The Jacksonville Jaguars shocked everyone when they spent the number 25 pick on running back Travis Etienne in the 2021 NFL Draft. The rookie will share the backfield duties with second-year standout James Robinson. This should certainly hurt his overall draft stock, but teams don’t spend first-round picks on running backs and opt not to give them looks. The question remains, will Etienne receive enough opportunity to justify a mid to high draft pick in fantasy football?
Travis Etienne 2021 Fantasy Football Profile
In 2020, Jaguars starting running back James Robinson finished the season with 1414 total yards, 10 touchdowns, and 49 receptions. The team isn’t going to just bench him, Robinson should enter the 2021 season as the starter, with Etienne sharing snaps. Obviously, when it comes to fantasy football you want your top running backs to get the bulk of their team’s carries. While Etienne may receive those reps eventually, it is fair to assume it won’t happen by week one.
Yes, Robinson had a productive rookie season, but the end of the 2020 season may have played a role in the addition of Etienne. Robinson’s last six performances were all sub 80 rushing yards, a cause for concern for the coaching staff. This may preview Etienne taking over the backfield sooner than expected. Depending on the draft position in your league, Etienne could be a good pick in 2021.
ADP vs. Value
At FantasyPros, Etienne is currently ranked as the 23rd running back in ppr formats. If this is where he is being selected in your league, it’s a good value pick. However, any higher it’s hard to justify the value compared to the draft position. Etienne currently projects as a higher selection than the likes of Chase Edmonds, Kareem Hunt, and Melvin Gordon III. The selection to be made in the mid-rounds is strictly contingent on which committee scares people less.
Personally, if my decision came down to those four, I would lean Hunt based on upside and history, however, Etienne is a great option if you are going for boom value and already have running back depth from the prior rounds.
The added dimension of Etienne possibly seeing snaps at slot wide receiver is a plus when it comes to ADP. Etienne caught 85 passes combined the past two seasons at Clemson. The potential is there for him to make a major impact in fantasy football, especially PPR. If he sees 4-6 targets a game he will blow the ADP out of the water.
Travis Etienne Fantasy Football Projection
Committee aside, Etienne projects to have a great rookie season. If drafted appropriately, Etienne can offer immense value to fantasy football rosters everywhere. Similar to Kareem Hunt, who offers immense value as an RB2, Etienne projects to do the same.
Urban Meyer likes to spread the offense out and get the ball in the hands of his play-makers. As history shows, he will do everything he can to get his 25th overall draft pick the ball, and watch him work. James Robinson saw 4.3 targets per game in 2020, in a relatively conservative offense, the running backs in Meyer’s offense should see well over that number.
Even if Etienne finishes as RB20 or higher, he is worth a late-round selection. The Boom potential is there with Urban Meyer at the helm and a rookie quarterback. Meyer will want to prove his draft pick was a good one and Etienne should offer a nice check-down option for rookie quarterback Trevor Lawerence. If you stock up on other positions early and end up with Etienne as your RB2, worse things have happened.
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