Ronald Jones, understandably, went overshadowed in arguably the biggest offseason in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history.
The acquisitions of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski and so many others made it easy to forget the strides Jones took in his second year as an NFL running back. Jones showed flashes of those strides in a difficult Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Fantasy football owners should buy high on Jones for the rest of this season, even with the Buccaneers’ other offensive concerns.
Ronald Jones had an improved sophomore season
A second-round pick of the Buccaneers in the 2018 NFL draft, Ronald Jones II looked far from explosive in his rookie season.
Jones averaged an ugly 1.9 yards per carry in nine games — that was 44 rushing yards on 23 carries, with his longest play being a 9-yard rush — and caught seven passes for 33 yards.
Whether it was the arrival of Bruce Arians as head coach or just him feeling more comfortable in his second pro season, Jones took a major step forward last season. Jones picked up 724 yards and six touchdowns on a much healthier 4.2 yards per attempt.
Never a heavy pass-catcher in college, Jones also turned 31 passes into 309 yards.
Jones played well in the Buccaneers’ Week 1 loss
In a normal year, Ronald Jones’ second-year strides would have made him a major name to know on the Buccaneers.
Instead, Jones became one of the least-notable storylines by no fault of his own.
Tampa Bay moved on from Jameis Winston and signed Tom Brady to replace him at quarterback. Rob Gronkowski unretired to play tight end, Leonard Fournette signed with Tampa Bay shortly before the season began, and a Buccaneers team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2007 suddenly looked like Super Bowl favorites.
All of that was on-paper hype, though, and the Buccaneers mostly struggled in a 34-23 loss to Drew Brees and the rival Saints. Brady threw two interceptions in the loss.
Facing a stout Saints defense, Jones only picked up 66 yards on 15 carries; he also caught two passes for 16 yards. Still, Jones showed off his athleticism and proved his 2019 season wasn’t a fluke.
Buy high on Ronald Jones for the rest of this fantasy season
The good news for fantasy football owners is tat Ronald Jones II, barring an injury, is here to stay.
Bruce Arians is a coach who takes care of his players, even if he is hard on them. Jones showed enough in the Week 1 loss that fantasy players should buy high on him and keep him in the starting lineup, especially with a Week 2 matchup against the Carolina Panthers coming.
The bad news for fantasy owners? Jones is taken in over 89% of ESPN leagues through Sept. 19, 20020.
Those in leagues where Jones is a free agent need to scoop him up as soon as possible. Chris Godwin was in the concussion protocol and there is no guarantee he will be back to full strength any time soon.
Tampa could pivot more to the running game or shorter passes if that is the case. Jones is the man to have in that scenario.