Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake Fantasy Outlook After Ex-Cardinals RB Joins Raiders

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 18, 2021

Arizona Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake (41) during an NFL football game against the Los Angeles Rams Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

Thursday was a rough day for fantasy football players who have Josh Jacobs on their teams in dynasty leagues.

After all, the Las Vegas Raiders backfield will be a bit more crowded after ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the AFC West team signed Kenyan Drake to a two-year, $11 million deal that could be worth up to $14.5 million with incentives.

Frankly, this was a blow to the fantasy value of both running backs.

Drake was the primary ball-carrier for the Arizona Cardinals last season and finished with a solid 955 rushing yards, 137 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns (all on the ground). It was a notable follow-up to his second-half breakout in 2019 when he tallied 643 rushing yards, 171 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in just eight games for the Cardinals after they acquired him from the Miami Dolphins.

Had the Alabama product signed somewhere without a No. 1 running back already in place, the 27-year-old could have been a reliable fantasy weapon in 2021.

Instead, he will split carries at best with Jacobs, who was a Pro Bowler in 2020 with 1,065 rushing yards, 238 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns.

Devontae Booker was the change-of-pace back for the Raiders last season with 93 carries and 17 receptions, but it is difficult to envision Drake playing that small of a role given the amount of resources the team has  invested in him with this contract.

That means fewer carries for Jacobs than his 273 in 2020 and a hit to his fantasy value. The same goes for Drake's 239 carries last year in Arizona.

A true backfield split isn't the only concern for fantasy players, as the Raiders will be without three starters on the offensive line after trading away center Rodney Hudson, tackle Trent Brown and guard Gabe Jackson.

Dominant fantasy seasons from Jacobs or Drake likely are not in the cards at this point.