Maurice Jones-Drew: Backup Fantasy Options for Injured Jaguars RB

Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistOctober 23, 2012

Sep 30, 2012; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew (32) before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Everbank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE

After watching Jacksonville Jaguars starting running back and fantasy football juggernaut Maurice Jones-Drew go down early in the team’s Week 7 matchup against the Oakland Raiders with an ankle injury, the optimism of a speedy recovery was dashed when MJD returned to the sidelines in a walking boot, on crutches and in street clothes.

The Official Jacksonville Jaguars Twitter page is now reporting on Jones-Drew’s status for Week 8:

Jones-Drew will be out for Sunday's game at Green Bay. Mularkey doesn't have further timeline for him.

— jaguarsinsider (@jaguarsinsider) October 22, 2012

While the injury to 2011’s leading rusher is devastating to fantasy owners trying to maneuver bye weeks, there are backup options that can save your season. All of the following players are worth buying low or picking up off the waiver wire.


The Handcuff: Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars

While there is no question that Rashad Jennings' output is dependent on the health of MJD, the fact that the Jaguars have remained so tight-lipped on the subject of their veteran’s injury should prove this is a long-term fix.

With 21 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown after Jones-Drew left injured—not to mention his seven receptions for 58 yards—Jennings is a great start in any league, especially PPR.

The Jaguars have three-straight games against mediocre run defenses, so if there was ever a time to snag Jennings and ride him until MJD comes back, it’s right now.


The Waiver-Wire Steal: Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts

As much as Arizona Cardinals star running back LaRod Stephens-Howling will be the sexiest waiver-wire acquisition this week, his upcoming meeting with the San Francisco 49ers isn’t the short-term solution a fantasy owner is looking for.

That’s why true fantasy geniuses should snag Indianapolis Colts new No. 1 running back Vick Ballard.

With 20 rushes this week for 84 yards against the tough Cleveland Browns and no return for Donald Brown imminent, Ballard should have a great Week 8 against a mediocre Tennessee front seven.


The Buy-Low Trade: Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos

While this isn’t the typical buy-low prospect because it will be a bit pricier, Denver Broncos' unquestioned No. 1 running back Willis McGahee is coming off a bye week and isn’t fresh on any fantasy owners’ mind.

With MJD being such a huge loss to your fantasy team, owners must go big with a trade to ensure they don’t lose too many points.

If there is a player like Shonn Greene or Chris Johnson on your roster, trading them while their stock is high for a player with better consistency may be a serious option. Look to McGahee to be that answer.


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