Jun 18, 2012
Maurice Jones-Drew has been a fantasy football favorite over the past few years, as his excellent play on the field and his affinity for fantasy football has stuck a cord with most owners across the country. MJD loves to play fantasy football himself, and he understands the importance of the game to the overall success of the NFL.
In two seasons as a starter with the Jacksonville Jaguars, Jones-Drew has delivered consecutive 1300 yard seasons, including a career best 1391 yards and 16 total touchdowns in 2009. His 2010 season was cut short to only 14 due to a nagging knee injury, forcing Jones-Drew to undergo surgery over the off-season.
Despite his excellent production as a starting running back for the Jags, fantasy owners in general have been low on MJD this season. As of the date of publication, Jones-Drew has an average draft position of 13th overall on www.fantasyfootballcalculator.com, his lowest ADP as a starter. It is apparent from this data that owners do not believe that MJD has fully recovered from his knee injury, and his alleged bone-on-bone knee issues will limit his production this season.
Knee injuries for running backs are certainly a concern; however I believe that owners passing on MJD in the latter stages of the first round are making a mistake. MJD is only 26 years old and has relatively low mileage on his legs due to his time-share with Fred Taylor over the first three seasons of his career. He has average 228 yards per season over the last five years, and should be able to have two or three more productive seasons in the future.
Another concern is the emergence of Rashad Jennings as a possible vulture in the Jacksonville backfield. Jennings played well last season, but I view him as a complimentary back to MJD, and not a threat to his production. Jennings could actually help MJD this season by giving him some rest while ensuring that MJD will be fresh for red zone carries. It should be noted that MJD scored 14 or more touchdowns in two of his seasons while splitting time with Taylor.
While conducting one of my many mock drafts this summer, I came across a scenario that I felt was the best possible simulation of the first two rounds. At the 9th position in the draft, I was able to draft Rashard Mendenhall in the first round followed by MJD on the backside of the snake draft. Both players are excellent bookend backs in a twelve team league, giving my team a stellar foundation to build upon. Although I was fortunate to get Jones 16th overall, I believe he is will produce fantasy numbers worthy of the 6th overall pick.