Leonard Fournette

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Running Back #27
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Running Back #27
Photo: Icon Sportswire

Leonard Fournette News

Another pair of TDs in win

Fournette rushed 22 times for 81 yards and two touchdowns and brought in all six targets for 46 yards in the Buccaneers' 28-22 win over the Eagles on Thursday night.

Analysis: Fournette's fantasy managers have to be overjoyed with developments regarding the running back over the last 12 days, as he's posted 67 total touches and three touchdowns during the three games in that span and finally provided some clarity to the previously murky Buccaneers backfield picture in the process. The 26-year-old's strong play has clearly pushed Ronald Jones into a backup role, and Fournette's robust usage through the air -- he's logged 16 targets in that aforementioned trio of contests -- has given a significant boost to his overall fantasy production. Fournette will now have a chance to rest up from the recent spike in volume ahead of a Week 7 home matchup versus the Bears a week from Sunday.

Oct 14, 2021 8:46 PM EST

Finds end zone in easy win

Fournette rushed 12 times for 67 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's 45-17 win over Miami. He added four catches for 43 yards on five targets.

Analysis: Fournette powered in a five-yard touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter but wasn't needed after that with the game well in hand. Though Fournette got the majority of the backfield workload while the game was competitive, Giovani Bernard worked as the third-down back in his return from a knee injury and caught a touchdown. Tampa Bay's offense dominated through the air in this one, with Tom Brady tossing five touchdowns, but Fournette could see a larger workload Thursday against the Eagles if the Buccaneers go with a more balanced approach.

Oct 10, 2021 1:43 PM EST

Leads position players in yards

Fournette rushed 20 times for 91 yards and had three receptions (five targets) for 47 yards in Sunday's 19-17 win over the Patriots.

Analysis: Fournette shouldered the load and kept the offense moving in a rare contest where Tom Brady appeared to be mortal (51 completion percentage, 269 yards and no touchdowns). The power back's 20 carries nearly doubled his total on the season through four weeks (44 carries). It was also a positive sign for Fournette's fantasy managers to see the back remain involved in the passing game, as he is currently on pace to finish the year with 60 catches. He did have a touchdown poached by Ronald Jones (six carries for 25 yards and the score), but Fournette is clearly the lead back heading into a Week 5 matchup against Miami.

Oct 3, 2021 9:49 PM EST

Garners 34 total yards in loss

Fournette rushed four times for eight yards and secured all three targets for 26 yards in the Buccaneers' 34-24 loss to the Rams on Sunday.

Analysis: The game script quickly became unfriendly to the ground attack in the second half Sunday, with the Buccaneers falling behind by two touchdowns in the third quarter. That left Fournette with very sparse opportunities on the ground, but he was able to take advantage of all three passes thrown his way. The unique circumstances of the contest made it a poor situation to draw any conclusions about the ongoing time share between Fournette and Ronald Jones from, but Fournette will look to bounce back in the Week 4 Sunday night showdown against the Patriots.

Sep 26, 2021 9:39 PM EST

Likely starting this week

Fournette is expected to start Sunday's game against the Packers, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

Analysis: Ronald Jones got the starting nod Weeks 1 and 2, but he was limited to 10 carries and three targets while Fournette piled up 20 and 11, respectively. That's partly due to Jones being benched after a lost fumble Week 1, but he also came under the spotlight for the wrong reasons Week 2, with his missed block on Atlanta's Deion Jones directly leading to a drive-killing sack. While Fournette isn't exactly known for avoiding sloppy mistakes, he's been the better of the two in that regard since late last season, and he thus remains the preferred fantasy option from the Tampa backfield ahead of Sunday's matchup with the Rams.

Sep 26, 2021 7:34 AM EST

Still clear lead back Sunday

Fournette rushed 11 times for 52 yards and secured all four targets for 24 yards in the Buccaneers' 48-25 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

Analysis: Despite the fact Ronald Jones took the first carry of the game, Fournette once again ended up outpacing his position mate in touches by a clear margin. The fifth-year back had five more carries and three more receptions than Jones, the latter accomplished on just one more target than his teammate. Jones figures to continue to cap Fournette's overall fantasy ceiling to an extent, but through two games, the latter has served as a serviceable option in PPR formats due to ability to enhance his overall production through his work in the passing game. Fournette will look to continue his strong start to the campaign in a tough Week 3 battle against the Rams on the road.

Sep 19, 2021 8:22 PM EST

Lead back in Week 1 win

Fournette rushed nine times for 32 yards and secured five of seven targets for 27 yards in the Buccaneers' 31-29 win over the Cowboys on Thursday night.

