Josh Jacobs' Fantasy Football Outlook For The 2020 NFL Season
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Josh Jacobs’ Fantasy Football Outlook For The 2020 NFL Season

The Las Vegas Raiders (at the time the Oakland Raiders) selected running back Josh Jacobs with the 24th pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Many expected him to make an immediate impact, but most probably did not think he would become a superstar right away. That’s exactly what happened though.

Despite appearing in just 13 games, Jacobs ran for over 1,000 yards in his rookie season. And he did so with efficiency, managing 4.8 yards per carry. He quickly became the star of the Raiders’ offense.

Even when teams began to focus more energy and effort into stopping him over anything else on the Las Vegas offense, Jacobs seemed to run through his opposition.

A few questions come to mind though. What did that mean for Jacobs’ fantasy production in 2019? And perhaps more importantly (at least for the sake of this article), what does that mean for his fantasy production in 2020?

Let’s take a look at the past, present, and future of the running back and try to determine just that. What is the 2020 fantasy football outlook for Jacobs?

2019 Fantasy Stats

As I’ve already mentioned, Jacobs was fantastic in his rookie season of 2019. What did he do, you ask?

Oh, just rush for 1,150 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games. He also only ran the ball 242 times, meaning he averaged 4.8 yards per carry.

That 1,150 yards was eighth in the NFL. His seven rushing touchdowns were tied for 14th in the league, and the 4.8 yards per carry was tied for 11th in the entire NFL.

And remember, he did that in just 13 games. That’s absolutely incredible.

The receiving numbers leave a lot to be desired though. Which hurt his draft stock a little as he’s not much help in PPR leagues.

Jacobs reeled in just 20 receptions for 166 yards and zero touchdowns last season. The bigger issue here? It’s hard to imagine he ever becomes much of a threat in this area. That’s definitely going to hurt his fantasy value a little bit.

Jacobs was great in 2019 overall though. The consistency was there for the most part, and that gives him good value in fantasy. He’s going to help you win a lot of games, while not really losing you any.

Jacobs have five games with over 100 rushing yards. More importantly though, he only had two with under 50. Both of those games only saw him carry the ball 10 times too. So that’s not much to worry about.

As long as he is healthy, it’s hard to imagine Jacobs is not going to get about 20 carries every game in 2020 and beyond.

The one consistency issue might be his touchdowns. All seven touchdowns came in just four games. Jacobs had three separate two-touchdown games, and had one game with one touchdown.

That means there were nine games in the 13 that he played that did not see the running back cross the line for a touchdown.

The good news is, three of those games saw Jacobs run for over 100 yards. Meanwhile, a fourth had him rack up 99. He even tied a career-high with three receptions in two of those four games.

So even when Jacobs was not scoring touchdowns, he did tend to put up pretty decent numbers fantasy wise.

Las Vegas relied on him pretty heavily in 2019. Could the same happen in 2020? Or could it be even better?

2020 Fantasy Projections

No surprise here based on that last line, but 2020 should be even better for Jacobs.

What exactly could he do in 2020? Well the sky really is the limit for the running back. And I mean that literally.

Jacobs still isn’t going to produce much in the air game. Expecting much more than 30 receptions for 300 yards and a touchdown is aggressive. Still though, they would not be dreadful numbers at all.

If he could do that, it would be a major bonus, and that type of production is possible from Jacobs. It certainly is not great compared to a lot of running backs today, but it’s solid. And that’s especially true considering what else Josh Jacobs will bring to the table.

Las Vegas has a pretty exciting offense all together. The Raiders should have a somewhat balanced attack. Especially if quarterback Derek Carr is truly returning to form.

So defenses will not be able to just focus in on Josh Jacobs and make stopping him their only priority. That should open things up a little bit for the running back.

What will that mean? How does 1,400 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns sound? Pretty awesome, right? It is definitely possible for Josh Jacobs. Those could very easily be his numbers.

He has shown to be a bruising back. Josh Jacobs will run through his defenders with reckless abandon. That means no one will vulture his touchdowns on the goal line. So there are all the touchdowns.

As for the yards. It’s incredibly hard to bring Jacobs to the ground. And his speed is more than satisfactory when it comes to getting away from the defense. That deadly combination will allow for some big runs, and very few for no gain or negative yards.

Those equal out to plenty of big games with massive yard totals.

As for the consistency, in year one Jacobs proved it was there. He will develop slightly in the passing game and will be an absolute monster in the run game. This leads to very few (if any) terrible fantasy weeks for the running back.

That’s important because running backs are always so spotty. Without a touchdown, sometimes their weeks can be bad. 98 rushing yards looks great, but that’s under 10 fantasy points in most leagues. So unless they threw in good receiving numbers or a touchdown, that’s a disappointing week.

Jacobs should score in most weeks, and will throw in a reception or two every time. So 10-plus points should be a boring week for the running back. That’s the type of consistency any fantasy owner loves from that position.

Rank At Position

Speaking of the position – where exactly does Jacobs rank compared to other running backs? He has to be up there, right?

The answer is a simple, yes. But also, kind of no. Jacobs is definitely one of the best running backs in football already.

However, his low receiving numbers hurt his fantasy game.

He’s not going to put up big numbers in the passing game. And that immediately throws him behind Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara and Ezekiel Elliott (the big four in fantasy).

Leonard Fournette showed major receiving chops in 2019 as well though. Dalvin Cook is a problem, but so is his health. Todd Gurley could be in line for a bounce back year, or 2019 could have been the start of a sharp decline for him.

Could Miles Sanders blossom into a star in year two? If so his receiving skills could catapult him ahead of Jacobs. And what about the 2019 rushing leader in Derrick Henry?

Joe Mixon’s great, but like Jacobs does not do much in the passing game. Nick Chubb is a workhorse but has Kareem Hunt with him on the Cleveland Browns to take some thunder away. And Chris Carson’s always interesting if he can figure out the fumbles.

There are plenty more to highlight as well. But those are the ones that might be fighting with Jacobs in the rankings.

Obviously, he’s behind the big four. Fournette and Henry have to go ahead of him as well. After that, it’s free game though. Mixon might be in for a monster season if Cincinnati shows life in the air with Joe Burrow. But will it be enough to get past Jacobs?

No. Almost, but no. Jacobs is going to do too much in 2020 to fall down the rankings that much. He will come in as the seventh best fantasy football running back in 2020. And owners should be absolutely excited about taking him.

It’s hard to see Jacobs falling any further than the second round.