Player: T.J. Yeldon
2017 Touches: 79
2017 PPR Points: 87.7
2017 FP/Touch: 1.11
Yeldon was given somewhat of a featured role through his first two seasons, but that was taken away in 2017. He flashed inconsistent upside as the starter, forcing the Jacksonville Jaguars to draft Leonard Fournette before the 2017 season. He lost the majority of his touches behind Fournette but was still able to be featured as a part-time third-down back.
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Yeldon was able to display the potential to be a true running back early in his career, totaling 312 carries through his first two seasons. He only saw 49 carries last season after being relegated to a part-time player behind a more traditional running back in Fournette. While Yeldon’s role was limited this season, he continued to progress as a runner, recording a career-high 5.2 yards per attempt and 4.1% touchdown rate. Furthermore, Yeldon needed only 9.3% of the team’s touches to account for 11.2% of the team’s rushing yards and 11.1% of rushing touchdowns.
While Yeldon has displayed decent rushing potential, he is a great addition to the receiving game. He needed only ten games to contribute 30 receptions and 224 receiving yards on 41 targets. He posted a 73.2% catch rate, which is the lowest of his career, but still impressive. This was the first season Yeldon was not able to find the end zone through the air, but it is far from surprising due to his somewhat limited opportunities.
Yeldon was able to utilize his receiving skills to work as a third-down back for the Jaguars this season. He was able to finish the year as the RB54 but ranked 70th in the NFL in touches this season. He also ranks 14th in the NFL in fantasy points per touch of any running back with 50 or more touches, recording only 0.01 FP/Touch less than fantasy darling Todd Gurley.
Yeldon is a young running back seemingly oozing potential. He is only 24 years old with three years of professional experience under his belt. He also has the draft pedigree to go along with early career production to make fantasy players wonder what he could potentially do with the right opportunity.
In his first season, Yeldon totaled 1,019 yards and three touchdowns in only 12 games. He was on pace for 1,359 yards and four touchdowns over a 16 game span. Adding in fantasy points for his receptions, and Yeldon would have posted 207.9 fantasy points, ranking as the RB12 this season. He saw his rushing opportunity dwindle in his next two seasons but recently posted his most efficient season in 2017. He has continued to display tremendous receiving potential, averaging 38.7 receptions on 51.7 targets per season throughout his career. This potential may never come to fruition if he does not find a better situation, though.
Yeldon will never be a featured back on the Jaguars because of the presence of Fournette. Luckily, Yeldon only has one more year on his rookie contract. If he continues to produce in a similar fashion as his first three seasons, Spotrac projects that he sees anywhere from $3.5-5.5 million dollars annually when he becomes a free agent. That will likely be too expensive for the Jaguars to spend, as they will be focusing on re-signing more important players while allowing Fournette to continue to take over as the workhorse running back. The Jaguars could also speed up the process by trading Yeldon this season, allowing Corey Grant to take over as the change-of-pace runner.
Yeldon’s landing spot will play a major factor in his value, but it is difficult to believe he finds himself in a worse situation than where he is now. He has the skills to be a dominant third-down running back with the potential to be an early down runner, as well. His potential makes the unknown a bit easier to deal with at this point in the process.
Yeldon is a player who seemingly has very little value. He is currently being selected as the RB57 in startup dynasty leagues, which overlooks his recent RB54 finish. Overall, he is being selected in the 15th round of drafts. He is a young running back that has flashed potential early in his career but has been lost in the shuffle behind a physically dominant runner.
There are very few trades that focus around Yeldon, which does not come as a surprise. With that being said, in those trades, he is undervalued. Here are a few trades focusing around Yeldon from November to January.
I’m a fantasy player that loves to put my money where my mouth is, making it easier for my readers to trust me. I recently traded a 2018 third round pick and Kapri Bibbs for T.J. Yeldon. Unsurprisingly, I find this to be a steal on my end, as the Yeldon owner was fairly willing to let him go.
Keep in mind, Yeldon is not the type of running back that is going to turn your team around in one season. He likely will not even be useful this season. He is a one-year hold that has the potential to become an RB2 if he is given the right situation. His cost is roughly a third-round draft pick, suggesting he can easily be had in any league. He is a player that could gain value after this season, though, as his free agency status will likely catch some people’s eyes. He is a player that should be traded for now, held for one season, and utilized once he is in a position to contribute fantasy points.
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