Major injuries have thankfully been sparse during NFL training camps and the preseason, but unfortunately we got a game-changer on Tuesday with the news of Jacksonville Jaguars rookie running back Travis Etienne‘s season ending due to a foot injury.
Etienne suffered a Lisfranc injury Monday in the preseason loss to the New Orleans Saints, a traditionally tricky ailment to return quickly from.
The first-round pick (25th overall) out of Clemson played only 16 offensive snaps in two preseason games. He suffered the injury after playing only three snaps in Monday’s game.
It was unclear before the injury what the backfield split would look like between Etienne and second-year back James Robinson. In the aftermath of the news, however, Robinson’s fantasy value immediately spikes. The Yahoo Fantasy analysts all have him in the RB2 range, meaning he should now be going in the third or fourth round of drafts instead of his current ADP of 77.5.
Robinson was one of the best waiver-wire pickups of the 2020 fantasy season. The undrafted rookie burst onto the scene to take control of the Jaguars backfield. He finished as fantasy’s RB7 in .5 PPR leagues behind 1,070 rushing yards and seven touchdowns to go with 49 receptions for 344 yards and three more scores.
Robinson’s fantasy stock had taken a hit when the Jaguars’ new regime opted to use a first-round pick in the NFL draft on a running back, but it’s expected to rise exponentially, in the wake of this unfortunate Etienne news. While Carlos Hyde will be involved in the running game, look for Robinson to lead the backfield in touches and be the primary pass-catching back.
There will also likely be a ripple effect for the passing game, where Etienne was expected to play a role. DJ Chark, Marvin Jones and Laviska Shenault Jr. all get a slight bump in fantasy value as a result of more targets being up for grabs.