Rookie running back Leonard Fournette expects to be ready for Jacksonville's season opener. So does receiver Marqise Lee. Fournette and Lee spoke Saturday for the first time since being sidelined by injuries a week ago and expressed confidence they would play in the Sept. 10 opener at Houston.
"I'm very confident," Fournette said. "There's nothing to worry about."
The fourth overall pick in the NFL draft was shut down last Sunday with a left foot injury that coach Doug Marrone called a "nagging issue." Fournette said he didn't know what caused the pain. "I've never had a foot or toe injury or anything like that," he said. "But they're doing a great job with rehabbing. I think it's going pretty good."
Fournette missed parts of his junior season at LSU because of a sprained left ankle, but he said his latest injury has nothing to do with that setback.
Lee fell to the ground during a passing drill last Sunday and immediately grabbed his right leg. Lee's lower leg was immobilized before he was taken off the field on a cart. He was diagnosed with a badly sprained ankle.
Lee spent several days in a walking boot and used a crutch, but ditched those in the last few days. He said the next step is to start running again.
"I'm pretty confident I'll be fine," Lee said. "I can't make a move without the trainers and the coaches. It's their decision, but I'm going to go ahead and jump in: I think I'll be fine by Game 1. Doing everything possible to be ready by Game 1. That's all I really can control. So I'm just going to do that."
Fournette is the odds-on favorite to lead all rookie running backs in fantasy points. The last eight running backs drafted in the top 10 that saw at least 200 carries (in their rookie season) averaged 308 touches for 1484 yards and 9.8 touchdowns, for a PPR average of 240 fantasy points. The Jaguars are going to run Fournette early and often. VP of Football Operations Tom Coughlin said that the team drafted Fournette “to put the ball in the end zone.”
Lee emerged in his third season as the #2 receiving threat in Jacksonville, turning 105 targets into 63 catches for 851 yards and three touchdowns en route to a #42 finish in PPR formats. He could progress into the top 30 if he continues to improve as a receiver, but the Jaguars have drafted (Leonard Fournette) with the intent to run the ball more, and that may negatively impact Lee’s workload.