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Fantasy Football: 2019 outlook for Raiders running back Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs, Raiders

Oakland Raiders first-round draft pick Josh Jacobs out of the University of Alabama was not only the first running back off the board in the 2019 NFL Draft, but could be a big-time fantasy stud this season as well. A lot of fantasy experts are viewing Jacobs’ success in 2019 as a very high possibility considering Isaiah Crowell’s injury just opened up a lot of opportunities for Jacobs.

Last season the Raiders were horrific on offense in both the passing and rushing game, but Antonio Brown and Tyrell Williams could likely turn the misfortunes around. Jacobs was highly touted coming out of Alabama, and it looks like a draft pick the Raiders received in trading Khalil Mack away might prove to be quite valuable. If Jacobs can produce similar success to 2018 rookie running backs like Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, the Raiders struck gold with this pick.

While it may be a bit tough to imagine Jacobs reaching the ranks of a top tier running back like Todd Gurley, Alvin Kamara, or Saquon Barkley in his first season, it may not be entirely out of the realm of possibilities. During his three seasons with Alabama, Jacobs averaged 5.9 yards per carry and was effective in the passing game with 20 receptions for 247 yards. Jacobs had 14 total touchdowns in his junior season (11 rushing and three receiving), so more of the same with Oakland would make him a nice addition to any fantasy roster. While Oakland has had a tough time finding a workhorse back, Jacobs could join Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson amongst the great running backs to wear black and silver.

It’s likely Jacobs will be taken in the fourth or fifth round but possesses the potential to be well within the top-ten running back ranks. A running backs durability is always a concern considering the volume of touches they receive in a given game, but a young back like Jacobs will need to put on a show in Oakland if he wants to be their starter for years to come. Jacobs could be the first running back since Latavius Murray to break the 1,000-yard mark as long as he can run away with the starting job, leaving teammates Doug Martin and Jalen Richard beneath him on the depth chart.

Jacobs could be on his way to having a very bright career, joining Mark Ingram and Derrick Henry as great Alabama running backs to find success on a professional level. The Raiders revamped offensive line will look to get Jacobs’ career off on the right foot as newly acquired Trent Brown and sophomore standout Kolton Miller.

Not much has gone right with the Raiders since head coach Jon Gruden’s arrival, but general manager Mike Mayock’s eye for talent could prove to be spot on especially if their shiny new toy on offense works out. If Jacobs can help get the offense back on track for Oakland like it was just a handful of years ago, the winning culture may very well be reinstated in sooner than imagined.