Maurice Jones-Drew is officially back with the Jacksonville Jaguars following a 38-day holdout, making the NFL’s reigning rushing champ far less of a risky pick for those who still have fantasy football drafts on the horizon.
But does this spell the end of Rashad Jennings’ fantasy value? Not so fast. Jennings still holds a fair amount of worth this season even with Jones-Drew in the fold.
NFL Network and NFL.com reporter Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that Jennings will be the Jaguars’ Week 1 starter against the Minnesota Vikings. It’s a well-deserved promotion for the Liberty product, who has looked terrific in preseason action.
Jennings has rushed for 209 yards during the preseason — second best in the NFL — while averaging an impressive 4.4 yards per carry in the process. The fact that he has shouldered the entire workload up to this point, combined with Jones-Drew’s lack of team activities, makes Jennings the better Week 1 play.
As for the big picture, Jones-Drew can safely be drafted in the first or second round of fantasy drafts. Those owners that do spring for “Mojo,” however, will need to make sure to handcuff with Jennings in the later rounds. As we learned last year from injuries to the likes of Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles and Darren McFadden, it pays to spring for backups to top running backs.
During last month’s NFL Fantasy Draft Week in New York, I had the chance to chat with former Jaguars great Fred Taylor, who said that Jennings told him that he had been working out harder than ever this offseason because he anticipated Jones-Drew would hold out and was preparing to see an increased workload.
While MJD stills remains the better overall fantasy runner of the two over the course of the season, don’t sleep on Jennings. There’s plenty of value to go around between the backfield mates.
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