Rashad Jennings: Fantasy Owners Must Claim Jaguars RB

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 22, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 07:   Rashad Jennings #23 of the Jacksonville Jaguars rushes during a game against the Chicago Bears at EverBank Field on October 7, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Go ahead and put in your waiver-wire claim for Rashad Jennings, because chances are that half of your league already has.

Jacksonville lost starting running back Maurice Jones-Drew on the second play of the game with a left foot injury and while no diagnosis was immediately available, CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reports that things don't look good:

MJD walking to Jags sidelines on crutches and with his foot in a walking boot device.

— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 21, 2012

In his absence, Jennings carried the ball 19 times for 44 yards and a touchdown while also catching seven passes for 58 yards against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday. He clearly became the focal point of the offense, and there's no reason to believe that won't be the case moving forward.

Fantasy owners who have traveled this road before may be skeptical at first. Just this year, Jennings was a hot pick in drafts leading up to the regular season with Jones-Drew holding out. Unfortunately for owners who drafted him, they were burnt on opening night when MJD picked up 19 carries to Jennings' eight.

But this isn't a holdout situation; it's an injury—and foot injuries in particular tend to stay with a running back, flaring up unexpectedly and at the most inopportune times.

If MJD misses extensive action, adding Jennings could pay huge dividends in fantasy. He has always delivered when given the opportunity, averaging 5.2 yards per carry in 2009 and 5.5 in 2010. 

Not only that, but he also catches the ball very well out of the backfield and has never fumbled in the NFL.

The Jags were very high on Jennings going into 2011 before he ended up missing the entire season on injured reserve. That's not a concern anymore, though. He's proven he's as strong as ever in 2012, as evidenced by his ability to shoulder the load against Oakland. 

Jennings figures to get the bulk of the carries next week against a Green Bay defense that allows 110 rushing yards per game. After that, he gets the Lions and Colts in Weeks 9 and 10, respectively.

His situation after that largely depends on what the diagnosis is for Jones-Drew, but Jennings will remain a viable flex/RB2 option for the rest of the season.