4 Mid-Round Fantasy Football Running Backs With Workhorse Potential
Matt Jones, Washington Redskins
|Matt Jones||ESPN||Fantasy Pros||My Fantasy League||Composite|
|Average Draft Position||68||61||73||68|
Matt Jones also posted some disappointing numbers from an efficiency standpoint last season, but after watching Le'Veon Bell and Devonta Freeman look like completely different backs in their sophomore seasons, let's try not to judge rookie backs too harshly.
Instead, let's focus on the potential volume that Jones could be looking at in 2015. For starters, let's look at what a workhorse, Alfred Morris, who is now with the Cowboys, looked like in this offense prior to Jones' arrival.
For the 2012 through the 2014 seasons, only Marshawn Lynch had more carries than Morris, and he only averaged six more carries per season during that span. Morris also ranked second in red zone rushing attempts during that stretch, averaging 43 carries from within the 20 yard line per season. Last season, Morris and Jones combined for 50 red zone rushing attempts, which ranked ninth among backfield tandems.
Jones might not have the ability to take advantage of the opportunity, but there's no denying that the opportunity is there for the second-year running back. It really appears that Washington wants him to assume the heavy workload that made Morris an effective fantasy starter for three consecutive years.
One of Jones' main issues in his rookie season was ball security. After watching him lose four fumbles in just 163 touches last year, Washington has made it a priority to correct this issue. They are using a special ball with sensors to ensure that he is putting enough pressure on the key point of the ball as he runs.
Washington instilled confidence in Jones by letting Morris walk in free agency and only bringing in seventh-round rookie Keith Marshall to compete with Jones. They have also done nothing but praise Jones this summer, most recently saying they have seen what they wanted from Jones so far this offseason.
Don't get me wrong -- Jones is far from a sure thing. He was one of the least efficient runners last year, he'll lose passing down work to Chris Thompson, and Marshall is waiting in the wings if he struggles. However, he has the opportunity to be 250-plus carry back (Morris averaged 292 in his three years as the bellcow) and hog the red zone rushing work for a potentially explosive offense.