The Jaguars surprised a lot of fantasy football players Monday when they announced they were releasing RB Leonard Fournette. The 2017 first-round pick had been going in the third round in fantasy drafts, according to Fantasy Football Calculator.
Those of you who had invested a pick in Fournette are probably down a projected starter. But this could actually be good news for Fournette owners: He’s out of the black hole that was the Jaguars offense and could find himself in a better position to succeed … if he’s able to carve out a significant role with his new squad, that is.
So which landing spots would suit Fournette best and help his fantasy owners get the most out of what looks like a wasted pick? Let’s take a look at the five best options.
1. Baltimore Ravens
I mean, this is just a no-brainer. With Lamar Jackson and that scheme, you can plug any running back into the lineup system and expect results. With Mark Ingram getting up there in age and the backup (J.K. Dobbins) being a rookie who may need some time to pick up protections in a pro system, there could be an opportunity for Fournette to sneak into the lineup. Some of the criticisms we’ve heard about the LSU product early in his career also applied to Ingram after his first few years in the league and we’ve seen what playing in this system did for his production.
2. New England Patriots
The Patriots’ power run game offers a perfect fit for Fournette’s running style, and we know Bill Belichick isn’t going to commit to one running back so the 2017 first-round pick would have a chance to crack the starting lineup. With Cam Newton in the backfield, defenses won’t be able to focus on stopping Fournette like they were able to do when he was in Jacksonville. The Patriots, of course, love their receiving backs, but they’ll need someone to punch it in near the goal line. Belichick invested a first-round pick in Sony Michel, but he’s been inconsistent in that role and we know the head coach isn’t afraid to move on from a player quickly if he’s not doing his job at a high level.
3. Houston Texans
Carlos Hyde had a productive year in this system and his playing style is similar to Fournette’s. I know Bill O’Brien just traded for David Johnson — a year after trading for Duke Johnson — but Fournette would offer a different element to an offense that employs a lot of power run concepts. We saw how quickly O’Brien went away from Duke Johnson for the more powerful runner (Hyde) last year. And with a threat to pull the ball at quarterback, Fournette should enjoy more space to run between the tackles.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Look, this wouldn’t make a lot of sense from Kansas City’s perspective, but it’s a dream scenario for anyone who used a draft pick on Fournette. Andy Reid is going to find a way to make any running back productive. We’ve seen that throughout his head coaching career. And maybe the Chiefs could use a goal-line back with undersized rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire penciled in as the starter.
5. Arizona Cardinals
Kliff Kingsbury went through a lot of running backs during his first season in Arizona and pretty much all of them were productive. Fournette would give the Cardinals a more capable short-yardage back than they have on the roster, and finishing off drives in the red zone was a major issue for the offense. If Kingsbury’s offense is as good as we all expect it to be, there will be plenty of goal-line opportunities for Fournette if he lands in Arizona.