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Leonard Fournette Fantasy Outlook: Signing with Buccaneers leaves questions about Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy

Leonard Fournette has found a new home, according to Adam Schefter: the Buccaneers. Having been waived and released by the Jaguars, Fournette was never likely to find a situation so fantasy friendly for him as he had with the Jags. But this signing sets him up for some production in 2020, at least. Joining up with Tom Brady gives Fournette a chance to be effective, while severely hampering the potential fantasy value of Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, Ke’Shawn Vaughn, and Dare Ogunbowale.

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DOMINATE YOUR DRAFT: Ultimate 2020 cheat sheet

Leonard Fournette’s fantasy outlook with Buccaneers

Prior to Fournette’s release, he was our No. 11 running back in standard leagues. He was coming off a career year, at least in terms of yards and catches: 1,152 rushing yards to go with 76 catches for 522 yards. The only thing lacking a season ago were the touchdowns.

Fournette has always been regarded as a supreme talent dating back to his high school days and his time at LSU. But fantasy owners are just as concerned with opportunity as they are about talent.

Tampa Bay provides about as much potential opportunity as any landing spot. Initially, Fournette will likely have to compete with one of Jones or McCoy on early downs and with Ogunbowale in passing situations. But Fournette is easily the most talented back the Buccaneers have now, and Tampa Bay wouldn’t have taken this risk without liking the reward, too.

If you’ve already drafted Fournette, you can feel pretty good about this signing. If your draft is still upcoming, though, some owners might view Fournette with a question mark by his name still. If you can draft him as your third RB, he’s more than worth that price. Even as an RB2 in round four could end up returning good value. 

2020 STANDARD FANTASY RANKINGS:
Quarterback | Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | D/ST | Kicker | Superflex | Top 200

Ronald Jones, LeSean McCoy, Dare Ogunbowale fantasy outlook

It was never obvious whether McCoy could matter this season in Tampa Bay, and now it seems unlikely that he will. Instead, Shady becomes a good candidate for cut day. Jones is the more heavily impacted here.

A year ago, we kept hoping Bruce Arians would trust Jones more and Peyton Barber less, and now Barber is in Washington. Jones averaged a solid 4.2 yards per carry in 2019 and provides strong finishing ability in the red zone. That might all be a moot point, now.

At this point, McCoy shouldn’t be drafted in any fantasy leagues, while Jones’ current ADP of RB30 should probably decline about 10 or 15 spots. There’s always a chance Jones stays the first option here and not Fournette, but that seems unlikely.

Ogunbowale presented PPR sleeper value as Brady’s potential personal pass-catching back, a la Kevin Faulk and James White. After Fournette caught 76 passes a year ago, though, there’s always a chance he claims that role, too. For now, Ogunbowale is still worth a bench selection in PPR leagues, but watch his early targets relative to Fournette to decide if you should cut bait after a few weeks.

You can also disregard rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, who was already relegated to kickoff return duty and now falls further down the depth chart.

2020 PPR RANKINGS:
Running back | Wide receiver | Tight end | Superflex | Top 200

Tampa Bay Buccaneers fantasy outlook for Tom Brady, top WRs

This just provides Brady one more weapon on a team full of them. He’s already got Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Rob Gronkowski to throw the football to. Add in Fournette as a premier RB talent and this is a better personnel grouping than he’s had recently in New England.

The presence of a more stout RB could take away slight volume from the Tampa passing attack, but we all know how much Arians likes to throw. It shouldn’t matter too much.

The place Fournette’s presence could show up the most is in the red zone as a power runner. Potentially, the touchdowns fantasy players are hoping Rob Gronkowski catches to return value this season might shift partially in Fournette’s direction. 

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