Name: Leonard Fournette
Age: 23 years old
Team: Jacksonville Jaguars
2015 Stats: N/A
2016 Stats: N/A
2017 Stats: 13 games, 268 rushes for 1,040 yards, 9 TD. 36 rec for 302 yds. 2 TD
2018 Projections: 287 rushes, 1160 yds, 9.5 TD. 37 rec for 303 yds, 1 TD.
Projected 2019 Fantasy Value: RB9
Injury: Fournette’s history of ankle problems is well-documented and concerning. His final year of college had him missing 6 games with the ankle injury, with multiple “tweaks.” It was apparently a high ankle sprain, in addition to low ankle sprains and a bone bruise. Coming into the league, there were concerns about the strength and stability of the ankle, with many reports saying he’ll eventually need surgery.
It should be noted that it was his left ankle in college, and the right in the NFL.
During the preseason of his rookie season, his foot was stepped on and he missed the final 3 games, though was apparently healthy for week 1.
He sprained his ankle in week 6, which caused him to miss the next week. Week 8 was the team’s bye, giving him 2 weeks to rest it, then he was inactive again week 9 which was supposedly a health scratch due to a violation of team rules. Fournette was quoted after week 11 saying his ankle “isn’t going to be 100% until after the season”, and he felt as though he was missing power and explosiveness. He also missed week 15, again as a healthy scratch for violating team rules. All told, Fournette only played 13 games this regular season, but only missed 1 because of the injury.
Fournette also left the playoff game against the Steelers due to the ankle, but was able to return to the game.
2018 Health Outlook: Lateral ankle sprains are no joke for RBs and tend to recur. The ankle loses proprioception, which makes it significantly more likely to sprain again. Fournette is well aware of his injury and has shown signs of lack of trust in the ankle before, so it’ll be interesting to see how his cutting and lateral agility is when needing to plant on the bad foot.
Fournette is supposedly coming into camp 11 lbs lighter than last year, which should definitely help his explosiveness, but that doesn’t really decrease his risk of re-injury in a contact sport like football
Risk of Re-Injury: High to Very High
Recommendations: Draft him in round 2, just be prepared for him to miss some games, either by injury or from poor behavior as his track record isn’t great for either of those things. Have a backup plan for when he’s not playing, but enjoy the 20 point games when he is.