Getting lost in the shuffle of the all the Antonio Brown drama is that the Oakland Raiders have a big game against the Denver Broncos on Monday. This is one of the very few home games that Raiders have in the first half of the season, so it’s very important they come out with a win. Brown was the most talented player on the team’s roster, but he’s not the only exciting player the Raiders have on offense.
Though we didn’t get to see rookie Josh Jacobs much in the preseason, he hasn’t done anything for the Raiders to think he’s not their running back of the future. He’s going to be the team’s top back in 2019 and doesn’t have a lot of competition for carries. This bodes well for fantasy football players who have him in their league. With Brown out the door, Jacobs could easily become the centerpiece of the Raiders’ offense.
Josh Jacobs Fantasy Outlook: Matchup vs. Broncos
The outcome of the Antonio Brown saga has opened a huge void in the Raiders offense. Luckily, Jacobs should be more than game to fill it. His ability as a dual-threat will lead to him seeing a ton of touches all over the field. While the Denver Broncos are excellent against wide receivers, they aren’t as strong against opposing running backs. They allowed the eleventh most rushing yards per game in the NFL during 2018.
Jon Gruden likes to run the ball and now that the passing offense is going to be less effective, they’ll probably rely on Jacobs even more. There are risks involved considering Jacobs hasn’t played a regular-season down. Keep in mind, last year’s top rookie running back, Saquon Barkley led all running backs and was the number two overall player in PPR leagues for 2018. Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffery were top ten backs as rookies in 2017. Also, Kareem Hunt and Alvin Kamara, who were both top-four fantasy running backs as rookies that year. Rookie running backs can do serious damage and Jacobs is no exception.
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Should You Start or Sit Josh Jacobs in Week 1?
Jacobs is a must-start in week one. He’s going to get a ton of looks and is playing a defense that wasn’t great against the run in 2018. The addition of Vic Fangio as the Broncos’ head coach could mean that they field a stronger defense, but that shouldn’t slow Jacobs down too much. The rookie has top-10 running back potential throughout the year, so if he’s playing, he should be a start. Obviously, that should be reevaluated if he struggles, but it seems unlikely.
ESPN projects Jacobs to score 15.7 points in PPR leagues and that seems like a decent number for his first game. He could easily exceed it, but it’s hard to know for sure until we see what he can do. Jacobs is a really exciting player and it will very interesting to see how he does in week one.