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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fantasy football: Maurice Jones-Drew injury analysis

In his first six NFL seasons, Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed a total of three games.

From 2009 to '11, he averaged 1,440 yards rushing, 11 total touchdowns and 59 receptions for 355 yards per season.

I had all of those numbers in mind when I made a blockbuster trade in The News-Herald fantasy football league prior to Week 5.

Tired of Titans running back Chris Johnson, I dealt CJNoLonger2K and Steelers receiver Mike Wallace for Jones-Drew and Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall.

That weekend, I laughed -- and taunted my opponent on Twitter -- as Mendenhall looked healthy in his first game back from an ACL injury and Johnson turned in another laugher of a performance (15 carries for 24 yards in a loss to the Vikings).

The last two weeks, those laughs have turned to curses, and Week 7 might have marked the death of my season in that league.

Mendenhall didn't play last week because of an Achilles injury, and Sunday, Jones-Drew suffered a left foot injury that will keep him out this week against the Packers -- and possibly much longer.

You probably know Johnson rushed for 195 yards and two touchdowns the same day -- adding to my torture -- but what's far more important from a fantasy perspective is the injury to Jones-Drew.

The Jaguars haven't ruled out the possibility Jones-Drew suffered a Lisfranc injury, which could be season-ending.

Regardless, expect to see a mad dash to the waiver wire this morning for Rashad Jennings, who struggled on the ground in place of Jones-Drew on Sunday (21 carries for 44 yards), but did score a touchdown and catch seven passes for 58 yards.

Also expect to read and hear many owners' vows to avoid the next running back who has a prolonged training camp holdout. In 2011, it was CJNoLonger2K. This past summer, it was Jones-Drew.

Jennings, meanwhile, could be a decent No. 2 running back in point-per-reception leagues until, or if, Jones-Drew returns.

His numbers this year aren't impressive (2.6 yards per carry on 34 attempts), but he did average 5.5 yards per carry in the previous season in which he played (2010). That year, with Jones-Drew sitting out the Jaguars' season finale, Jennings rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and caught four passes for 34 yards. Prior to Sunday, it was the only time in his career in which he received more than 15 carries.

The Jaguars' schedule the next two weeks isn't very favorable -- this Sunday at Green Bay (No. 17 vs. the run, but how much will Jacksonville be running if it is trailing by three touchdowns?) and Week 9 against Detroit (No. 10 vs. the run, one rushing TD allowed).

After that, Jennings could have a run of decent starts. Beginning in Week 10, the Jags face four teams in a five-week span with a ranking of 25th or worse against the run -- Week 10 vs. the Colts (No. 26), Week 12 vs. Titans (No. 25), Week 13 vs. Bills (No. 32) and Week 14 vs. the Jets (No. 30).

He's no Jones-Drew. But you already knew that.

Jennings could be, however, a much-needed source of total yards and receptions for owners who have underperforming or injured stars at running back.

Have I mentioned that in the N-H league, Jennings was drafted -- and kept all season, even though he had five carries in his last four games prior to Sunday? And the owner with whom I made the trade now has Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and a possibly revitalized CJMaybe1.2K?

And I'm supposed to know what I'm doing.

Fortunately for many others, Jennings is available in more than 86 percent of the leagues on He should be the top target on the waiver wire today.

Even better: You won't have to make a terrible trade to acquire him.

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