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Countdown to 2021 fantasy football drafts: Josh Jacobs No. 46

Josh Jacobs comes in at 46 in our fantasy football rankings countdown to the 2021 NFL season.

Raiders running back Josh Jacobs runs the ball against Los Angeles Chargers strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins during overtime at Allegiant Stadium. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

This is a pivotal season for Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. He’s had two good seasons to start his NFL career, but injuries have slowed him down and the Raiders added Kenyan Drake in the offseason. Jacobs is still the top guy on a above average offense and if he can stay healthy, there are plenty of fantasy stats for him to gobble up in the Las Vegas offense.

To commemorate the 2021 NFL season, we’ll be counting down the 75 best fantasy football players in the league. Picking a Top 75 is subjective, especially when you are projecting a whole season of accumulated fantasy points, but that’s part of the fun. We’ll assume what I see as an average league, which is 12 teams, .5 PPR scoring and a roster of 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, & 1RB/WR/TE. Kickers and defenses need not apply.

Change is the nature of the NFL beast, so trades and injuries will likely impact this list as we go along, but hey, this isn’t rocket science. We’re here to have a little fun and build up some much needed anticipation for a league cast in the shadow by baseball, soccer, hockey, etc. Sarcasm aside, the NFL is addictive and we’re here to give your daily fix as we close in on the season.

The official and often updated fantasy football drafting tiers can be found here.

No. 46, Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders, RB

Last season Jacobs finished as the eighth overall fantasy running back. He did that by rushing 273 times for 1,065 yards and 12 touchdowns while catching 33-of-45 targets for 238 yards and no touchdowns. His 3.9 yards per carry was a decline from his 4.8 yards per carry the previous season, but his touchdown numbers went up, which kept him as a Top 10 fantasy back.

Competition for touches

The Raiders let backup Devontae Booker walk in free agency and added Kenyan Drake as a replacement, while Jalen Richard remains on the team. Touches will be distributed throughout the group to help keep Jacobs fresh, but coach Jon Gruden isn’t going to go far from the running game. I don’t expect Jacobs to see 300 rushing attempts anytime soon, but he’ll be the lead and goal line back once again.

Team offensive expectations

Gruden knows how to put together an offense. He may not have the players he’d prefer, but he can get yardage out of his group. Last season they were Top 10 in points per game and yards per play, but their defense was awful. They did change their offensive line around, but I still expect another Top 10ish offense while the defense again lags.

What’s his upside?

Jacobs’ upside is predicated on him staying healthy and keeping the bulk of the touches in the backfield. Something similar to last season with a little more efficiency and a small boost in touches should be the height of our expectations.

What’s his downside?

There’s real concern about Jacobs’ shoulder injury being a perennial problem. The addition of Drake makes that seem even more of a possibility as Drake isn’t cheap for a backup running back. We could see a true split in work as they try to keep Jacobs healthy, but in the end I still believe it’s Jacobs job to lose.


260 attempts, 1,100 yards, 10 touchdowns — 40 receptions, 275 yards, 1 touchdown