The Jacksonville Jaguars signed the rookie running back out of Clemson to a four-year contract worth $6.0 million, which is a big deal for a running back, and the team’s first true “splash” signing since running back Leonard Fournette.
In the 2019 NFL season, the Jaguars made a trade that involved their wide receiver corps. They traded wide-out Keelan Cole and a draft pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for wide-out D.J. Moore and a fifth-round draft pick. The move left Jacksonville with a group of four players they used to call the “FitzMagic Four”. Since then, the team has drafted two more wide-outs. So, which one is the best?
In the Hall of Fame Class of 2015, running backs had to wait until the very last ballot to get their chance to be voted in. That year, four Hall of Fame running backs were enshrined. Three of them—Jim Brown, Walter Payton and Emmitt Smith—are still enshrined there. But the fourth, Curtis Martin—who retired in 2007—was not, although he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2019.
In fantasy football, rookies are frequently the most hit-or-miss players. It’s a perilous business to draft one.
Do you go for a specific NFL newbie early in the draft if you have great hopes for him? Do you want to wait for him to drop closer to his estimated value? With no proof that a rookie can produce at the professional level, or even if he’ll get the playing time and opportunity to do so, squandering an unknown player might have serious consequences for the rest of your roster.
However, finding the appropriate rookie and having him perform well might be the difference between a middle-of-the-league finish and a long playoff run. Travis Etienne of the Jacksonville Jaguars is one of those difference makers in 2021.
Travis Etienne has the college pedigree of a top-flight running back.
The Jacksonville Jaguars’ Travis Etienne catches a ball during training camp. | James Gilbert/Getty Images
Etienne was a standout running back for Clemson in college. During his four-year career, he rushed for nearly 5,000 yards and 78 touchdowns. He also has 102 receptions for 1,155 yards and eight touchdowns on the season. The former Tiger scored 49 touchdowns during his sophomore and junior seasons, including 26 as a sophomore, which led the NCAA.
He racked up over 6,000 total yards from scrimmage and averaged 7.8 yards per carry.
The Jaguars selected Etienne No. 25 overall because of his collegiate production as well as his speed, explosiveness, and flexibility. At Clemson, he averaged 7.2 yards per rush and 11.3 yards per reception.
With Jacksonville, Etienne finds himself in a perfect circumstance.
The Jaguars drafted Etienne right into the middle of a rebuild, but it’s one that fits him perfectly. He’ll be playing with Trevor Lawrence, his college quarterback and the No. 1 overall pick, so he’ll be comfortable with the franchise quarterback.
Etienne was also picked by Urban Meyer, who has always utilized his team’s finest athlete in a unique capacity throughout his coaching career. In college, Meyer’s “H-back” role was filled by Percy Harvin and Braxton Miller. The goal is to get the ball into the hands of the team’s most explosive playmaker, give him space, and let him go. In Jacksonville, Etienne should take over this job.
Harvin had his greatest season at Florida under Meyer when he was a junior. Harvin, who was listed as a wide receiver, caught 40 passes for 644 yards and seven touchdowns while averaging 16.1 yards per grab. He did, however, carry the ball 70 times for 660 yards and 10 more touchdowns on the ground. Etienne won’t produce at that level in his first season, but he’ll play a similar position in the former Florida coach’s offense.
In point per reception (PPR) leagues, his receiving ability and potential targets in the passing game should make him even more valuable.
Etienne is underrated and on the verge of a breakout season in fantasy football.
Etienne’s average draft position (ADP) in standard leagues is 25th among running backs and 62nd overall, according to FantasyPros. In the Jacksonville backfield, he’ll most likely split runs with James Robinson and Carlos Hyde, limiting his value in non-PPR setups. However, his explosiveness and speed allow him to make big plays whenever he touches the ball, whether it’s from the backfield or as a receiver.
Workload, fitness, learning a new scheme, and the Jaguars’ overall makeover appear to be driving Etienne down the rankings. However, his physical attributes and role in Meyer’s scheme might propel him to the head of the line by the end of the season, putting him in RB1 zone in conventional leagues and even higher in PPR settings.
Sports-Reference provided all statistics.
Don’t Be Afraid to Draft Indianapolis Colts Running Back Jonathan Taylor in Fantasy Football
Travis Etienne’s 2018 season was one of those ones that didn’t quite live up to the preseason hype. He finished the season with just 873 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. The problem with a lot of the analysis of Etienne’s 2018 season is that it compares him to other running back prospects in his draft range. While Etienne is not as dynamic or explosive as guys like Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, or Christian McCaffrey, he’s a player that is still very much an ascending talent. At just 23 years old, he’s only continuing to grow and develop, and that will show on the field in 2019 and beyond.. Read more about travis etienne fantasy outlook and let us know what you think.
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