Regression Is Coming Mr. Jones
I’m going to start this post off by saying that I really like Aaron Jones. I didn’t love him a year ago. I saw him as a high end RB2. I was wrong. My reasoning was running backs with his draft profile (5th round draft pick) don’t have a long history of putting up multiple RB1 seasons in the NFL. In fact, last year I did a study and found that there were 67 running backs drafted after the 3rd round going back to 2014. Out of those 67, only Devonta Freeman and Lamar Miller were able to post at least two RB1 seasons. This past season Aaron Jones finished as the RB2 in PPR. He scored 315 ppr points. More than 1/3 of those points came by the way of 19 touchdowns scored. He tied Christian McCaffrey for the most touchdowns scored when combining rushing and receiving. He was able to achieve that with a mere 285 touches. It took McCaffrey 403 touches to score the same amount of TDs. Jones was scoring a touchdown on every 15 touches. WOW! Contrast that with Leonard Fournette who scored one touchdown for every 114 touches. In fact, over the past 11 seasons, excluding Jones, the average number of touches it takes to score at least 19 touchdowns is 347 touches. The lowest amount was Todd Gurley in 2018 with 315 touches. That season for Gurley is also the only time in the past 10 seasons that a running back has led the league in total touchdowns in back to back seasons.
All of this leads me to say......Jones is going to score less touchdowns. In all likelihood, A LOT LESS when you take into account how few touches he gets compared to other running backs who have lead the league in touchdowns. Look no further than Alvin Kamara. He scored 20 touchdowns in 2018 and only 6 in 2019. Excluding David Johnson’s 2017 season (only played 1 game) the average drop off for a RB touchdown leader is 7 less touchdowns the next season. I think this will absolutely happen with Jones. I still think we are looking at an RB1 in 2020, but not a high end RB1. I see him as more of a back end RB1. Do you agree?