Running back Ronald Jones signed with the Kansas City Chiefs this offseason, but his fantasy football stock is next to nothing as the preseason starts.
The Kansas City Chiefs thought that signing veteran running back Ronald Jones would be a difference maker for their running back room. The Cheifs have lacked a true top rushing option since Jamaal Charles left, as running backs struggle to keep lengthy starting tenures. Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the incumbent starter before the 2022 regular season, mostly because of the team’s investment in him. His injury history and lack of dominant performances rightfully have fans clamoring for a change. Jones was hopefully going to be that change.
However, Jones’ role in the Chiefs offense has noticeably dwindled since training camp began. Sure, he had some snaps with the first-team offense and showed more promise in pass protection, but other factors are pushing Jones down the depth chart. The Chiefs brought back veteran running back Jerick McKinnon this summer, and seventh-round selection Isaih Pacheco has turned heads at training camp.
Fans were split on Jones’ roster outlook during training camp, but his performance during the first preseason game did not help. The Chiefs traveled north to face the Chicago Bears, but Jones did not see action until the third-string players took the field. Pacheco and Edwards-Helaire both saw action with the first-team offense, making their role clear. Both had two rushes for six yards in the game, nothing amazing. But, they produced something when given an opportunity. Jones, on the other hand, failed to do so spectacularly.
Jones had the most rushing attempts for the Chiefs, but only totaled one rushing yard against Chicago. Preseason stats should be taken with a grain of salt, but that is not good. Also, the Chiefs backup offensive line played awfully, giving Jones little help up front. If they were doing a The Longest Yard impression, the backups did a great job.
Jones was a total nonfactor on the box score and offered nothing in pass protection. His improving that aspect of his game was huge for his role, but Jones showed he still has a long way to go.
On the virtual side of football, Jones’ fantasy football stock is plummeting along with his roster chances. The Chiefs obviously want Jones to have touches, but he did not produce in the opportunities given. Also, his lack of pass blocking or looks in the passing game greatly hinders his fantasy value.
In early fantasy drafts, Jones was taken as high as 73rd overall or as low as 259th overall, according to FantasyPros. His value relies upon his goal-line opportunities and ability to just grind out yards and hope one is big. But, Jones cannot get those chances if he is going to be a liability in other aspects of his game.
Jones’ time in Kansas City may be coming to a close sooner rather than later. Famously, the Chiefs had another such back in Carlos Hyde back in 2019. Hyde and Jones have several similarities down to playing style and spot on the Chiefs roster. Kansas City general manager Brett Veach traded Hyde down to the Houston Texans, netting offensive lineman Martinas Rankin in return. Hyde was traded because he had value for other teams and little for the Chiefs. Hyde went on to post career-high numbers in Houston and was the 23rd-best fantasy running back in 2019.
Jones is certainly looking like the odd man out in Kansas City right now and could see a Hyde-like resurgence on another team. Drafting or stashing Jones in 2022 is betting that the Chiefs not only trade or release him but that Jones latches on to a good situation.
A change of scenery will do wonders for Jones’ fantasy outlook in 2022. If that doesn’t happen, then Jones has to be untouchable for your fantasy roster.