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Leonard Fournette start or sit: Week 1 fantasy football advice

We break down the fantasy football outlook of Leonard Fournette ahead of the Bucs Week 1 matchup against the Cowboys.

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - AUGUST 20: Blaine Gabbert #11 hands off the ball to Leonard Fournette #7 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during a preseason game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on August 20, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Buccaneers 13-3. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers once again enter the 2022 season as Super Bowl contenders, and Leonard Fournette remains a pivotal piece in the equation. The Buccaneers expressed this belief after inking him to a three-year, $21 million deal in the offseason. Fournette’s new contract justifies their faith in him and illustrates how much of the running game he will carry on his shoulders as he heads into a Week 1 matchup with the Dallas Cowboys.

Fantasy Football analysis: Bucs RB Leonard Fournette

After playing a contributor role in Tampa Bay’s Super Bowl championship season, Fournette took the lead as the primary back in 2021. As a result, he finished with 180 carries for 812 yards and eight touchdowns in 14 games. He also caught 69 passes for 454 yards and two receiving touchdowns, which netted him an average of 18.3 fantasy points per game in PPR leagues.

That efficiency came while sharing carries with Ronald Jones III, but this season will be a different story. Fournette is the unquestioned RB1 for the Buccaneers, which means he should only increase his number of carries and targets per game from a season ago. He’ll have his work cut out for him against the Cowboys though, as they surrendered the fourth-lowest fantasy points to opposing running backs on average with 15.1 per game.

Start or sit in Week 1?

Fournette averaged 12.9 rushing attempts per game a season ago, and that was while splitting carries with Jones. Now that the latter is gone I expect to see an increase in volume both on the ground and through the air for Fournette, which is a good sign heading into Week 1. Dallas’ track record against opposing running backs in fantasy warrants some caution, but the Buccaneers should move the chains which sets up Fournette for easy goal-line scoring opportunities. Start Fournette in your fantasy lineups on Sunday.