With the 2023 NFL Draft in the rearview mirror, fantasy football managers — particularly those in dynasty leagues — are trying to size up rookie values. The Jacksonville Jaguars made a fascinating third-round selection, opting for running back Tank Bigsby. What might dynasty managers expect from him?
Tank Bigsby Dynasty Outlook and Value
Last offseason, the Jaguars turned several heads — and not all were complimentary head turns. There were doubts about whether paying big money to Christian Kirk, as well as investing in the never-quite-put-it-all-together Zay Jones and Evan Engram, could dramatically improve Jacksonville’s passing attack.
But this incoming trio combined for 239 catches, 2,697 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns. And if we add superb RB Travis Etienne Jr. to the mix, this foursome accounted for 4,170 yards, or exactly two-thirds of the Jags’ total offense.
And there’s still room to grow.
This is the backdrop for Jacksonville’s decision to select Bigsby with the No. 88 overall pick. It marked the third of the Jaguars’ whopping 13 selections at this year’s draft, and it might prove to be their most consequential.
A five-star recruit out of high school, Bigsby possesses the size, power, and burst to be a successful two-down back in the NFL, and perhaps even a complete bell cow. Still only 21 years old, and with a golden opportunity to play behind one of the game’s most electric rushers, Bigsby has time to develop.
In other words, we shouldn’t expect much in Year 1. At most, Bigsby might realistically become a six-to-eight-touch complement to Etienne.
But grabbing Bigsby in dynasty drafts isn’t about short-term payoffs. It’s about looking ahead to 2025 and beyond. Presumably, the Jags will pick up Etienne’s fifth-year option for 2025, or they might even sign him to a multi-year contract. However, as we’ve often seen, franchises (for good reason) are hesitant to re-sign running backs to long-term deals.
Etienne missed his rookie campaign with a preseason season-ending injury. No doubt, he proved last year that he can be one of the NFL’s best running backs, but will Jacksonville pay him the big money he’ll (probably) deserve, especially with so many other big contracts coming on the horizon (including, notably, Trevor Lawrence’s)?
With this said, Bigsby is a long-term play. Yes, he’ll need to beat out D’Ernest Johnson for the No. 2 job in camp, and he’ll have to show enough these next two years to reassure the Jags that he can be “the guy” if needed.
It’s all doable. And as with most rookie dynasty investments, it requires patience.
Tank Bigsby Fantasy Ranking
PFN’s Tommy Garrett ranks Bigsby No. 31 in his rookie dynasty mock draft, sandwiched between Titans RB Tyjae Spears and Broncos WR Marvin Mims. As we know, rankings are largely subjective, because they hinge not only on objective truths about players but also perceptions of how they’ll be utilized, as well as personal fantasy preferences.
For example, you might be the kind of manager who loads up on 1B running backs (“complementary” RBs like AJ Dillon) and RB handcuffs, knowing that you can get massive upside at relatively little expense.
Or you might be a best-in-class manager who targets elite positional-skill players whenever possible, followed by filling positional gaps. Why take a running back who gets you 6-8 points when you can snag a wide receiver who averages 8-10?
I fall into the former camp, which means I’m normally biased toward guys like Bigsby. We shouldn’t be surprised if he eventually becomes a team’s bell cow for two or more years. In the fantasy world, that’s worth a huge investment in rookie dynasty drafts.
Because there’s so much unpredictability when we get past the positional elites — and even the supposed elites underwhelm all too often.
Bigsby is in a wonderful landing spot, despite operating behind Etienne. There’s a clear path to earning some spot starts if Etienne is sidelined, and there’s a similarly clear path to earning a starting job by his mid-20s.
I’ve got him in my top 12 in rookie dynasty drafts, well ahead of every other mock draft I’ve seen. Maybe that’s farfetched, or maybe Bigsby’s primed for one of the best RB careers in this draft class.
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