Leonard Fournette is returning this week, but should he return to fantasy football lineups without question?
Leonard Fournette has played just two games this season, and he left early with a hamstring issue both times. His stats for the season (20 carries for 71 yards, four catches for 19 yards) look like what would have been a low-end projection for one game based on his average draft position in fantasy football drafts.
About a month ago a report surfaced suggesting the Jaguars would hold Fournette out through their Week 9 bye, and that came to fruition. After practicing in full all week coming out of the bye, Fournette was taken off Jacksonville’s injury report on Friday. So he’s ready to go, without apparent limitation, for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.
But the big question now comes for Fournette’s fantasy owners — should he be put back into lineups this week?
Indianapolis is 19th in the league against the run (109.9 yards per game), while allowing 4.1 yards per carry (12th in the league). They enter Week 10 allowing the 13th-most fantasy points to running backs (ESPN PPR scoring), with only three rushing scores and four total touchdowns allowed to the position. But the Colts have allowed 5.9 yards per carry to running backs over their last two games, and more than 25 fantasy points to the position (ESPN PPR scoring) in three of their last four games.
Game situation seems sure to dictate Fournette’s workload on Sunday. If the Jaguars are nursing a lead, he could get near 20 carries and threaten 20-25 touches. If they’re trailing, T.J. Yeldon is likely to take a lot of snaps as the passing down back as Blake Bortles piles up fantasy-relevant stats in a way only he can.
As with most fantasy lineup decisions, starting Fournette this week depends on your other options. If you’ve been holding him through his injury absence, as you should have been unless you traded him for something useful, you may not have a better option for a RB2 or flex spot.
Fournette is worth a long look as a RB2 this week in 12-team leagues, and if your opponent had Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday night the upside probably outweighs the risk. But unless it’s a tough bye week, matchups are otherwise stifling or injuries are a factor, waiting a week before fully relying on Fournette in a fantasy lineup feels like the best course.