As the Jacksonville Jaguars try to improve their place in the playoff race on Sunday, they’ll have to do without Leonard Fournette.
Outside of a couple missed games, and seemingly being on the injury report with something every week, Leonard Fournette has been pretty much everything the Jacksonville Jaguars hoped he’d be when they drafted him fourth overall last April. He’s seventh in the league in rushing entering Week 15 (923 yards), and fifth in carries (231), with five 100-yard games to go with solid production as a pass catcher (29 receptions).
Coming off a 24-carry, 101-yard effort against the Seattle Seahawks last week, Fournette missed practice all week with a quad issue. He was officially designated as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Houston Texans on Friday’s injury report, but he seemed to be on the wrong side of that coin flip’s chance to play.
Now, Fournette has been declared out.
According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, Chris Ivory will start against the Texans in Fournette’s place. Over the two previous games Fournette missed, Ivory had a total of 37 carries for 117 yards with highs of 20 carries and 70 yards (104 total yards) against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 9. T.J. Yeldon should also have a prominent role on Sunday, as he put up 163 rushing yards on 20 carries over the two prior games Fournette missed.
So Fournette’s fantasy football owners that are preparing a playoff lineup for Week 15 will have to make another plan. There’s no way to easily replace a top-10 fantasy running back, but Ivory (33 percent owned in ESPN leagues) and Yeldon (7.2 percent owned in ESPN leagues) are now both on the RB2 or RB3/flex radar for this week. Outside of the Jaguars’ roster, Rod Smith (40.1 percent owned), Mike Davis (34 percent owned), Kerwynn Williams (34 percent owned) and Peyton Barber (16.2 percent owned) are all worth consideration as a plug-and-play to fill in for Fournette.
Fournette seems likely to return for Week 16, in a favorable-looking fantasy matchup against the San Francisco 49ers. But the Jaguars are right to sit him this week, with an eye on having their most important offensive player at full strength for a prospective real-life playoff run.