Leonard Fournette, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jaguars rookie RB Leonard Fournette has been at the center of Jacksonville’s league leading rushing attack, so it’s no surprise that he’s my selection for this week’s “One to Watch”. He hasn’t received as much attention as Chief’s rookie rusher Kareem Hunt in the national news, but Fournette is averaging almost five yards per carry and just under 100 yards per game, ten more per game than Hunt. He’s also run well against some of the league’s better defenses, including Houston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh. Fournette was especially hard on the Steelers, whom he gouged for 181 yards and a 90-yard touchdown gallop.
Fournette sits sixth on the leaderboard for total yardage this season, but he’s missed the last few games. He was sidelined in week seven with an ankle injury, then rested up and got healthy over their week eight bye, before being benched last week for missing his treatments. While he’s worked his way out of the dog house and tweeted about his timeliness to prove it, I’m certain Fournette feels like he has something to prove.
With three weeks of rest and feeling spry, you can bet Fournette will come out of the blocks running downhill this week against a Chargers team that struggles to stop the run. San Diego ranks second-to-last in rush defense, giving up over 130 yds per game. Look for Fournette to run the ball early and often to wear down the defense and then break a big one sometime in the second half. Even if Los Angeles chooses to load the box, Fournette can still wreak havoc on the Chargers’ defense as a pass catcher out of the backfield. He has fifteen receptions thus far this year and averages over nine yards per catch. The Jaguars will use Fournette all game long to keep drives going and burn the clock, keeping Philip Rivers and the explosive Chargers offense on the sidelines.
Tom Capo writes about sports, parenting, food, wine and travel; but seldom all at once. He’s currently working on his first novel and collection of shorter fiction. He lives in the Bay Area with all of his girls; wife Allison, daughter Liliana and dog Artemis.
Image source: https://twitter.com/_fournette