Fantasy Football take on Jaguars RB Travis Etienne gets scrutinized on social media

Dec 22, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr.
Dec 22, 2022; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Travis Etienne Jr. / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Running back Travis Etienne became an integral part of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2022, racking up more than 1,100 rushing yards and five touchdowns. However, that wasn't enough for Dwain McFarland of Fantasy Life, who thinks Etienne is coming off an underwhelming season.

Fantasy Life shared a post on social media about Jaguars rookie running back Tank Bigsby "having a great opportunity" in 2023 because Etienne underperformed last year. McFarland probably talking about the former Clemson Tiger from a Fantasy Football perspective but even then, it's hard to see how he "underperformed".

If you look at Etienne from a traditional metrics standpoint, he was one of the top 15 running backs in the league last year. His 1,225 rushing yards ranked ninth while his 1,441 yards from scrimmage were good for 14th. You could make the case that his 35 catches for 316 yards were nothing to write home about. But as John Shipley of Sports Illustrated rightfully pointed out, Etienne wasn't a good receiver out of the backfield coming out of college, so expecting him to get considerably better in the NFL might have been a tall order.

On the other hand, if you look at Etienne's production in 2022 from a Fantasy standpoint, he was still dependable, landing at No. 16 on Fantasy Pros' board. In fact, he's set to be RB12 next season, according to their expert consensus.

In McFarland's defense, no analyst has a perfect track record and everyone has come up with their fair share of bad takes. Having said that, the data simply don't back up the notion that Etienne didn't live up to expectations in 2022. Former Jaguars tight end Clay Harbor caught wind of the post and also shared his thoughts on the matter.

Jaguars RB Travis Etienne is poised to pick up where he left off last year

Calling Travis Etienne a top-10 running back would be a reach but you will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't recognize his value on the Jags' offense. For example, Trevor Sikkema of Pro Football Focus ranked him 15th among the top 32 running backs in the league ahead of the 2023 season. Most analysts would most likely place Etienne in that range. After all, the fact that he was able to cross the 1,000-yard mark after missing his rookie campaign with a Lisfranc injury showed what he's capable of.

Even though drafting a running back in the first round might not be the best decision when you take into account that teams can find greater value at other positions, choosing Etienne 25th overall in 2021 hasn't turned out to be a bad decision.

Sure, there are a handful of players the Jags could have taken instead of Etienne but you could also argue that he's done enough to justify the pick and the decision to draft him would probably look even better if he hadn't missed the 2021 season.

Etienne is working on his craft ahead of the regular season, and although there's a chance he won't crack the top 10 in 2023 or anytime soon, the Jacksonville Jaguars won't mind as long as he keeps making plays and helps them win games.

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