Tag Archive Rookies

Leonard Fournette: 2017 Rookie Draft 1.01

Leonard Fournette has been touted as the highest rated prospect at running back since Adrian Peterson, yet many dynasty mocks have him at 1.02 behind Dalvin Cook. Fournettes doubters point to a 2016 season slowed by an ankle injury along with a lack of receptions out of the backfield as the key separating factors in the Cook/Fournette 1.01 debate. Cook is something special, there is no doubt about that. But the choice for 1.01 is Leonard Fournette.

Let’s start with injury concerns. True, Fournette was slowed down by an ankle injury for most of the 2016 season; but he did play. It didn’t keep him off the field. Fact, Leonard Fournette lost the Heisman to Dalvin Cook; but he was still nominated for it. Just because he wasn’t as good as or better than his 2014 self and there’s an easy injury excuse to attach to it all of a sudden people want to go with the new guy. They say that the most important ability in the NFL is availability. Fournette has proven to maintain his availability through injury, Cook has not. Also, Fournette has a 6’1/230 frame that is going to be able to withstand more hits and punishment than Cooks 6’0″/203 frame, not to mention all but guarantee that Fournette won’t be taken out on the goal line. I question how many goal line carries Cook will see if a coordinator wants to protect his most valuable playmaker in favor of a bigger back. The bigger frame should also make Fournette more consistent for longer than Cook. While Cook may see good production for 9 years until he hits 30, I expect Fournette to be productive until 32 or 33 giving him a 10-11 year window.

Now if the extra goal line carries and the 1-2 year longer window isn’t enough to sway even the PPR guys into Fournettes corner because of the lack of receiving then this should. Fournette can actually catch the ball. Because Fournette is good in pass protection the LSU offense was allowed to be designed around him staying in as an extra blocker buying his QB more time to look downfield instead of being used as a checkdown option. Fournette showed he can catch the football and I can see him with 35-40 receptions a year in the right offense. Still, Cook should see 60-65 receptions. So 30 more points on receptions a year for Cook in PPR, which is about 2.5 points a game. I’m still going with the guy with the bigger frame, who is going to get more goal line carries and have a longer window of production.

There are going to be years that Dalvin Cook scores more fantasy points than Leonard Fournette. But there will be years that Fournette finishes above Cook as well. And I believe that Fournette will have more RB1 seasons in his career than Cook will. I think he is just far too consistent and talented to not be the 1.01 in 2017. I really don’t think it is even that much of a debate. The debate will really come when we see where he lands in the 2017 NFL Draft and then we can argue as to if he or Ezekiel Elliot will be the top RB in dynasty in 2018, 19, 20 and beyond.

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