Leonard Fournette: Dynasty And Redraft Value In 2022

The Goat retires, coach and teammate drama, and free agency kindly awaiting; what could 2022 look like for Leonard Fournette? We will break down his situation and analyze the possible outcomes.

Officially on the market for free agency, Leonard Fournette has a decision to make in regards to his future in the NFL. The former LSU running back is coming out of his fifth NFL season on a good note. With questions in the air over the Buccaneers in general, his contract couldn’t have expired at a better time.

Fournette’s Position In the NFL Going Into Next Season

As of mid-January, ESPN has Leonard Fournette ranked as the league’s RB16 and the 23rd player overall to have rostered. Placing him late in the second round of 12-team fantasy drafts. He accepted the receiving back role and let Ronald Jones take over the running work in 2020. Fournette then went on to take the reigns over the entire Tampa Bay backfield in 2021 (with respect to Tom Brady of course).

His performance this season drastically increased his fantasy value and should set him up for all the advantages as he enters into free agency. Some dynasty owners like fellow IDP Guys writer Justin Frye might note Fournette’s age (27) and consider this a good time to let him go to get the most bang for their buck; as he mentions in his article titled ‘Tom Brady, Retirement, and Dynasty Implications.’

While there are noteworthy points made in his article in regards to how Justin maintains his dynasty team, I happen to think a bit differently. Read on and we’ll dig into my point of view on Fournette’s overall fantasy value.

Free Agency Uncertainty

To stay or to go? This is the inevitable question. What kind of potential does the future hold in Tampa vs relocating? We don’t know exactly what he plans to do at this point in the offseason. But we can analyze what it could take for Fournette to re-sign and discuss his potential somewhere else.

No More Brady In Tampa

Without Tom Brady, it will be tough for the Buccaneers to maintain all of their star players that are due for free agency this offseason. The best play is for the Bucs to put a band-aid on this quarterback situation by signing a veteran this offseason that can step in and continue to play at a high level.

Russell Wilson is a notable candidate possibly on the trade market this season. I have also heard speculation that Kyler Murray may look for a change of scenery this offseason as well. Both would be prime candidates to keep this high-functioning Buccaneers team rolling. If a similar situation doesn’t play out, expect him to move on and look for a new home.

Fournette’s Value Elsewhere

There has been no definitive speculation as to where he would go if he were to leave Tampa. Though one would think he has his own checklist of requirements he will consider when weighing his options. So long as he has a decent run-blocking offensive line, he can go anywhere and make an immediate impact.

He has proven his capability of being a versatile back that can take a heavy running workload as well as be an effective pass-catcher. Whatever the game plan requires, Fournette thrives most when he can be an offense’s focal point.

That being said, he is also capable of splitting the workload. He proved in his first year with Tampa (2020) when he took on more of a receiving role out of the backfield and the Bucs made a Super Bowl run. Though if he lands somewhere with an established run game and ends up splitting the workload, don’t expect him to be the back he was in 2021.

Dynasty and Redraft Value

My recommendation for trading Fournette is to pair him up with a pick or another mid-tier player to get someone like Amon-Ra St. Brown or Rashod Bateman. Players like these have not broken out yet but are well on their way. Primarily because their trade value is lower than their potential. So you won’t have to give up an arm and a leg for them.

For dynasty purposes, I would recommend that the current owners of Fournette hold onto the veteran. Monitor his offseason before deciding to let him go. If he lands somewhere with a vacancy or a weak running backfield, feel confident in keeping him. He still has a few good years left to shine.

Redraft leagues have some time to keep an eye on the situation before deciding whether or not to draft him. If he lands in an ideal position, he would make for a good snag as an RB2 with potential for more.

Looking Ahead

I would personally rather hold a reliable player and reap all of the benefits myself versus trading in their prime to avoid their potential future decline. Even if they are a little older. An older and consistently reliable player is more of an asset than a younger player whose performances may be more unpredictable. Although it is desirable to have as many youngsters as you can, it isn’t always conducive to winning your league.

Anyone can take a look at Fournette’s stats throughout his career and see that his production is directly tied to his usage. There have been very few games where Fournette underperforms when he is regularly involved. This reliability is what stems my urge to hold onto him in dynasty leagues and wait to see what unfolds this offseason. It is what makes him more of a set-it-and-forget-it kind of player. Even though he is not a top-tier running back value.

Those worried if he can perform without Tom Brady can breathe out. We have to keep in mind that his most productive season was actually without The Goat. Specifically three years ago (2019) in Jacksonville with then-rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew at the helm. Ruling out any worry that his production is dependent on a veteran quarterback.

Keep tabs on Leonard Fournette’s offseason. If he lands somewhere that will get him heavily involved in the offense, he could be a valuable fantasy asset for another two or three seasons.

Thank you for reading! You can read all of my Recruiting Series articles on my IDP Guys author page. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Harding_3 and follow @IDPGuys to keep up to date.

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