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Two “Dead Zone” RB’s That Can Finish as RB1s


Travis Etienne - Jacksonville Jaguars

Essentially entering his rookie year due to injury, Etienne is a guy who is primed to explode onto the fantasy scene in 2022. The former 1st round draft pick is an absolutely dynamic athlete and was extremely productive in his time at Clemson. In his senior season, he averaged 5 targets per game and amassed almost 600 receiving yards in just 12 games. That bodes very well for Etienne’s fantasy stock. He proved efficient on the ground as well with a healthy 6.6 career yards per carry. He also has major home run-hitting ability, rushing for over 20 yards 40 times in the 2018-2019 season, which was the most of any back in the nation. Now he gets to play with his former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence at the pro level, a guy who he demonstrated a lot of chemistry with and is primed for a Year 2 breakout. The elusive back shouldn’t skip a beat in his first NFL action as he is said to already be 100% healthy, and even had the potential to come back late last season if the Jags were playing meaningful games. Factoring in James Robinson coming off an Achilles injury just 6 months ago, it is likely that Etienne sees the majority of touches in this backfield early on and maintains control throughout the season due to his talent and draft capital. Etienne is currently ranked as the RB23 and is being drafted in the 5th round, which will project him as a flex option in most leagues. He is an uber-talented RB that will command a ton of receiving work and at least 60% of the touches. I am jumping on that value every day of the week.

 

Josh Jacobs - Las Vegas Raiders:


Another guy who has some underrated RB1 potential. He is being drafted in the middle of the 4th round. Let me reiterate that word, underrated, which describes Jacobs across the board. Starting with his career fantasy finishes to date, he’s finished as the RB13, RB12, and RB15 in points per game. This year he is being ranked as the RB22 which I believe is his absolute floor, nodding to his previous finishes and that his fantasy situation has only gotten better. This is because he’s now the lead back in what is likely to be a very explosive offense which should lead to plenty of extra high value goal line opportunities. The very run-heavy Mcdaniel’s scheme along with Jacobs’ expiring contract is also the perfect recipe for Jacobs to see massive volume in year 4. Jacobs is also a very underrated receiving weapon, increasing his reception totals year over year since coming into the league. Last year he brought in a whopping 54 catches, which was 5th in the entire league amongst RB’s. Adams’ presence should reduce this figure a bit, but he will likely remain very involved in the receiving game. You should feel comfortable about the security of his role. He maintained a 68.5% opportunity share last year which was good for 9th in the league, proving the arrival of Kenyan Drake did not diminish his role much if it all. To round this all out, Jacobs is underrated as an overall talent as well. The 220 lb back has an impressive blend of size and explosiveness. He proved very efficient in 2021 too, finishing with 76 evaded tackles which was 7th in the league, and 760 yards created which was good for 9th. Overall, it’s tough to see how Jacobs doesn’t finish top 20 in fantasy points per game with a backdoor chance at RB1 status. His blend of the previously mentioned opportunity share and production in what should be a very upgraded offense gives him a golden opportunity to reach new highs in 2022.

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