2023 Dynasty Football Dilemmas: Travis Etienne vs Tank Bigsby

Who Is The Better RB Value in Jacksonville?

by Evan Ritter
2023 Fantasy Football Touchdown Regression Candidates

Navigating the Dynasty waters isn't always easy. We have to pay close attention to each team's landscape and do our best to identify how situations will play out. We're constantly trying to discover value and avoid getting burned by overpaying for specific players. We need to know the depth charts from top to bottom and consistently make tough roster decisions. A lot goes into becoming a successful Dynasty manager, and I've barely scratched the surface. But one tool you should always keep sharp is navigating a player's market value.

Speaking of market value, let's dive into the Jacksonville Jaguars running back situation. I'll take a hard look at Travis Etienne's current ADP. Is he overpriced? Is Tank Bigsby a top value? How will this running back situation ultimately shake out? I'll answer these questions and much more as we dive into our new segment here at Fantasy Six Pack...Dynasty Dilemmas.

Looking for more running back content? Check out Daniel's top-five RB handcuffs!

2023 Dynasty Football Dilemmas: Travis Etienne vs Tank Bigsby

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After being highly touted coming out of Clemson, Travis Etienne unfortunately missed his rookie season with a Lisfranc injury. However, he managed to put together an excellent "sophomore" campaign. He ran for 5.1 yards a clip while racking up 1,125 rushing yards on 220 attempts and five touchdowns. Etienne managed an RB17 overall finish in PPR/half-PPR formats with an average of 11.0 fantasy points per game. The speedster's pass-catching ability was also on full display, ending with 35 receptions on 45 targets for 316 receiving yards. All while hauling in an impressive 78% of passes thrown his way, with 45.7% resulting in a first down.

Those are some impressive numbers. Especially given the fact that he was the primary backup to James Robinson for the first six weeks of the season. However, the second year back, took off once the constraints were lifted. Etienne was a top-ten back in half-PPR formats the rest of the way (Weeks 7-17) and the RB8 in full-PPR. Doug Pederson utilized Etienne throughout all parts of the football field. On the season, he finished fifth in yards per reception, 10th in yards per touch, ninth in red-zone touches, and tied for fifth in carries inside the 10-yard line.

Despite seeing ample touches down in the red zone, though, Etienne only managed to touch paydirt five times. His struggles at and around the goal line were likely a driving factor in the Jaguars drafting rookie Tank Bigsby in the third round of this year's draft.

The Auburn product offers the Jaguars' offense a different skillset when on the field compared to Etienne. At 6'0 and 213 pounds, he's a power runner who can get it done in short-yardage situations and pound it between the tackles down near the goal line. Bigsby is elusive for a larger back and has excellent contact balance. While he isn't super athletic, his ability to gain yards after contact is one of his best attributes. Among the 2023 RB class, Tank finished 6th in yards after contact per attempt, 7th in breakaway run rate, and 11th in forced missed tackles.

The Dilemma

It's well-documented that Doug Pederson wants to build a deep running back room. In large part to take some of the load off Travis Etienne and keep him fresh. So, who's the better Dynasty value for 2023 and beyond? While most managers and analysts feel Travis Etienne is hands down the running back to go after in this offense. I don't feel it's as cut and dry. I actually have been shying away from Etienne at his current cost.

The former Clemson Tiger is currently the 7th running back off the board in Dynasty formats, according to FantasyPros expert consensus rankings. That's a little rich for my blood. At that price, Etienne will almost undoubtedly have to hit his ceiling. However, that's going to be a difficult task to achieve. The Jaguars offense is littered with talent, including new additions like Tank Bigsby and Calvin Ridley. That's a ton of mouths to feed. Therefore, I would instead take backs I can get at a discount, such as Rhamondre Stevenson, Tony Pollard, Najee Harris, or Javonte Williams.

For now, Etienne is ahead of Bigsby on the depth chart, and while I don't see that changing, I'm proceeding with caution heading into 2023. He certainly has RB1 potential, especially if Pederson finally decides to utilize his passing ability more than last season. That's not a given, and Bigsby has the potential to significantly cut into Etienne's workload, especially near the goal line. That will make it extremely challenging for Etienne to produce a solid enough return on investment at his current cost of RB7. I don't mind Etienne as my RB2, but I certainly am not comfortable heading into the season with him as the anchor RB on my roster. And if I can, I'll try to avoid him altogether.

Bottom Line

Tank Bigsby has amassed 122 yards on 22 attempts (5.5 yards per attempt) this preseason and has seemingly locked down the RB2 job in the Jag's offense. Fantasy managers should prepare for the possibility of a frustrating timeshare between the two running backs in Jacksonville. While Bigsby likely remains the 1B for 2023, he will undoubtedly have a significant role in the offense and be a constant thorn in Etienne manager's sides.

With Etienne's well-documented struggles in the red zone last season, Pederson could turn to the more powerful and better between-the-tackles option in Tank to be the team's primary goal-line back. That will certainly place the rookie in a prime position to vulture touchdowns and valuable fantasy points from Etienne.

It will be interesting to see how this backfield shakes out long term. But until the dust settles, I won't take Etienne at his current ADP. I would instead grab other running backs at their current cost, including Tank Bigsby (Dynasty RB39, according to FantasyPros ECR), who I feel is currently an excellent value.

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