Leonard Fournette Signing With Buccaneers Creates Ugly Fantasy Running Back Committee
GREEN BAY, WISCONSIN – JANUARY 24: Leonard Fournette #28 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers during the NFC Championship game at Lambeau Field on January 24, 2021 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
It won’t be great for fantasy football teams, but running back Leonard Fournette has agreed to a one-year, $3.25 million contract to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Athletic’s Greg Auman reported on Friday.
The 2017 first-round pick spent his first three NFL seasons as a member of the Jaguars. In spite of posting two 1,000-yard seasons, early concerns mounted regarding Fournette’s work ethic and maturity. Jacksonville declined his fifth-year option and he was waived ahead of the 2020 season after unsuccessful trade attempts.
Fournette signed with the Buccaneers on September 6 and appeared in 13 regular-season games and four playoff games for Tampa Bay, including Super Bowl 55. The LSU product split carries with lead RB Ronald Jones and occasionally rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn, tallying 600 total scrimmage yards and six touchdowns during the regular season. He finished the postseason with 448 scrimmage yards and four touchdowns, earning him the nickname, “Playoff Lenny,” and later, “Lombardi Lenny.”
On the heels of Fournette’s electric playoff performance, it remains unclear what the division of labor will be heading into the 2021 NFL season. The 23-year-old Jones — who led the Buccaneers’ backfield with 192 rushes, 978 yards, and seven touchdowns — finished as RB17 in half PPR through 16 weeks while Fournette finished as RB37. Jones is under contract until 2022 and Vaughn, also 23, will be under contract until 2024.
It will likely be some kind of ugly running back committee for fantasy purposes with Fournette’s ceiling as a low-end RB2 with downside.