Leonard Fournette Signs with the Bills
The Buffalo Bills have just signed “Playoff Lenny”
The 28-year-old, six-year veteran remained unsigned throughout the entire offseason and the first eight weeks of the NFL season. Due to the abundance of running back injuries, many believed a team in need of running backs would be prepared to take a chance on Fournette. However, it was believed that Fournette desired to contract with a contender. Now, both have taken place. While Fournette’s finest years may be behind him, he still has enough left in the tank to contribute to a Bills team that lost Damien Harris to injury for at least the next two weeks. This was a low-risk, medium-reward transaction that benefited all parties. Below, I examine the potential fantasy ramifications and expectations for Fournette now that he has found a new home.
After scoring a touchdown in the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Fournette’s appellation changed from “Playoff Lenny” to “Lombardi Lenny.” He is the third player in NFL history to score touchdowns in all four postseason contests.
Currently, the Buffalo Bills are +1200 to win the Super Bowl. The odds didn’t shift with the signing of Leonard Fournette, but they might soon if he becomes a factor in the offense. NFL Tips by Doc’s Sports is a great forward-thinking site that offers NFL Picks, they have an article on the Bills this week that you should check out. There was no mention of Leonard Fournette as it was written prior to the sign, but I’d expect in a few weeks many of the industry sharks will be advising the Bills as a top AFC contender in 2023.
One thing that a lot of people are not connecting the dots on is Fournette’s ability to catch the ball. In 2022, Fournette had 77 receptions on a team loaded with pass-catching talent. The Bills are gaining a 6’0, 228lb bruising running back with excellent hands. He should be an immediate impact player for the Bills in the Red Zone.
Devin Singletary, 5’7 205lbs, who signed with the Houston Texans in the offense was the team-leading pass catcher among the running backs group for the past four years. While James Cook has been a nice upgrade to the running game, I feel the offense has been missing their check-down RB.
James Cook and Latavius Murray are currently ranked as the Bills’ top two running backs on the depth chart. In a minute, we shall examine the implications for them; in the meanwhile, Fournette will undoubtedly be a more valuable fantasy player on a team than not. It’s unclear how much value he has left, but Fournette was a productive fantasy football player when we last watched him play.
Fournette scored double figures in 12 out of the 16 games he played in 2022, including two occasions when he scored over 30 points in a single game. He played a big part in the passing game as well as the run, which allowed him to accomplish this. In more over half of his games, Fournette saw at least six targets. Fournette’s pass-catching abilities may be useful for the Bills, a club that enjoys passing the ball, as Murray lacks this quality in his game.
The problem is that Fournette’s position is unpredictable because James Cook is a strong pass-catcher as well. Though it would be the best-case scenario, if he performs well in practice this week and is promoted from the practice squad to the active roster, he is unlikely to get nearly the volume he did in Tampa Bay. I may see 6–11 touches. Murray has seen more than eight touches in a game this season and has only had one double-digit appearance, so even if he looks better than Murray and eventually replaces him, there probably won’t be much fantasy value in it.
James is a diehard fantasy football fan who has been playing for over 20 years. He doesn’t have a favorite team, mainly from moving around a lot when he was a kid. This has to lead to many fantasy championships as James drafts with his head, not with his heart. James also plays heavily in Dynasty Football and loves DFS and Picking games. He’s excited to see where he can go writing for Gridiron Experts