Ryquell Armstead, Chris Thompson Fantasy Outlook After Leonard Fournette Is Cut

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

Jacksonville Jaguars running back Ryquell Armstead (23) runs the ball against the Indianapolis Colts during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

Fantasy football drafts got a significant shakeup Monday after Leonard Fournette was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars

Fournette had been a third- or fourth-round pick in fantasy drafts, per ESPN, but he is now only a late-round flier until he finds a new team. Meanwhile, Ryquell Armstead should immediately jump into fantasy relevance as a presumed starter, while Chris Thompson could be an exciting option in points-per-reception leagues.

Both players should be added immediately off waivers or taken in the middle rounds of drafts after previously going unselected in most leagues.

The first challenge for fantasy managers is determining who will replace Fournette on early downs, something that will be tougher to determine without preseason games.

Both Armstead and Devine Ozigbo have a chance at significant playing time and each has a quality profile:

Adam Caplan @caplannfl

On #Jaguars Ryquell Armstead: Gets ID'ed as power RB, but has deceptive speed (4.45) for his size (5-11 1/4, 220). Really impressed coaches last season with hands in passing game.

Brad Evans @NoisyHuevos

What doesn't excite me about Ryquell Armstead: In 2019, he forced five missed tackles on 49 touches and posted a very pedestrian 2.57 YAC per attempt. Ozigbo was a tackle-breaking beast at Nebraska. He's the closest player to Fournette between-the-hashmarks.

There have been good reports on each from training camp, so who should you pick?

Both Armstead and Ozigbo were on the roster last season, Armstead joining as a fifth-round draft pick and Ozigbo as a waiver claim after previously going undrafted.

The Jaguars clearly had Armstead ahead on the depth chart with 35 carries, 24 targets and 150 offensive snaps, leaving Ozigbo with a limited role (nine carries, five targets and 10 snaps).

There is a new offensive coordinator in town in Jay Gruden, but Armstead has the higher upside and should get the first crack at the starting job. Though Ozigbo is worth drafting in the final rounds just in case he plays, Armstead should be the priority and taken in Rounds 8-10, around other backs with questionable roles (Jordan Howard, Kerryon Johnson, Phillip Lindsay).

Of course, the upside for any between-the-tackles running back is limited on the Jaguars, the worst team in the NFL based on Super Bowl odds, per Caesars Palace.

Touchdowns will be hard to come by—as Fournette learned last year with just three scores—and Jacksonville will be trailing in a lot of games, leading to a lot of passes from Gardner Minshew.

This could put Thompson into a bigger role, making him valuable in PPR leagues. Injuries remain a problem, but he still averaged 41 catches per year over the last five seasons in Washington and could get around 60 catches with the Jaguars.

It makes him a useful flex option and puts him ahead of other pass-catchers like Duke Johnson and Nyheim Hines in draft boards, likely Round 11-12.