Travis Etienne Jr. Fantasy Outlook: Can You Trust Him as Your RB1 in 2023?

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Travis Etienne Jr. was a very streaky fantasy producer in 2022. Can he make the jump to RB1 territory this season?

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Travis Etienne Jr. had the equivalent of a redshirt freshman year in the NFL in 2022, and while it was filled with some ups and downs, he ultimately finished as the RB17 in PPR formats. So, if we expect the Jags offense to take a big step forward in 2023 with QB Trevor Lawrence, what does that mean for Etienne’s fantasy football prospects? Let’s take a closer look.

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Travis Etienne’s Fantasy Outlook

Etienne missing his entire rookie season had some pros and cons. The cons were obvious … an RB completely missing a whole season of production on his rookie deal where second contracts are tough to come by in today’s NFL and opens the door for competition to emerge in the same backfield.

But the pros include one fewer year of heavy tread being put on the tires and avoiding any potential infection from working extensively with former Jaguars head coach Urban Meyer and his dreadful 2021 campaign.

When we finally did get a real look at Etienne in a Jags uniform, the results included some peaks and valleys. The Clemson product was eased into action to start the season, seeing fewer than 10 carries in three of his first four games, leading to just one double-digit PPR fantasy performance through the first month of the season.

Then from Weeks 5-16, Etienne saw 10+ carries in 10 of the next 11 games, producing four 100-yard rushing performances. During that span, we did get glimpses of his fantasy potential as an RB1 candidate, but the real problem with his 2022 campaign was that he was really, really streaky.

Weeks 1-5: No finishes inside the top 20

Weeks 6-9: Four straight top-20 finishes

Weeks 10-15: No finishes inside the top 20

Weeks 16-17: Two straight top-15 finishes

These inconsistencies, coupled with some legitimate ball security issues (5 fumbles last season) and the addition of RB Tank Bigsby (who the Jags selected in the third round of this NFL Draft), are potential causes for concern when trying to project a breakout season from Etienne in 2023.

Should You Draft Travis Etienne at His Current Draft Day Price?

Etienne is currently coming off the board in the third round at No. 29 overall as the RB12. The case for a breakout season into RB1 territory isn’t too far-fetched.

Etienne was involved in the passing game, has big-play ability, and is the leading man in the backfield of an offense that is trending in the right direction.

MORE: 2023 Fantasy Player Projections

Admittedly, the potential contingency plan of Bigsby from this coaching staff, who did not draft Etienne, could prove to be a pitfall for those who invest too heavily in Etienne if he doesn’t fix his ball security issues or loses all of the goal-line work to Bigsby.

His draft-day price is probably just a tad inflated, but the upside is definitely there for Etienne to return on this investment if the Jaguars’ offense continues to trend in the right direction.

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