Fantasy Football is a game of desperation. Sometimes we convince ourselves of something simply because we need that particular thing to exist. Nowhere does this phenomenon occur more often than with running backs. As injuries pile up throughout the season and the bye weeks come in waves, we’re all a dehydrated man in the desert thinking we see an oasis off on the horizon. In 2019, that mirage has often taken the shape of Ronald Jones. The sophomore RB has certainly had his flashes so far this season, but nothing enticed owners quite like Jones’ eight-reception performance a week after being officially named the Buccaneers’ starting back. However, much like the sound of a tree falling in the woods with no one around to hear it, can one even be the lead runner in an offensive system that doesn’t utilize its RBs?
It seems the trap a lot of people fell into with Jones was believing that he and Peyton Barber were alone in competing for playing time and carries. That’s most assuredly not the case. Not only did Dare Ogunbowale out-snap both men by a significant margin in last weekend’s 34-17 loss to New Orleans, but the rookie’s actually seen the most action of the trio for the entirety of the season. Now, you could make the argument that Ogunbowale’s workload is script dependant, yet I’d counter by saying that being the pass-catching running back seems like the optimal position on a 3-7 team. It all simply boils down to volume. Tampa Bay averages just 3.9 yards per rushing attempt. It runs the ball on a paltry 35.7% of offensive plays and scores a mere 32.3% of its touchdowns on the ground. That’s a situation that barely seems conducive to supporting one RB, let alone three.
Fantasy Football Analysis, Tampa Bay RBs Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber
Its almost impossible to predict the game flow of a contest between the Buccaneers and the Falcons - two of the NFL’s least consistent teams. Still, for all the faults Atlanta’s had on defense, they’ve been far more susceptible through the air, coming into Week 12 with the 27th-ranked defense against the pass and the 11th-ranked defense against the run. No one’s denying that Jones is obviously Tampa’s most fantasy viable running back; however, when you’re losing targets to Ogunbowale and goal line carries to Barber, there’s not much left to be excited about. Add in the Buccaneers’ natural inclination to pass the football, and this becomes a situation I just want to avoid.
Sit Jones. Sit Barber.