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Maurice Jones-Drew: How Holdout Will Impact Fantasy Value and Jaguars

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 3, 2012

The Jacksonville Jaguars figured to be facing an uphill battle this season even before Maurice Jones-Drew's lengthy holdout.

Now, it's hard to imagine them not being one of the worst teams in the league by season's end.

According to The Florida Times-Union, Jones-Drew's role is unclear for the Jaguars' season opener against the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. Head coach Mike Mularkey said Jones-Drew will likely serve as a "third-down back," with Rashad Jennings getting the start.

It must be said that the Jaguars didn't give into Jones-Drew's contract demands this offseason wholly because of Jennings, who has looked strong in the preseason. (He rushed 13 times for 57 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in Jacksonville's third preseason game.)

But it must also be said that the Jaguars need all the help they can get.

Being without Jones-Drew at full strength in the early going will undoubtedly make life tougher for second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert and the rest of the offense. (Gabbert went 11-of-21 for 117 yards in Jacksonville's 48-14 loss to the Ravens.)

That could result in the Jaguars not only losing games, but losing winnable games against such opponents as the Vikings and Indianapolis Colts early on. The Jaguars could realistically be 0-5 before their bye week, in Week 6.

The Jaguars averaged 15.2 points last season. Jacksonville quarterbacks averaged 5.4 yards per attempt, the lowest mark in the NFL, and completed just 51.2 percent of their passes (good for second-worst in the NFL).

Even if Gabbert shows up early on this season, the Jaguars will still likely falter. When you go 5-11 in 2011 with Jones-Drew at full strength, it doesn't bode well for you this season when he hasn't gotten a single rep in during the offseason.

And for you fantasy-football fanatics, you can't realistically expect Jones-Drew's numbers to be the same as last season. Starting him in Week 1 as if nothing happened is a bad idea. 

The Jaguars have grown to trust Jennings this offseason. It will show up in Jones-Drew's workload and the box scores in 2012.

 

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