Leonard Fournette hasn’t featured for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers since Week 15. He exited that game against the Saints with a hamstring injury and was placed on the injured reserve. Is Fournette playing against the Rams in the Divisional Round, and what can fantasy football managers expect?
Is Leonard Fournette playing today vs. the Rams?
Fournette was activated off of IR yesterday and will play today against the Rams. He missed four games, including last week’s Wild Card matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
His return from IR also meant that the Bucs waived veteran Le’Veon Bell. Tampa signed Bell to cover for Fournette. Bell carried the ball 8 times for 18 yards in a Buccaneers uniform.
Fournette’s 2021 season with the Buccaneers
It’s well documented that Tom Brady has a strong liking for Fournette. The former No. 4 overall pick arrived in Tampa Bay down on his luck, following his release from the Jaguars. Brady practically scouted him and brought him over to be a part of the new movement he was starting in Florida.
Now in his fifth NFL season, Fournette is managing his best yards-per-carry average since turning pro back in 2017. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry on the season. Of course, the Buccaneers’ offensive line plays a part in that success. However, in comparison to his rookie season, when he burst onto the scene with 13 touchdowns in Jacksonville, Fournette was averaging just 3.8 yards per carry.
Fournette didn’t earn his spot as the starter in Tampa Bay until the postseason last year. He became a crucial part of the offense, helping the Buccaneers to a Super Bowl victory. As a result, he came into 2021 as the undisputed starter.
This year, he’s had 812 yards on the ground and 8 rushing touchdowns. Yet, it’s his contribution in the passing game that has been impressive. Fournette is the team’s fourth-most targeted receiver and added another 454 yards and 2 touchdowns through the air in 2021.
Fournette’s fantasy season
Fournette managed his second finish as a top-10 RB in standard fantasy leagues this season. As a rookie, Fournette ranked eighth amongst all running backs with 230 fantasy points. Now a fifth-year vet, Fournette finished the regular season 10th amongst his position group, this time with 255.5 points.
That finishing spot bumps up to sixth in PPR leagues because of Fournette’s passing contribution. That’s definitely something worth thinking about depending on the type of league you’re playing in.
Ultimately, a healthy Fournette is good for your fantasy lineup and even better for the Buccaneers. The question remains about how healthy the offensive line will be on the night.
Both right tackle Tristan Wirfs and center Ryan Jensen left the game last weekend and are fighting to return.
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