With Tom Brady coming to Tampa Bay, everyone’s anticipating better numbers for players like Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and of course Rob Gronkowski. But the player who is most likely to produce with Tom Brady under center will be Ronald Jones II. Admittedly, the RB from USC could have had a better start to his career in Tampa Bay. His rookie season seemed underwhelming, and even last year his production didn’t scream success (finished the year as RB25). But with a veteran QB who isn’t going to force the ball downfield; or make poor decisions, “RoJo” has great potential to solidify his status as a consistent fantasy option going forward.
Everyone has heard of the ‘dink and dunk’ Quarterback. While these guys won’t impress with their throws downfield, they are a best friend to the ‘safety valves’ of an offense (Tight Ends, RB’s, and routes in the flat). Heading towards age 43, this is where Tom Brady is at this point in his career. If you think that’s an exaggeration, keep in mind that in the past 3 seasons, no one has thrown the ball to their Running Back more than Brady himself. Last year alone Brady targeted his Running Backs more than 150 times surpassing 1,000 yards total; with two RB’s in the Top 31 (with that number moving to the top 30 in Standard and Half Point leagues).
While the Patriots have a great stable of RB’s who share the load, the same can’t be said in Tampa Bay. The Bucs let Peyton Barber walk at the end of the season, and weren’t connected to any Free Agent RB’s that could bring competition to Jones. They did draft Ke’Shawn Vaughn in the 3rd Round, but it seems like Vaughn will be the back-up to Jones and instead replace Dare Ogunbowale. With Barber gone and Vaughn unproven, Jones will be the man taking up those extra rushing attempts and targets. Being conservative, even if Jones only has 15% of the production James White did in New England last year as a receiver (10.8 catches and 97 yards added) those 21 extra points (in PPR) would have placed him just outside the Top-20 in last year’s rankings; one spot behind Josh Jacobs. In fact, in the past 4 seasons Tom Brady has always had a RB who has finished in the Top-20 in PPR formats (with James White being 20th this past year, and the lowest out of the 4 aforementioned seasons).
It’s safe to say with the offensive weapons that Tampa Bay has, it opens the door for RoJo to come close to achieving both James White and Sony Michel’s numbers combined this year. At an ADP circling around 100, Jones could end up being one of the biggest sleepers in the draft this season. So while everyone is looking at Gronkowski and the Buc’s WRs, don’t be shocked to see RoJo sneak his way into top RB2 status by the end of the year.
Prediction – RB14: 225 attempts, 950 yards, 7 TDs; 65 targets, 54 rec, 475 yards, 3 rec td.