by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There’s always a lot of hype around the “new toy” for NFL franchises, and when the Buccaneers jettisoned Doug Martin the path to playing time was there for someone to step up. Selected in the second round (38th overall), all eyes fall directly on Ronald Jones. Can he step up and claim starting duties? Being selected 57th overall (he’s the 25th running back coming off the board), fantasy owners clearly believe.
Maybe that’s about to change, considering this quote from Rick Stroud of The Tampa Bay Times (click here for the article):
“Peyton is our starter,” Koetter said Monday. “We’re definitely going to use Ronald Jones and take advantage of what he’s going to do. We do have the two veteran backs behind him. Again, we’ve got three more preseason games. Let’s just let it sort out a little more.”
Obviously we take that with a grain of salt, considering we are still a few weeks away from opening night. These things have a habit of working themselves out, but it’s not like Jones doesn’t bring his own concerns with him:
- He’s going to have to battle both Barber and Charles Simms (third down) for touches
- Jones is never going to be a true three-down back, having never had more than 14 catches during a season at USC
- NFL.com described him as, “a classic slasher with the wiggle and explosiveness to elude open-field tacklers and then burst to chunks of yardage” yet his 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the combine had him outside of the Top 15 running back performances
- Potential limitations on his workload, as he’s listed at 5’11” and 205 lbs.
That seems like a long list of potential issues, doesn’t it? It’s possible Jones quickly rises and assumes the bulk of the early down work, but it may not come in Week 1 (and Barber should be a factor throughout the season). While the fifth round price isn’t completely prohibitive, the risk likely outweighs the reward (especially over the first few weeks of the season). It’s a different outlook for dynasty league owners, but in redraft leagues proceed with a little bit of caution.
Source – NFL.com, ESPN, Fantasy Pros
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 preseason rankings: