Maurice-Jones Drew hurt his foot this past weekend against the Oakland Raiders and will miss at least one week, but backup Rashad Jennings will not be a valuable fantasy football player in his absence.
Jones-Drew only carried the ball twice before leaving the game. ESPN reports that he will miss the team’s upcoming matchup against the Green Bay Packers, and may have a Lisfranc injury, which could keep him on the sidelines for an "extended period of time."
Jennings became Jacksonville’s primary ball-carrier after the All-Pro running back left the contest. Although Jennings did manage to get into the end zone, he racked up just 44 yards on 21 carries.
In the past, Jennings has played the backup role extremely well and has been effective when spelling Jones-Drew. The fourth-year back averaged over five yards per carry in each of his first two seasons in the NFL, but missed all of last year due to injury.
He will now enter into a role that he has experienced rarely in his career, as Jones-Drew has only missed two games in the past three seasons. Sunday’s game was just the second time Jennings had received over 20 carries and the fourth time he had carried the ball 10 or more times.
Jones-Drew missed the final two games of the 2010 season, and Jennings started both contests. During these games, he had one productive performance and one poor outing.
He gained just 32 yards on 15 carries against the Washington Redskins’ 26th-ranked rush defense. The next week, he racked up 108 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries against the Houston Texans, who ranked 13th in yards allowed on the ground.
While these outings suggest that it will be a toss-up each week whether or not Jennings is productive, this is not the case.
The Jaguars offense is entirely one-dimensional and completely predictable. The team ranks 29th in passing attempts and last in passing yardage this season. Regardless of whether Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne is under center, Jacksonville’s aerial attack is non-existent.
Even if teams stack the box, the Jaguars will still hand the ball off and run right at defenses. In this situation, it takes an extremely special player to consistently produce.
Up until this point, Jones-Drew has been able to receive a high volume of carries, maintain an impressive yards-per-carry average and stay healthy. He is a complete back with the speed to get around defenses and the power to grind out yardage between the tackles.
Jennings is more of a straight-ahead power runner, and he will make the Jaguars offense even more predictable.
With Jones-Drew on the sidelines, the Jaguars offense will become worse than it already is. Ultimately, Jennings will be an inconsistent fantasy performer who will mostly frustrate owners who attempt to play him on a consistent basis.