A 2-Down Dynamo
Ronald Jones II was arguably the most impressive pure running back in college last year. Even if you disagree with that sentiment in favor of the consensus view (Saquon Barkley) or the SEC view (Derrius Guice, Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and Kerryon Johnson), it's hard to argue Jones wasn't stellar playing alongside Sam Darnold and dominating Pac-12 competition. The only question with Jones -- and it's a significant one for fantasy purposes -- is whether he's a one-dimensional contributor. While his film leaves little doubt about his running ability, his receiving skills are at best an unknown and at worst non-existent. The Buccaneers used the 38th overall pick (second round) on Jones and clearly plan on him being a big part of their offense.
- A dynamic runner who dominated against Pac-12 competition
- An unproven receiver
- A limited pass blocker
- A wide-open depth chart on a Tampa Bay team desperate to improve the running attack (23rd last season)
In what could be a bumper crop of rookie running backs, Jones' fantasy outlook has a higher floor and lower ceiling than his classmates. The Buccaneers have little choice but to commit to Jones on first and second downs, but his unproven pass blocking and receiving guarantee roles for Peyton Barber and Charles Sims. It's very hard in today's NFL to vie for RB1 value if you're not a 3-down back, and even optimistic projections doubt Jones' 3rd-down role. Drafting Jones as an RB3 would be potent, but relying on him as an every week starter (i.e., RB2 or RB1) is a risky bet.
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