The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will return just about all of their key contributors from last season’s Super Bowl team, and that includes their top two running backs Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, who really shined during the postseason run. The Buccaneers also added former Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in the offseason to likely be used as a pass catcher out of the backfield. This is an interesting backfield from a fantasy perspective, and the battle for the most touches will be fascinating to track.
Latest camp news
Week 2 preseason recap: Fournette and Jones did not play in the game. Bernard got one carry for zero yards and was targeted once in the passing game. Head coach Bruce Arians has stated all three will get game action when the regular season begins, so it’s hard to tell who will be the “bell cow” running back at the moment.
Week 1 preseason recap: The first preseason game told us just about nothing about where this battle is heading. Fournette got two carries for two yards, while Jones got a single carry for no yards. Bernard didn’t get any rush attempts, but he was the only back of the three to get action as a pass-catcher. He hauled in two catches for 16 yards.
August 11th: Jones was listed as the team’s starting running back on the unofficial depth chart ahead of the team’s first preseason game. Unofficial depth charts obviously don’t mean a ton, but it will be interesting to see if this coaching staff will go with their successful regular season rusher from last season with Jones or if Fournette’s postseason accomplishments are enough to get him the majority of the touches.
Next preseason game: at Houston Texans
This could be the “dress rehearsal” game for the Bucs, but it’s more likely they continue to play the backups and third-string players with the starters mostly settled. Arians has said all three running backs will be involved in the offense, so there’s no clear favorite to lead the backfield. Bernard will be involved as a receiver, taking away the one true advantage Fournette had over Jones at this point.
Fantasy football verdict
Week 2 preseason: Like we already said, the first preseason game didn’t do much to shift our thoughts as to who will be RB1 heading into the season. Both Fournette and Jones got minimal reps in the preseason opener while Bernard was productive through the air, just like we thought. The next couple of weeks will really show us more about where this camp battle is heading.
Week 1 preseason: Jones was the most successful back in the Buccaneers’ offense during the regular season, while Fournette took control during the postseason run. Fournette may be picked first between the two in fantasy drafts, but Jones could be the more valuable selection with a much larger sample size of success last season. Bernard is going to upgrade the pass catching among the running backs, but Jones and Fournette are probably going to be the backs you want to go after.