For the remainder of the summer, our analysts here at F6P will be sharing with you a series of 2022 Dynasty Football Profiles, in which we provide outlooks on much-ballyhooed players and their value in your dynasty leagues. First up is former Clemson standout and current Jacksonville Jaguar: Travis Etienne, Jr.
Usually, when a promising rookie suffers a brutal preseason injury, we break out the tissues and weep for what could have been. For all of us 2021 Etienne investors, myself included, this certainly was the case last August, when he fractured his Lisfranc during a preseason game.
The nature of the injury itself was particularly concerning to us, given that it was a significant fracture and required surgery. Etienne is, after all, an all-purpose back, and Lisfranc injuries have been brutal to the career longevity of many previously-elite players; more on that later.
And yet, the consensus is there's reason for optimism for Etienne in 2022. His current FantasyPros ADP in dynasty drafts is RB14 (RB21 in redraft leagues). Let's assess.
2022 Dynasty Football Profile: Travis Etienne, Jr.
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The Lost Year: A Blessing in Disguise?
After commanding a 12.2% target share (good for the 88th percentile) across his college career at Clemson, as well as a 6.6 average YPC (87th percentile), Etienne was expected to make an immediate impact on the field in 2021. Fantasy managers were seeing stars knowing he'd pick up right where he left off with his good buddy Trevor Lawrence.
The list of reasons his dynasty value took a potential hit in the immediate aftermath of the injury is pretty simple: he lost a year. That means he'd be a year older the first time he saw any legit game action. We know elite running back seasons correlate with extreme youth, these days. To boot, he would have been a year removed from an offense that worked to establish itself in 2021 under Urban Meyer. This might have affected his standing on the depth chart for 2022.
And yet! The Urban Meyer experiment in Jacksonville was a catastrophic, spectacular failure. We've all heard the horror stories about the way he mistreated and borderline-abused his players. It was evident each Sunday that this resulted in a completely dysfunctional offense. Had Etienne been healthy, it's likely Meyer would have improperly utilized him. Even worse: he could have potentially stunted Etienne's professional development with his piss-poor coaching.
Aside from the wasted redraft capital, it's entirely possible, situationally, that Etienne's injury was a blessing in disguise for his 2022-and-beyond fantasy value. He's healthy now, and is insisting the injury is completely behind him. The Jaguars will run a cleaner offense this year under Doug Pederson. Trevor Lawrence has a year of experience under his belt. Etc. We speculate on.
All of this appears baked into his previously-mentioned dynasty ADP of RB14. So, do we like that price?
A Brief Note on Lisfranc Fractures
Seeing the history of serious lisfranc injuries and post injury production pic.twitter.com/oZ3IJKwCKb
— 𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐮𝐞𝐥 𝐂𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐨𝐧 (@ProFootballPSI) August 25, 2021
The briefest note on Lisfranc fractures, to be blunt, is that they've completely railroaded promising careers. If you read the full Twitter thread from Miguel Chapeton above, you'll see how they turned players like Cedric Benson, Ameer Abdullah, Darren McFadden, and Maurice Jones-Drew into ash.
It's imperative we keep this in mind when evaluating Etienne's dynasty value. And if you compound that reality with the fact that we've never actually seen Etienne log a touch in regulation football, it should give us legitimate pause. It almost feels like his current dynasty price is based on pent-up anticipation—not at all post-hype, but hype doubled down.
Good Tidings from Duvall County
Having noted that, reports about Etienne from Jags training camp couldn't be more sterling. John Shipley from Jaguars Report is on record saying he is "arguably the star of Jaguars training camp," "has seemingly picked up at least one explosive gain in each practice," and "looks like the most dangerous potential weapon the Jaguars have on offense."
And so, yet again, we speculate on. His ADP seems to suggest that we're all-in on Shipley's camp confidence in Etienne's eventual on-field production. And though we should always be a bit skeptical about camp-speak, the note on his explosiveness is encouraging. Remember that he scored a 104.9 speed score in his workout metrics (80th percentile).
We know Etienne is going to be heavily utilized in this new-look Jaguars offense. He's absolutely going to be catching balls out of the backfield, and has been lining up at wide receiver as well. I keep banging the drum: fantasy football success, anymore, is all about receptions and touchdowns. We are certain Etienne will get plenty of the former. We're hopeful, too, that the Jaguars will touch paydirt more this year. If they do, Etienne will certainly be a key part of that endeavor.
At his current price of RB14, you'll have to yank him from the draft board in dynasty leagues somewhere in the third round. That's right in the same range as guys like Cam Akers, J.K. Dobbins, Drake London, and Ken Walker III. I'm willing to take the leap on him over all four of those players, though I think Akers might provide more immediate value.
This is an unproven, lightning-in-a-bottle, elite-volume-potential type of player. Just don't forget about the league's history with Lisfranc fractures when you're assessing whether or not you want to take the risk. If you have the opportunity, I vote you do.
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