Josh Jacobs’ 2020 Outlook: Plenty of Reason for Optimism
Image Credit: Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Josh Jacobs.

RotoViz is continuing our look back on the 2019 rookies with a peek at Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs. Jacobs is already in elite company, and he was the best rookie RB from a fantasy perspective last season. So what can we expect from Josh Jacobs during the 2020 fantasy football season?

Josh Jacobs’ Rookie Season


Per the NFL Stat Explorer, Jacobs put together a promising rookie campaign with solid production across the board, albeit with less work as a receiver than would be required to make him a fantasy powerhouse. In terms of rushing, scoring, and fantasy production, Jacobs was a top-15(ish) RB all season long.

While Jacobs didn’t show much as a receiver during his rookie campaign, he somewhat made up for it through solid efficiency as a rusher and fantasy scorer

  • Jacobs ranked 13th in rushing attempts, but seventh in total rushing yards.
  • Jacobs ranked 29th in Fantasy Points Over Expectation (FPOE) per game, 18th in Expected Points (EP) per game, and 16th in actual points per game.

It’s also important to note that Jacobs played only 14 games and still managed to finish in the top 10 in rushing yards and as a strong RB2 in PPR leagues.

Jacobs’ ability to finish slightly better than his expected points (16th vs. 18th) is technically viewed as a positive, but it could also indicate a dependence on volume. It’s something to keep an eye on; fellow 2019 rookie RB David Montgomery’s 2020 outlook features the same possible red flag.

Fantasy owners will obviously want to see more out of Jacobs through the air in 2020 as well. He ranked just 47th in targets and 50th in receiving yards among RBs last season. On the bright side, Jacobs was targeted at least three times in three of his last five games, after reaching the three-target mark just twice in his first five games.

Historical Comps

Using the RotoViz Screener‘s Similarity Search, I found the closest rookie RB comps to Jacobs over the last two decades. Here are the results:

And here’s how these players fared in their second season, which could give you an idea on what to expect from Josh Jacobs in 2020:


Some of these comps are ridiculously good. Others are middle of the road. Overall, this group of comps — and their Year 2 performances — should have Jacobs fans hyped.

  • The Good: Todd Gurley and Marshawn Lynch have been fantasy league-winners. (Gurley’s second year, shown here, was miserable, but it stood as an aberration in the end.)
  • The Bad: Eddie Lacy fizzled out after Year 2, while Kevin Jones never came close to his rookie numbers again.

Josh Jacobs’ 2020 fantasy football outlook

There is plenty of reason for optimism when it comes to Josh Jacobs in 2020. His historical comps are mostly solid-to-great: Lynch and Gurley have been elite, Lacy and Howard have been weekly starters, and Jones — Jacobs’ fifth-closest comp of his top five — is the outlier.

Jacobs will be knocking on the door as a fantasy RB1 in 2020. Keep in mind that he only just turned 22, and he’s already in stupid-good company for what he was able to do as a 21-year-old:

Image Credit: Larry Placido/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Josh Jacobs.

Tyler Loechner

Tyler specializes in DFS, redraft, and dynasty. He is a member of the FSWA and won the Best Football Series award in 2017. Tyler previously wrote for PFF Fantasy and Bleacher Report.
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