The Oakland Raiders may have to add a running back now that Isaiah Crowell is out, but the fantasy football stock of rookie Josh Jacobs is naturally on the rise.
Isaiah Crowell signed a one-year deal with the Oakland Raiders during the offseason, with some idea he could push for a significant role and be a fantasy football factor. But that is not on the table anymore, as Crowell suffered a torn Achilles during a team workout on Monday and will miss the entire 2019 season.
With Marshawn Lynch reportedly in line to retire and Doug Martin still out there as a free agent, the Raiders could wind up bringing one of them back to help fortify their running back depth chart in Crowell’s absence. But the most likely scenario is rookie Josh Jacobs, one of Oakland’s three first-round picks this year, stepping into a workhorse role.
Jacobs was not used heavily at Alabama, with just 251 carries over three seasons (120 in 2018). But he averaged 5.9 yards per carry for his career, had 11 touchdowns on the ground last season and was a capable pass catcher as well (five receiving touchdowns over his last two seasons). In a running back class that had lacked a lot of top-end talent, the tape he put out boosted his draft stock and made him a first-round pick.
Jalen Richard tied for the Raiders’ team lead with 68 receptions last season, but he’s not built to be a workhorse back and is no threat to Jacobs in that respect. DeAndre Washington (30 carries in 2018) is not a threat to take many snaps from anyone, and preseason star Chris Warren may now simply have a clear path to a roster spot.
Via Fantasy Football Calculator’s early ADP data, Jacobs has risen from pick 7.10 to pick 7.05 (RB32) in standard 12-team mock drafts just since Monday. In full-point PPR Jacobs has risen even faster, to pick 5.05 and RB26. The early consensus rankings at Fantasy Pros, with no ADP data yet, has Jacobs as the 130th overall player and RB42 in standard scoring. All of those numbers will be rising.
Even with Richard likely to siphon a fair chunk of receptions, Jacobs is shaping up be a worthy high-end RB2 for fantasy owners as a rookie. Drafting him earlier than the third round in a 12-team league feels like a reach right now, and the buzz on Jacobs may eventually make him overvalued in drafts and auctions. But for now, the Jacobs bandwagon (in fantasy and otherwise) is growing and will continue to do so until further notice.