The July 17th deadline has come and passed for the Las Vegas Raiders and All-Pro running back Josh Jacobs to reach an agreement in contract talks, and tension amongst Raider Nation has reached a tipping point ever since. On the heels of not receiving the long-term payday he desired, Josh Jacobs turned his focus on extending his off-season plans, as it was reported of him being last seen at the airport leaving Las Vegas Monday, all while posting cryptic messages throughout many social media platforms insinuating distaste for the organization and its business practices.
This past Sunday, it was reported that numerous top backs throughout the league joined a Zoom call to discuss the state of the position’s financial standing in the league. It is unknown what was discussed in the meeting, but shortly after, New York Giants back Saquon Barkley agreed to a 1-year deal worth up to $11M, leaving Jacobs as the sole person holding out due to a contract dispute.
Considering the developing circumstances and the fact that roughly $10.1M is essentially waiting at the table for him to pocket, the consensus opinion is that Jacobs will return to headquarters just before Week 1 to assume his role as the #1 horse for the Raiders, but what kind of Josh Jacobs will we be seeing this season? Head Coach Josh McDaniels will have the daunting task of feeding Jacobs, yet preserving the tread on the tires and using more of the RB depth chart than he did last season.
Here’s a breakdown of what to expect from Josh Jacobs:
JOSH JACOBS vs. NAJEE HARRIS & JONATHAN TAYLOR
In the 2021 season, Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor led the league in carries with 332 and also led the league in rushing with 1811 yards, earning a 5.45 YPC average. Fast-forward to 2022, and Taylor saw his YPC drop to 4.48 in a shortened season due to injury.
While looking at Steelers back Najee Harris’ numbers, particularly the carries, Harris saw roughly an 11% drop in the number of carries (307 vs. 272) in the 2022 season, compared to his 2021 Pro-Bowl campaign, with roughly a similar YPC average.
Josh Jacobs, similar to Jonathan Taylor in 2021, was amongst league leaders in carries and led the league in rushing yardage with 340 carries and 1653 rushing yards with 4.86 YPC. Look for Josh McDaniels to take a lesson learned from what happened to Taylor and lower the production in carries for Jacobs this season in order to prevent injury. To solidify this point, it would behoove McDaniels to take a page out of Steelers Head Coach, Mike Tomlin’s book by giving Jacobs at the least, a 11-15% drop in carries. This move resulted in Harris being able to suit up for all 17 games last season, while keeping virtually the same YPC average. If McDaniels follows this, it will likely assure that Jacobs stays available for every game all season, while not being a detriment to his rhythm and production.
JACOBS FANTASY PROJECTIONS
According to FantasyPros.com, Josh Jacobs will see, roughly, a 20.8% drop in carries this season, while slightly dropping the YPC average (4.56 YPC), with about 11 total touchdowns. In standard leagues, they project Jacobs to tally 213.9 fantasy points this season, while tallying 253.6 points in non-standard PPR leagues.
FantasyPros 2023 Projection For Josh Jacobs: 268.9 Car., 1227.6 Rush Yds., 10.2 Rush TDs, 39.7 Rec., 290.6 Yds., 0.8 Rec TDs. Avg. Draft Position (ADP) Rank In Standard Leagues: #19 (RB7) ADP in PPR Leagues: #28 (RB9)
I foresee Josh McDaniels to utilize the RB room a lot more this season, thus, giving Josh Jacobs a 20% drop in carries in comparison to the 2022 season, modeling a similar production trend from what we saw from Najee Harris in the 2022 season vs. the 2021 season. Jacobs will also see a slight drop in YPC this coming season, (4.4 vs. 4.8 in 2022), which is not as steep a drop in comparison to what Jonathan Taylor saw in 2022 in comparison to the previous season, but a drop nonetheless. Jacobs will also have a total of 10 touchdowns this season.
BIGMIKE’s 2023 Projections For Josh Jacobs: 272 Car., 1197 Rush Yds., 9 TDs, 35 Rec., 230 Rec. Yds., 1 TD. ADP Rank In Standard Leagues: (RB8), Approx. 180 Fantasy Points ADP Rank In PPR Leagues: (RB10), Approx. 215 Fantasy Points