Not a lot of people realize it, but Travis Etienne was just the RB24 in PPR points per game last year – and that was with the lead role in the backfield locked down in Week 7.
Sure, Etienne was efficient on the ground – his 4.9 yards per carry from week 7 on was 5th among RBs that played 50% of snaps – but he finished as just the RB16 in fantasy points scored in that span, as well. That was behind James Conner, who played in just 8 games after Week 7 – Etienne played all 11 games, and James Conner is going in the 7th round of drafts this year! Travis Etienne is going in the fourth!
So yes, the yardage was there on the ground for Etienne, but his stats are inflated too by three games – Weeks 7, 8, and 9 – where he scored four of his five touchdowns on the year. He scored ONE touchdown in the last eight games of the year, and he saw just 26 targets in that span as well. That’s consistently mediocre production, and with reports that Tank Bigsby – the guy they brought in to be the early down bruiser – is suddenly wowing Jags coaches with his receiving ability, is Etienne really going to be in line 50 catches, or even 40?
Trevor Lawrence had the 7th-most regular season attempts last year and Etienne still earned just 43 targets on the year – just two and a half per game. How is Etienne supposed to get enough volume in the receiving game to buoy lackluster rushing production in this offense, when he couldn’t even do it with minimal competition last year?
The Jags went ahead and added Calvin Ridley, who could see 100 targets, too! I get that Etienne was a great talent coming out of the draft, but the Jags don’t seem to want to commit to giving him that workhorse volume – and that sentiment has been echoed not only in words but also by actions. They came out and said they don’t want Etienne getting 75% of snaps anymore, and they drafted a good running back early in Tank Bigsby.
It blows me away how Etienne is still the RB14 on Underdog – he could be an RB3.