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Fantasy Football: the Jaguars Backfield Minus Leonard Fournette

The Jaguars backfield has to replace an enormous chunk of production. Here's how they might accomplish this, and how you can adjust accordingly on the fantasy football gridiron.

After 3,640 all-purpose yards and 19 total touchdowns across three seasons and 36 games, the Jacksonville Jaguars have parted ways with running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette certainly produced out of the Jaguars backfield, though his numbers never seemed to truly reflect his talent level, and his issues in the locker room only amplified the issues surrounding the former #4 overall pick out of LSU.

Do not pity Leonard Fournette; he will certainly land on another team soon, as he is far too good to stay unemployed for long.

The Jacksonville Jaguars on the other hand, have to replace an enormous chunk of their offense. Here’s how they might accomplish this, and how you can adjust accordingly on the fantasy football gridiron.

Jay Gruden’s Offense

Leonard Fournette probably wasn’t a good fit for the Jags’ new system anyway. Jay Gruden is the new offensive coordinator on Duval Street, and he brings with him a plan to instill a West Coast scheme.

Fournette, a three-down back that wears defenses down with his power-running style, would have been a square peg in a round hole with Gruden calling plays, for his type of offense typically utilizes a committee of shifty speedsters.

The most important thing to consider in fantasy football is opportunity. You can bank on the fact that no Jaguars running back will get the amount of touches that Fournette got (341 in 2019). Nevertheless, here are a few names to consider.

Chris Thompson

Chris Thompson, one of Jay Gruden's trusted weapons
Dec 22, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Redskins running back Chris Thompson (25) rushes against Tennessee Titans inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (54) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Tennessee won 25-16. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Thompson followed Jay Gruden from Washington to Jacksonville this offseason. His issue has always been health; he’s missed 17 games over the past three years. When he does play, though, Thompson has been a serviceable flex play in PPR leagues.

Thompson has averaged just over 40 catches per season since 2017, all while averaging just 10.33 games. That amounts to over 60 catches in a 16-game schedule, on average, and while it is unlikely Thompson plays every game, he is reliable when he does suit up. Although he’s never been a big red-zone threat, his receiving ability gives him a high floor in PPR leagues.

Chris Thompson doesn’t usually have much impact as a rusher, but don’t be surprised if he gets a few more carries than usual due to the need to mix and match in the Jaguars backfield this season. With a coach that knows exactly what he can do, plus a wide-open competition for touches, Thompson might be worth a flier.

Ryquell Armstead

Ryquell Armstead, possibly the man to own in the Jaguars backfield
Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images. Pictured: Ryquell Armstead

Armstead seems to be the front-runner to lead this backfield in carries, at least in the early going. Devine Ozigbo also poses a threat, but Armstead showed nice flashes last season while serving as Fournette’s backup.

Again, no member of the Jaguars backfield is going to get the opportunity Leonard Fournette got, but Armstead, in the one game he started last season, put up 14.5 points in a standard PPR format. He is a big back that also has good speed (4.45 40), much like Fournette. It would behoove a savvy fantasy owner to take a chance on Armstead late in the draft. He could be in line for 15-20 touches per game.

The more you know

Is any member of the Jaguars backfield sexy? No. Hell no. But successful fantasy football players understand every team’s running back situation, and the Jacksonville Jaguars’ committee is one worth monitoring as the season commences.

Be prepared!