Analysis: Fournette out-carried backfield mate Ronald Jones by a 9-4 margin and was also heavily involved in the short passing game, although one of the two targets he failed to bring in resulted in an interception. Nevertheless, Tom Brady went back to Fournette through the air several times after the miscue, and the young veteran responded well overall. A game in which the flow ultimately tilted very heavily toward the pass isn't exactly the ideal vehicle for conducting an early fantasy assessment of the Fournette-Jones timeshare arrangement, so perhaps a Week 2 home matchup against the Falcons on Sunday, Sept. 19 will allow for a more conventional and revelatory deployment of the Buccaneers' ground attack

Sep 9, 2021 10:06 PM EST

Set to share early-down duties

Fournette is still slated to share primary ballcarrier duties with Ronald Jones to open the season and is likely to yield most third downs to offseason acquisition Giovani Bernard, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: Last year's postseason standout has had a solid summer by all accounts, with Auman noting in response to a Twitter follower's question that it's difficult to evaluate running backs when there is sparse tackling and contact in training camp practices. Fournette and Jones will have "much the same role" according to Auman, which will naturally cap each's fantasy value to an extent if it holds true over the long term. Meanwhile, although Bernard does indeed have an established track record as a receiver out of the backfield, Fournette likely would have a slightly better chance of eating into some of Bernard's third-down snaps due to his own previous body of work in that realm (170-1,242-2 career line through the air).

Aug 23, 2021 5:41 PM EST

Cameo in preseason opener

Fournette gained two yards on two carries in Saturday's preseason loss to the Bengals.

Analysis: All three of the Bucs' top running backs (Fournette, Ronald Jones and former Bengal Giovani Bernard) saw snaps on Tampa Bay's first possession of the night while Tom Brady was under center, and all three quickly came out of the game afterward, offering little clarity on how coach Bruce Arians plans to deploy the trio come Week 1. Fournette came up big in the team's postseason run to the Super Bowl, but if his regular-season usage last year is any indication, Arians will alternately ride the hot hand and stick someone in his doghouse, making it difficult to predict which RB might go off in any given week.

Aug 15, 2021 5:34 AM EST

Thought of as co-starter

Coach Bruce Arians remarked that he sees both Fournette and backfield mate Ronald Jones as No. 1 backs during the team's mini-camp earlier in June, Scott Smith of the team's official site reports. "It's a hell of a group," said Arians, starting his thoughts with Jones and Fournette. "Both those guys are starters in my mind. Whoever goes out first doesn't really matter to me. But that will be determined in camp."

Analysis: Fournette's signing just before Week 1 a year ago naturally set him back in the early portion of the season, and his role fluctuated from healthy scratch to spot starter throughout the campaign. The fifth-year back then cemented the Buccaneers' interest in bringing him back for their title defense season with an excellent postseason showing (448 total yards, four total TDs across four games), and following his re-signing this offseason, he's apparently set to play another prominent role in the coming campaign. However, Jones has a longer body of work in Arians' offense and has been equally impressive at times, meaning both players appear headed for a dreaded timeshare scenario if they remain healthy and similarly productive to 2020.

Jun 21, 2021 1:11 PM EST

Running it back with Bucs

Fournette announced Friday that he's re-signing with the Buccaneers, NFL reporter Josina Anderson reports.

Analysis: Fournette's return essentially finalizes Tampa Bay's efforts to keep its championship roster intact. The 26-year-old wasn't much of a factor during the regular season in 2020, with just 97 carries for 367 yards and six scores across 13 games, but he emerged as one of the Buccaneers' top offensive weapons during the playoffs. Through the team's playoff run, Fournette kept a grip on Tampa Bay's top backfield role even after Ronald Jones returned to full health, logging 448 total yards and four scores through just four games -- including 136 scrimmage yards and a TD in Super Bowl LV. If Fournette can reprise his playoff form through the 2021 regular season he'll be a highly intriguing fantasy option, and in any case, his return is seriously damaging to the prospects of Ronald Jones and second-year back Ke'Shawn Vaughn.

Mar 26, 2021 8:39 AM EST

Leaning toward Tampa exit?

Fournette and the Buccaneers haven't made much progress in contract talks, Joey Knight of The Tampa Bay Times reports.

Analysis: The Bucs largely have managed to keep their championship squad together, re-signing Lavonte David, Shaquil Barrett, Rob Gronkowski and Ndamukong Suh. It's still possible the team brings back Fournette and/or Antonio Brown, but it seems the veteran RB is being patient and hoping for better offers.

Mar 24, 2021 7:25 AM EST

Closes out title run in fine form

Fournette rushed 16 times for 89 yards and a touchdown and secured all four targets for 46 yards during the Buccaneers' 31-9 win over the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV on Sunday.

Analysis: While Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski will likely get more press for their performances, Fournette turned in another efficient performance through both the ground and air. The fourth-year back took the reins of the backfield beginning with the wild-card win over Washington and kept a firm hold of the top job even with Ronald Jones healthy over the last three postseason contests. Fournette's underrated ability as a receiver once again played a key role, as he checked in second in receptions and receiving yardage on the night for the Buccaneers. Fournette's strong finish during Tampa Bay's championship run may earn him a bigger payday elsewhere, but there's no question he filled a pivotal role in the team's Super Bowl title.

