The Tampa Bay Buccaneers might have the best offense in the NFL, but also might not have a running back who we can trust in fantasy football. Last wee we saw Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette split carries, but after a Jones fumble, it was all Fournette with a sprinkling of Giovani Bernard. Fournette ended up with 10.9 PPR points to Bernard’s 3.2 and Jones’ negative 0.6. How will the backfield play Week 2? We’ll take a look.
Fantasy Football analysis: Bucs RBs Ronald Jones, Leonard Fournette, Giovani Bernard
It will be difficult to take too much away from Week 1, as we just don’t know how much work Jones will get after his Week 1 fumble. He likely won’t be benched, as head coach Bruce Arians came out and said he was fine and would start:
Bruce Arians says RB Ronald Jones will start against Atlanta.— Scott Smith (@ScottSBucs) September 14, 2021
Of course, on his weekly radio show, he said they were all starters:
If you're looking for any clarity on Bucs' RB situation and Bruce Arians saying Ronald Jones would start vs. Falcons on Sunday, he said on his weekly radio show of his top three running backs: "They're all starters." Doesn't mean any one is on the field for the opening snap.— Greg Auman (@gregauman) September 16, 2021
This of course makes more sense, as Arians hasn’t had all that much allegiance to any one back, but he will want to get Jones going again so he can get past the fumble.
This week they play the Falcons, who gave up 111 yards rushing and a touchdown on 24 carries to the Eagles backs last week. That’s a decent 4.6 yards per carry and the Buccaneers could get out to a good lead in this one. We’d expect one back to end up with some fantasy value, but which one?
We saw “Playoff Lenny” take over after Jones missed time to an injury last season and run with the job. Arians is going to play the “hot hand” and Fournette may be that player coming out of last week. He did make an egregious drop that led to an interception, but Arians stuck with him and Tom Brady continued to target him.
Fantasy Start/Sit Recommendation
Sit Ronald Jones and Gio Bernard.
Start Leonard Fournette as a flex in most leagues.