Andrew Erickson breaks down Ronald Jones signing with the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Kansas City Chiefs signed running back Ronald Jones to a one-year deal to help bolster their running back room behind Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The former Buccaneer took a major step backward in 2021, being regulated to strict backup duties after losing out on the starting gig in Tampa Bay to Leonard Fournette. And even when loaded to take on the bell-cow role with Fournette sidelined during the end of the season, RoJo failed to fire.
I have earned 20 carries in Week 16 versus the Panthers but totaled just 65 yards. Jones is a one-dimensional grinder back, whose fantasy value will be super reliant on carry-volume, offensive line play, and overall offensive efficiency.
That in itself means he will have fantasy appeal as a late-round running back in redraft if he can carve out a role on early-down and/or at the goal-line in a high-powered Chiefs offense.
He is my RB40 in my early 2022 running back rankings.
Some may also feel that Jones’ addition is the nail in the coffin for CEH, but it’s not that black and white. Don’t get me wrong though – Jones is a significant threat to earn more carries than Edwards-Helaire after the former first-rounder posted worse rushing efficiency numbers than his rookie season.
The second-year back finished 59th out of 64 qualifying running backs in yards after contact per attempt (2.4). But full transparency – Jones was not much better ranking 51st in the same category (2.5).
It’s actually a positive sign for Edwards-Helaire that the team brought in Jones instead of re-signing Jerick McKinnon or Darrel Williams. Those ex-Chiefs backs were proven pass-catchers and limited CEH’s role as a receiver. I have finished third-to-last in target rate per route run at the running back position (13%).
I’d presume that Edwards-Helaire will fully take over the primary pass-catching role – which was the reason why the Chiefs drafted him in the 1st round in any way – while also working in tandem with Jones as a rusher on early downs.
Jones splitting work might also help keep CEH healthy after his 10 missed games the past two seasons.
Therefore I still choose Edwards-Helaire over Jones in fantasy, especially with their ADPs likely to converge in the coming months.
He is my RB31 in my early 2022 running back rankings.
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