T.J Yeldon: Fantasy Football Blue Chip Gold


Leading up to the NFL regular season and the corresponding fantasy football season, there will be a series of articles on Jacksonville Jaguar players that are fantasy value picks. Any player on the Jaguars roster has an immediate handicap and is devalued as a fantasy player because they are a Jaguar. The prejudices of the others will be an advantage to you as a fantasy football GM. The first Jacksonville Jaguar to be featured in this devalued series is running back T.J. Yeldon.

Drafted in the second round out of Alabama, T.J. Yeldon was the third running back taken off the board in the 2015 NFL Draft. Yeldon comes from the lauded Alabama program, under the pro-style offense of the great Nick Saban. Throughout his time at Alabama, Yeldon amassed 3322 rushing yards on 576 attempts, good for an average of 5.8 yards a carry and 37 rushing touchdowns. Yeldon set an Alabama record for rushing yards as a freshman, and that was while he was backing up Eddie Lacey. In Yeldon’s first two seasons at Bama he rushed for over a 1,000 yards, which was a school record.

It’s important to note that Yeldon had tremendous success while splitting time with other Alabama ball carriers. Keep that in perspective as you evaluate him based on his numbers.

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Moving on to the NFL, T.J. Yeldon found himself drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Some were surprised by the Jaguars taking a running back so high in the draft, but frankly it was a blessing that they did draft a running back. The deadly running back by committee the Jaguars fielded last season was good for 21st in the league for rushing yards, meaning Jacksonville needed some life in the backfield for the 2015 season.

Now Denard Robinson did string together three nice games, but that was it, just three games.

Yeldon comes with the predigree that coaches love in the NFL, a running back that has been in and excelled in a pro-style offense. Now the 576 rushing attempts have some saying that Yeldon has lost a lot of tread on the tires, but due to the short shelf life of running backs in today’s NFL, I do not think that will be in issue.

Currently, NFL.com has Yeldon at an average draft position of 94.84, which is good for between seventh and tenth rounds of the fantasy draft, depending on whether you are in a ten or twelve team league. This draft position could make Yeldon the steal of your draft, as getting a quality starting running back past the third round is a tall order. Yeldon will be the feature back come September, as everything that is coming out of the Jaguars camp has hit home that Yeldon be be “the” three down back. Yeldon offers a quality RB2 with high upside, making him a deadly addition as a flex starter or RB2 position, depending on how you drafted.

Now the big question is when to take T.J. Yeldon? I have done countless mock drafts on NFL.com and I have come to the conclusion that the sixth round is best. Depending on where you are in the draft, and whether it is a snake draft, the sixth or seventh round seems to be the sweet spot for Yeldon. Pay attention to the pre-season, as when Yeldon shows the world he is a beast, other fantasy GMs will take notice and start jumping on Yeldon earlier.

Next: Allen Robinson among top-25 to watch in fantasy football

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