Josh Jacobs Fantasy Football Analysis with Raiders

Josh Jacobs Fantasy Football Analysis with Raiders article feature image
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Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Jacobs

  • See Matthew Freedman's fantasy football analysis for running back Josh Jacobs, who was drafted No. 24 overall by the Oakland Raiders.

Josh Jacobs Fantasy Football Analysis

  • Height: 5’10” | Weight: 220 pounds
  • 40-yard dash: 4.60 seconds
  • School: Alabama | Class: Junior
  • 2019 age: 21 | Draft position: No. 24 overall

What Kenyon Drake was to Alabama for 2012-15, Jacobs was for 2016-18: An explosive runner and competent receiver with game-breaking ability as a return man (30.6 yards per kick return, one return touchdown).

Jacobs has never been a collegiate lead back — last year he had just 887 scrimmage yards on 140 touches — but in a weak running back class, he has emerged as the clear-cut No. 1 prospect at the position.

And I guess it’s not all that hard to see why: Of all the backs likely to be drafted, Jacobs is first with a 59.2% positive play rate and second with 38 broken tackles per 100 touches, 2.4 yards per route and 41.9 expected points added. But he has below-average athleticism and not one 1,000-yard season to his name.

This is a poor class for running backs, but in a normal year, Jacobs would have probably been talked about as a likely third-rounder with upside.

But Jacobs has three — maybe four — significant factors in his favor. Because he saw just limited action at Alabama as a committee back, he should enter the NFL relatively fresh.

And he’s young. The backs who play as 21-year-old rookies have historically been significantly more impressive than backs who enter the league at an older age.

And, of course, there’s Jacobs’ draft position. As a first-rounder, he’s likely to see a significant workload because so much was invested into him: In a self-fulfilling mechanism, the Raiders will give him every opportunity to prove himself so that they might be proven correct in drafting him with a premium pick.

And there’s his size. At 220 pounds, Jacobs is built like a lead back. He should be able to withstand the grind of getting 20 touches every week.

Over the past two decades, 11 guys have entered the league as big-bodied first-round 21-year-old backs:

  • Saquon Barkley
  • Ezekiel Elliott
  • Todd Gurley
  • Beanie Wells
  • Jonathan Stewart
  • Marshawn Lynch
  • Laurence Maroney
  • Steven Jackson
  • T.J. Duckett
  • Jamal Lewis
  • Edgerrin James

Literally every guy in this cohort has had multiple seasons of fantasy utility.

Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Josh Jacobs

Given how important age, draft position and size are to the running back position, it’s not unreasonable for fantasy players to expect a lot out of Jacobs as early as this year.

Could Jacobs finish his rookie season as a top-10 back? I honestly don’t see why he couldn’t.

Is Jacobs the 1.01 in 2019 dynasty rookie drafts? You bet he is.

NFL Comp: Kareem Hunt with less production but more youth

Matthew Freedman is the Editor-in-Chief of FantasyLabs. He has a dog and sometimes a British accent. In Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he’s known only as The Labyrinthian.

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