NFL fantasy football: Maurice Jones-Drew still a risk

Fantasy football owners have been waiting for a report to surface about Maurice Jones-Drew and his holdout for weeks now. Finally, after 38 straight days without “Pocket Hercules,” we have the answer to the question — where will MJD be in Week 1?

He’ll be right where he’s always been, with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jones-Drew will report to the team on Sunday, according to NFL Network and NFL.com reporter Albert Breer, and is now a candidate to be active and on the gridiron when the Jaguars open their regular-season schedule against the Minnesota Vikings.

While this is clearly good news for his fantasy value, Jones-Drew is still at risk to experience a decline in statistics like Chris Johnson did after his lengthy holdout in 2011. Other running backs like Steven Jackson (2008) and Larry Johnson (2007) also endured disappointing seasons after their respective holdouts.

If you haven’t yet had your fantasy football draft, I’d target Jones-Drew in the second or third round as a borderline No. 1 or 2 back. But just like I’ve been preaching throughout the preseason, you’ll still need to ensure backfield depth or draft Rashad Jennings as a handcuff in the late rounds.

Remember, Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey has already named Jennings his starting runner, at least for Week 1. So even if we assume that Jones-Drew is active for the contest, he is clearly in danger of losing plenty of carries and touches to open the 2012 campaign.

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