Travis Etienne
Travis Etienne will be a league-winner for fantasy football in 2021. (Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports)

Travis Etienne Will Be A Fantasy Football League Winner

The Jacksonville Jaguars are on the come up. They have one of the best quarterback prospects of all time in Trevor Lawrence. Not only that but they added former college coach Urban Meyer to take over the reins of this young roster. That alone makes this offense intriguing, but they also decided to draft Clemson star Travis Etienne with their second first-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Travis Etienne joins a clustered running back room consisting of both James Robinson and Carlos Hyde. While this may be a turn off to some, I see it as an opportunity to grab a potential fantasy football league-winner in a later round. As of right now, Etienne is coming off the board in the fifth round. That value alone is a steal.

Etienne is without a doubt the most talented running back on the roster and the coaching staff knows it. They wouldn’t have taken Travis Etienne with the 25th overall pick if they believed James Robinson could be their guy. Unlike Robinson, Etienne is electric with the ball in his hands. He has tremendous contact balance, but also elite elusiveness and breakaway speed you don’t see often.

Without a doubt, another reason Jacksonville brought in Etienne was to make the NFL transition smoother for Trevor Lawrence. They want Etienne to fill the same role he played alongside Lawrence at Clemson. That pass-catching role is intriguing enough to cement him as a solid RB2. In the past two seasons, Lawrence dumped the ball off to Travis Etienne 85 times. Consequently, Etienne ended with over 1,000 yards receiving.

To start the year I expect Etienne to be featured in the passing game, allowing Trevor Lawrence to get his bearings on the NFL scene. However, as the season progresses, so will Etienne’s role. Similar to D’Andre Swift or Cam Akers last season, he will receive more and more touches every week. A pass-catching role in this offense alone may pay off big time. The Jaguars moved on from some key pass-catchers this offseason in Keelan Cole, Chris Conley, and Tyler Eifert. That leaves over 200 targets available in this offense. All without considering Etienne will eat into a fair amount of the 60 targets James Robinson received in 2020.

They did add Marvin Jones who we figure will have over 100 targets and Dj Chark/Laviska Shenault will step into a more featured role. Even so, it is not unreasonable to think Travis Etienne could receive upwards of 90 targets in 2021, even after Urban Meyer said he will be lined out wide throughout the season as well. With Robinson averaging 7 yards per reception last season, Etienne will likely do more thus we can assume Etienne will have at least 750 yards receiving in 2021. In half-ppr that makes him a steal at his ADP, not even including the work he’ll be able to do in between the tackles.

What we can take away from all of this is that Etienne may have an exclusive third-down role early in the Jaguars offense (at least). If so, by the end of the season he will surely be receiving the bulk of the touches and putting up significant numbers. Maybe he doesn’t get a featured role early in this offense, that makes him a perfect buy-low candidate by the midseason mark. And come the fantasy football playoff time, Travis Etienne will be a league-winner.

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