Just for a moment think of Elton John when reading that title. Before we dive into this article I should let it by known I am a Fournette truther and I had every intention of drafting him and Jalen Hurd for my team name to be Lenny & The Bets: The Hurd Act. When you actually look at his numbers, the defenses he’s faced, and the coaches he has had, things start to make a little more sense. I will paint the picture for Fournette, and you can make your own decision!
Coming out of College Football, Fournette was one of the most highly touted prospects. His draft stock was probably inflated by the success of Ezekiel Elliot the previous season, but hindsight is definitely doing him no favours. When you consider some of the names that were available at that draft position like Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, this pick was a mistake. However, I don’t understand how it took until now for most NFL experts to finally admit that Coughlin and Marrone are the real problems.
We won’t get into Coughlin and Marrone too much but all I will say is this team was Blake Bortles away from going to the Super Bowl. Instead of trying to fix that problem they decided to trade away all of their best pieces on defense and then Fournette. If we ignore Lenny’s rookie season which was monstrous, his Offensive Coordinators were Scott Milanovich and John DeFilippo. One is a CFL coach and the other doesn’t believe in running the ball. Just look at Dalvin Cook’s numbers with and without DeFilippo.
Now for the next big stat that I think is being over looked; Fournette has faced 8+ man boxes on almost half of his runs in his career. I mean this literally, and no other NFL running even came close during that span until Derrick Henry was unleashed because LaFleur was fired. Some analytical experts will argue this fact in terms of the offensive personnel on the field, but this still carries weight. The Jaguars were a one dimensional offense for the entirety of Fournette’s career. This is night and day compared to what the Buccaneers have on offense this year.
A second stat that is bound for some positive regression, he only had 3 Touchdowns on the season last year. This is absurd for a guy that had close to 1700 yards from scrimmage and finished as a top 10 Running Back (RB) in Point per Reception (PPR) leagues. Not to mention if you were like me, in a league with 40+ and 50+ yard TD bonuses, Lenny just missed out on 3 or 4 bonuses which would sky rocket him up in the RB standings.
Part of the allure of Lenny as a fantasy RB was that he was without question the feature back in Jacksonville. Not only that but he was the focal point of the offense, which was abundantly clear last season as he had 100 targets, double what he has averaged over his first two seasons. The same cannot be said in Tampa Bay. This offense will run through Brady and Fournette will most likely split time with Ronald Jones who is a capable back but has yet to cement himself as a every down guy. Not to mention that he got a vote of confidence from Bruce Arians today.
Those who have already drafted have lost on Lenny’s value this season, but if you have yet to draft, don’t sleep on Lenny too much. Coach speak is a hell of a smoke screen.