Jacobs should be selected in the first two rounds in the majority of Fantasy leagues and valued as a top-10 running back in all formats. There is an argument for him even higher than that. Jacobs is still just 25 years old and he averaged 23.1 touches per game last year. He returns to the same team with the same coach and the same competition for touches. He is younger than the other backs who touched the ball as much as him last year, and so less likely for a decline. His receiving volume has generally spiked when either Darren Waller or Hunter Renfrow have been off the field, and Waller has already been jettisoned to New York. If Jimmy Garoppolo is 100% in training camp, Jacobs has a real case to be this year's RB1.
Jacobs is coming off a super busy and productive season. He handled 340 carries and 64 targets, parlaying that volume into an RB3 finish in PPR points and RB1 in non-PPR.
Assuming his contract situation doesn’t impact his 2023 season, Jacobs will be back in a workhorse role.
But he remains unsigned and away from the team as of now.
There's also concern over how he’ll bounce back from all those touches last year. The recent history of RBs coming off seasons of 320+ carries is scary.
Keep those risks in mind, but Jacobs is certainly worth a look in the third round of fantasy drafts.
What We Learned Last YearJacobs finished third among RBs in PPR and half-PPR points last season. He led the position in non-PPR points.He won the rushing title with 1,653 yards. His 340 carries ranked second to only Derrick Henry’s 349. And he tied for fourth with 12 rushing TDs.Jacobs also ranked top-11 among RBs in targets (64), catches (53), and receiving yards (400).Yet he didn’t score a single receiving TD.In fact, Jacobs now has 160 career catches without a receiving score. That’s the second most catches without a TD in NFL history.Jacobs was excellent as a runner last year. Here’s where he ranked in key metrics among 51 RBs with 90+ carries:Yards per carry: 11thYards after contact per attempt: ninthRush yards over expected per attempt: 17thPro Football Focus rushing grade: firstHe wasn’t as impressive in the passing game, ranking 21st in PFF receiving grade and 20th in yards per route run among 44 qualifying RBs.Last year was Jacobs’ first time playing a full NFL season. He missed six games over the previous three seasons with shoulder, ankle, and toe injuries.Here’s where he ranked in points per game in those first three seasons:2019 - 16th in PPR, 12th in non-PPR2020 - 15th in PPR, 11th in non-PPR2021 - 14th in PPR, 18th in non-PPRWhat to Expect in 2023The Raiders used their franchise tag on Jacobs this offseason. That’ll pay him $10.1 million in 2023 ... if he signs.Jacobs did not participate in the team’s offseason program and is holding out of training camp.Assuming Jacobs plays for the Raiders this year, he’ll be back in HC Josh McDaniels’ offense for a second season in the same backfield alongside Zamir White, Ameer Abdullah, and Brandon Bolden.Abdullah played on some passing downs last year, totaling 25 catches on 32 targets. White might take on a slightly bigger role in his second season after carrying just 17 times last year. But Jacobs figures to again be the Raiders’ workhorse.The biggest concern is how he’ll bounce back from handling a whopping 340 carries last season. That was the fourth most over the past 10 seasons.There were six other seasons of 320+ carries from 2013-2021. We’ll omit Le’Veon Bell, who sat out the next season over a contract dispute. Here’s how the other five guys fared in terms of games missed, change in yards per carry, and change in PPR points per game the following season:The Raiders swapped out QB Derek Carr for QB Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. That looks like a lateral move at best, and potentially a downgrade. Garoppolo is also recovering from March foot surgery.The 2022 Raiders ranked first in Football Outsiders’ adjusted line yards. They finished 11th in ESPN’s Run Block Win Rate metric and 17th in Pro Football Focus’ run-blocking grades. There were no significant additions to or departures from the unit this offseason.
Jacobs received the franchise tag and will return to Las Vegas after a breakout 2022 season. The 2019 first-round pick put up massive rushing and receiving lines en route to pacing the league in touches (393) and scrimmage yards (2,053). It was easily Jacobs' best NFL season, but he's always been solid, having yet to finish a season lower than 15th among RBs in rushing yards or fantasy PPG. Incredibly, Jacobs has scored 40 rushing and zero receiving TDs in his career despite ranking top 15 at RB in receiving yards each of the past two seasons. Backs who see 300-plus carries tend to miss games and drop off the following season, but Jacobs can afford that and still provide midrange RB1 value. The 25-year-old is worth a look at the Round 1/2 turn.