Leading up to the start of the 2023 NFL season, we will post 2023 Fantasy Football Profiles for several fantasy-relevant players.
Outperforming his 2022 average draft position (ADP), Jacobs averaged exactly 20 carries per game and led the NFL in rushing yards (1,653), touches (393) and yards from scrimmage (2,053) last season. In addition, Jacobs posted career highs in yards per carry (4.9), yards per target (6.3) and yards per touch (5.2) in 2022.
While he won't ever see Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler type of passing game volume, Jacobs has exactly (a career-high) 64 targets in back-to-back seasons. He has finished with 54/348 and 53/400 receiving lines in 2021 and 2022, respectively.
The Raiders designated him with the franchise tag, something Jacobs has yet to sign and a recent tweet adds a little extra uncertainty. In fact, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero questioned whether he would sign it before Week 1 absent a long-term deal.
Setting aside any potential contract issues, however, Jacobs returns to a backfield with essentially the same competition for touches as he had last season even though second-year back Zamir White seems poised for a larger role. Jacobs dominated the backfield's touches in 2022. Las Vegas running backs not named Josh Jacobs handled a mere 77 touches (16.4%) total in 2022 compared to Jacobs' 393 touches.
Jacobs played a full 17-game slate in 2022 after missing at least one game in each of his first three seasons. Of course, durability is question mark for everyone in this game, but especially so for running backs.
Even though he has handled a large workload — 1,072 carries over his four seasons, Jacobs is young (turned 25 in February) and he handled a relatively modest workload in college (251 carries in three years).
Before the 2022 season, Jacobs performed as a fantasy's RB18, RB8 and RB14 from 2019-2021, respectively, in half-PPR scoring. Not only did Jacobs finish as fantasy's RB3 in point-per-reception (PPR) and half-PPR formats, but he led all running backs in standard-scoring (i.e., non-PPR) in 2022.
Josh Jacobs Full-Season Projections
Here are our full-season projections for Jacobs:
Bottom line: Fairly Valued
Absent a long-term extension, there is at least a chance that Jacobs waits to sign his franchise tag until after the season starts. That uncertainty with his franchise tag and contract should at least give fantasy managers pause. While a LeVeon Bell-like holdout shouldn't be expected, there's no way to project how contract animosity could play out. For as long as there is contract uncertainty, I'd consider Jacobs on the overvalued side of being fairly valued.
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