Feb 7, 2021 7:46 PM EST

Productive in championship game win

Fournette rushed 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown and brought in five of seven targets for 19 yards in the Buccaneers' 31-26 win over the Packers in Sunday's NFC Championship Game.

Analysis: The fourth-year back once again paced the Buccaneers' backfield, with his pass-catching skills giving him the edge over Ronald Jones (10 rushes, zero targets) in terms of playing time. Fournette also made a significant impact on the game with a 20-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, one that saw him bounce out of a pile and get into the end zone up the right side of the field. The 26-year-old has logged double-digit carries in all three of the Buccaneers' playoff games to date while also turning 17 targets into 14 receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. He'll be poised for another robust role during a Super Bowl LV matchup against either the Bills or Chiefs on his home field of Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, Feb. 7.

Jan 24, 2021 3:58 PM EST

107 total yards, TD in playoff win

Fournette rushed 17 times for 63 yards and secured five of six targets for 44 yards and a touchdown in the Buccaneers' 30-20 divisional-round win over the Saints on Sunday.

Analysis: Even with Ronald Jones (quadriceps) active and taking 13 carries in his own right, Fournette served as the true lead back and turned in a second consecutive strong postseason effort. The fourth-year pro constantly ground out tough yards against a stingy Saints front, and he paced the Buccaneers in receptions while recording a clutch six-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter to even the score at 20-20. The running game figures to once again play a prominent role in the frigid temperatures at Lambeau Field in next Sunday's NFC Championship Game, meaning Fournette could be set for another busy afternoon.

Jan 17, 2021 7:25 PM EST

Bound for another start

Coach Bruce Arians announced Friday that Fournette will start Sunday's NFC divisional-round game in New Orleans, Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Analysis: Fournette also led Tampa Bay's backfield during last weekend's wild-card win over Washington, when he carried the ball 19 times for 93 yards and a touchdown while also reeling in all four targets for 39 yards. Ronald Jones (quadriceps) sat out against Washington and will be a game-time decision for Sunday's matchup, according to Arians, so Fournette could realistically be primed for workhorse duties once again versus the Saints.

Jan 15, 2021 10:05 AM EST

Steps up in Jones' absence

Fournette rushed 19 times for 93 yards and a touchdown and secured all four targets for 39 yards in the Buccaneers' 31-23 wild-card win over Washington on Saturday night.

Analysis: Fournette took on lead-back duties after Ronald Jones suffered a quadriceps injury during pregame warmups, and the 25-year-old excelled in the role while offering some critical balance for the Buccaneers offense. Fournette's three-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter was a critical one, as it extended Tampa Bay's lead to double digits after Washington had closed to 21-16. The fourth-year pro would be primed to helm the backfield again next weekend in a divisional-round battle against either the Rams or Saints if Jones is unable to suit up.

Jan 9, 2021 9:30 PM EST

Reverts to complementary work

Fournette rushed five times for 13 yards and secured both of his targets for 14 yards in the Buccaneers' 44-27 win over the Falcons on Sunday.

Analysis: With Ronald Jones returning from both a finger injury and the reserve/COVID-19 list, Fournette went back to his clear backup role after handling 17 and 12 total touches in Weeks 15 and 16, respectively. The 25-year-old figures to continue serving in the same role in the coming postseason, and his expected active status in the playoffs could render veteran LeSean McCoy (undisclosed) a healthy scratch. Fournette was serviceable while usually functioning as a complementary option during his first Bucs season, posting 600 total yards and six rushing touchdowns across 13 games while playing on a one-year deal.

Jan 4, 2021 9:30 AM EST

Likely bound for pass-catching role

Fournette is expected to serve as the Buccaneers' top pass-catching/third-down back in Sunday's game against the Falcons, Greg Auman of The Athletic reports.

Analysis: While Ronald Jones was sidelined for the past two games following his placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Fournette served as the Bucs' lead option on the ground, carrying 23 times for 83 yards and three touchdowns. After Jones was reinstated to the roster this week, head coach Bruce Arians suggested that the third-year player would slot back in atop the depth chart, leaving Fournette to fill more of a change-of-pace role. The Buccaneers could elect to rest their starters to some extent at during Sunday's game, but as it currently stands, Fournette will likely be in store for a downturn in carries compared to the previous two weeks.

Jan 3, 2021 9:21 AM EST

Ready to face Atlanta

Fournette (abdomen) and Ronald Jones (finger) both have been removed from the injury report for Sunday's game against the Falcons.

Analysis: Fournette went from a healthy scratch Week 14 to the lead role Weeks 15 and 16, taking 23 carries for 83 yards and three touchdowns over the past two weeks. He'll likely have a lesser role -- if he's even active -- with Jones cleared to return from a two-game absence.

Jan 1, 2021 1:10 PM EST

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