough for Louisiana State University to offer him a scholarship. The offer, was historic as Fournette became the first-ever freshman to be offered a scholarship by LSU.
Fournette compiled 7619 yards rushing along with 88 touchdowns during his time at St Augustine. En route to his college career Fournette earned a whole host of accolades (Louisiana’s Mr. Football, All-American selection via USA Today and Parade, USA Today offensive player of the year). All of which led to the overall consensus, that Fournette was the number one recruit in the 2014 class.
TIME AT LSU
During his freshman year, Fournette featured in 13 games (6 as a starter). He rushed for 1034 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. Unlike the slow start to his LSU career (8 carries for 18 yards against the Wisconsin Badgers). Fournette went out in style, rushing for 143 yards and 2 touchdowns off 11 carries. The icing on the cake came in the form of a 100-yard kick-off return for a touchdown. Despite the heroics, LSU lost the Music City Bowl 31-28 to Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Fournette truly announced himself to the nation during his sophomore year. En route to a NCAA rushing title and the LSU school record of 1953 yards rushing, along with 22 rushing touchdowns. Fournette not only rushed for 100+ yards in 9 consecutive games. But also became the first player in SEC history to rush for 200+ yards in 3 consecutive games. Once again during the season’s climax, Fournette turned in another impressive performance. As his 5 touchdown performance in the Texas Bowl sealed a 56-27 victory over Texas Tech.
DERAILED BY INJURY
Hampered by injury Fournette’s Junior year was somewhat anticlimactic. Despite the high ankle sprain Fournette still managed to average 6.5 yards per carry. As he rushed for 843 yards and 8 touchdowns during the 7 games he started. During his 31 games at LSU, 24 of which were as a starter. Fournette rushed for 3830 yards and 40 touchdowns, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. He also reeled in 40 passes for 482 yards and a touchdown.
A tough, physical runner. The kind of player that appears to thrive off contact. Possess a devastating stiff arm, which he uses to toss defenders aside. One cut and hits the hole, with outstanding straight-line speed. Quick to the edge on toss plays and sweeps. Lacks elusiveness. Limited sample size as a pass catcher (40 receptions in 3 years). Good in pass protection.
View as an RB2 with RB1 potential. Expect teams to feature him in goal line packages due to his physical nature and sheer athleticism. Has the potential to frustrate fantasy owners with a feast or famine weekly points total (especially if drafted by a mediocre team, that’ll be playing from behind).
POTENTIAL LANDING SPOTS WITH FANTASY UPSIDE
Carolina Panthers (8th overall pick): During free agency, the Panthers have added depth to the wideout core with the additions of Russell Shepard and Charles Johnson. With running back Johnathan Stewart turning 30 later this month, and Mike Tolbert a free agency casualty (signed with the Bills). The edition of Fournette appears to be a no-brainer. Especially when you factor in, head coach Ron Rivera’s comments on Cam Newton’s need to evolve.
Indianapolis Colts (15th Overall pick): The Colts desire to keep Andrew Luck out of harm’s way is clearly evident with the free agent editions of Brian Schwenke and Fahn Cooper . Adding a back with Fournette’s pass blocking capabilities would ensure Luck stays upright. Robert Turbin resigned with the team on a 2-year $4.1m contract and will be looking to cut into Frank Gore’s (turns 34 in May) reps. That aside Turbin, notched doubled figures in fantasy points just once during the 2016 season.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19th Overall pick): With the curious case of Doug Martin, the Bucs find themselves at the crossroads in regards to the running game. Having run the ball 453 times during the 2016 season (10th highest or 43.9% of the time). Tampa has the potential to be a great landing spot for Fournette. The addition of DeSean Jackson gives the Bucs an explosive passing attack. Along with the possibility of running the ball late in games, to see out those final few minutes.
DRAFTER BEWARE LANDING SPOTS
New York Jets (6th Overall pick): It’s no secret that the Jets are in the midst of a rebuild. While the prospect of the adding a talented running back to the roster appears mouth-watering. It may well, however, frustrate both those fans in the stands and fantasy owners. Bilal Powell is coming off a career year (722 yards rushing along with 388 yards receiving). Let’s not forget Matt Forte remains an integral part of the offense, but in all seriousness. How often will the Jets spend running the ball if they’re always playing from behind.
Cincinnati Bengals (9th Overall Pick): The Bengals have a few issues Fantasy owners should consider should Fournette become part of their plans. Firstly the offensive line has been decimated. Right guard Kevin Zeitler (Browns) and left tackle Andrew Whitworth (Rams) left in free agency. Then there’s the remaining issue of the current running back duo of Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill. Bernard is more of a third-down back whilst question marks remain over Hill’s inability to stay healthy.
Featured image via C Royce via Flickr.com (Article was originally posted on fantrax.com)