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    Josh Jacobs’ Best Ball Fantasy Outlook: Could He Be a 3-Down Back on the Packers?

    Potentially a three-down back with the Green Bay Packers, is Josh Jacobs being properly valued in Best Ball drafts? How should fantasy managers proceed?

    Josh Jacobs‘ new team was always going to have a significant impact on his value in fantasy football. After spending the first part of his career with the Oakland and Las Vegas Raiders, Jacobs will now continue his career with the Green Bay Packers. Should Best Ball drafters be excited about Jacobs’ fantasy prospects on the Packers and target him in Best Ball drafts?

    Josh Jacobs’ 2024 Fantasy Outlook

    Situations are so incredibly important when evaluating running backs. Imagine if Tony Pollard had signed with the Packers and Jacobs had signed with the Tennessee Titans. Which back would be going earlier in fantasy drafts?

    Jacobs landing in Green Bay is a massive win for his fantasy value. With Aaron Jones gone, Jacobs steps into a potential three-down role, which we can say about very few running backs these days.

    Sure, AJ Dillon may be annoying at the goal line, but Dillon was actually one of the worst goal-line backs in the league last season. He had seven goal-line carries and 37 total red-zone touches yet scored just two touchdowns. I am cautiously optimistic Jacobs will maintain a decent portion of the goal-line work.

    The Packers are an ascending offense with an improving Jordan Love. It’s a great environment for a running back.

    Now that landing spot is out of the way, we turn to the all-important question: Jacobs’ talent.

    For the first three years of his career, it was tough to get a read on how good Jacobs actually was. He averaged between 14.7 and 15.4 fantasy points per game in all three seasons. Overall, he was consistent and reliable. But on a week-to-week basis, he had a season where he was immensely volatile and a season where he was just a weekly floor play with no upside.

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    Early in his career, a problem with Jacobs’ fantasy value was his lack of receiving work. In 2021, that changed, as Jacobs was finally utilized as a receiver. That’s since continued for three straight seasons. We’ve reached the point where we can reasonably project Jacobs for at least an 11% target share. His lowest of the past three seasons is 11.8%.

    That’s good news for the Packers, as Jacobs should have the edge over Dillon for the third-down role. I say “should,” because while Jones was still working through his hamstring strain, we did see a bit of a role reversal with Jones playing on early downs and Dillon on passing downs.

    There are coaches in the NFL who simply want their passing-down back to be someone other than their early-down back. Andy Reid is famous for this. It’s possible Matt LaFleur feels the same way. Even so, it’s not a huge concern, as Jacobs should still enough receiving work on early downs to sustain his fantasy value.

    In 2022, Jacobs averaged an impressive 4.9 yards per carry. Along with 53 receptions, 2,053 total yards, and 12 touchdowns, Jacobs averaged 19.3 points per game, finishing as the overall RB3. This had fantasy managers drafting him quite highly in 2023. Sadly, Jacobs was disappointed.

    Fresh off a career-high 393 touches, Jacobs’ efficiency cratered. He averaged 3.5 yards per carry and just 4.1 yards per touch. A mere 2.1% of his rushes went for 15+ yards. His 2.89 yards created per touch were barely inside the top 50. Jacobs did face loaded boxes at a very high rate, but his 3.7 yards per carry when he saw light boxes didn’t exactly set the world on fire.

    Overall, the Raiders’ offense took a significant step backward last season. It isn’t much of a shock that Jacobs did as well. We very frequently see running back efficiency ebb and flow with team offensive efficiency. On a better offense, Jacobs can be expected to produce better.

    Should You Draft Jacobs in 2024 Best Ball Leagues?

    It was always hard to imagine Jacobs landing on an offense worse than the 2023 Raiders. Therefore, we already know what his worst-case scenario looks like. Jacobs still managed to volume his way to 13.9 fantasy points per game last season. I would consider that his floor.

    It’s still very early in the process of preparing for the 2024 fantasy season. The NFL Draft and training camp reports can — and will — impact player values and ADP. But right now, I’m pretty bullish on Jacobs.

    KEEP READING: Fantasy Football Best Ball Strategy

    Jacobs did see a significant ADP spike following joining the Packers. He’s now priced appropriately at the running back position. However, there is still a sizable gap between him and the eight running backs going above him. Are we that sure Jacobs is a worse fantasy option than Saquon Barkley?

    Given how many wide receivers are propped up in Best Ball drafts, Jacobs finds himself firmly in the running back dead zone. While that may scare some fantasy managers, he looks like a fantastic target for teams that start WR-WR.

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