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Rapid Reaction: Leonard Fournette Lands With Buccaneers (2020 Fantasy Football)

by James Bisson
Sep 2, 2020
Leonard Fournette

It didn’t take long for Leonard Fournette to find a new NFL team – and for a fantasy football world still reeling from his release from Jacksonville to have to adjust to a whole new batch of news.

Fournette signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday night, joining a completely retooled Tampa Bay offense that has already added quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski. What does this mean for Fournette’s 2020 fantasy value? And how does it impact Ronald Jones and the rest of the Tampa Bay backfield? Dan Harris and Mike Tagliere are here to help.

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Q1. What is the fantasy football impact of Leonard Fournette signing in Tampa Bay?

This is happening so fast and it’s difficult to react with any certainty. But, we have to face the facts. Jones didn’t get the workhorse role vs. Peyton Barber in 2019. Then the Bucs drafted Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the 3rd round. That wasn’t panning out. They signed LeSean McCoy. That didn’t pan out. Now, they sign former No. 4 overall pick Leonard Fournette who’s been stuck in a bad offense. There’s upside here for top-12 production; if you land Fournette around the RB20 range, it’s worth the risk.
-Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

Tampa Bay isn’t the best landing spot for Fournette, but it’s not the worst either. He joins a crowded backfield with Ronald Jones, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, LeSean McCoy, and Dare Ogunbawale, and has limited time to get up to speed on the offense before the season starts. But his contract suggests that he’ll get playing time, and it’s likely to be significant given the incentives and the fact that Fournette reportedly had multiple other suitors. Fournette has not been a special runner in his career, and even a best-case scenario likely sees him short of bell-cow work. And again, he’s unlikely to be a heavy contributor right away. But he is likely to have the most value of any running back in Tampa, though that’s not worth all that much at the moment. Draft Fournette as a Flex play and before Jones, but don’t plan to rely on him heavily.
-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

Q2. Who else is impacted by Fournette’s signing from a fantasy perspective?

There’s still an outside chance this is somewhat of a timeshare with Fournette, Jones, and even Dare Ogunbowale. Jones becomes just a high-end RB4 whose best-case scenario is a 50/50 split. Vaughn is pretty much undraftable.
-Mike Tagliere (@MikeTagliereNFL)

To paraphrase the underrated “Can’t Buy Me Love,” Ronald Jones’s value in year has gone from geek status to king status to no status. He was quickly approaching borderline RB2 status in drafts, but now can be taken as a low-end Flex. He’ll likely see more work than Leonard Fournette at the outset given that Fournette has only a brief time to learn the playbook, but Fournette’s contract suggests he’ll be the back to own. Draft Jones as a Flex if you need someone you may be able to start in the first two weeks, but for the most part, you don’t want to be investing in him. As for the other backs in the Tampa offense, they should be avoided entirely.

-Dan Harris (@danharris80)

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