John Clayton of ESPN updated the running back situation for the team via Twitter.
Looks like Felix Jones is healthy enough to fill in for the injured Demarco Murray for the Cowboys.— John Clayton (@ClaytonESPN) October 25, 2012
This is good news for Jones owners. As a backup, even on your bench, the veteran has minimal value. As a starter, he at least warrants consideration for a start.
Unfortunately, that should not be this week.
As he has throughout most of his career, Felix Jones is once again dealing with health issues. According to Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com, the running back practiced this week, although he was limited with a knee brace.
Felix Jones wearing a left knee brace. Working on cords he most likely will practice.— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) October 25, 2012
It's nothing new for Jones, who has only completed one full season in one of his five years in the NFL.
His current knee injury limited the Cowboys back to only 44 rushing yards on 15 carries against the poor run defense of the Carolina Panthers. While he was able to add 30 yards through the air, it did not help him save his below-average day.
In Week 8, Dallas hosts the New York Giants in a rematch of the opening game of the season. This should be a good opportunity for Jones to have a big week, considering the Giants are allowing opponents to rush for five yards per carry this season.
However, the game plan will likely prevent too much success from a fantasy perspective.
Jones has never been a touchdown scorer in his career. In five years, he has only reached the end zone on 11 occasions, and most of those were long plays. His smaller stature prevents him from being a short-yardage option.
Instead, Phillip Tanner could be the one that gets those opportunities.
To make matters worse, the Cowboys consistently throw the ball when close to the goal line. The team is tied for last in the NFL with only two rushing touchdowns this season. Instead, head coach Jason Garrett would rather call a fade or slant to a receiver or tight end for the six points.
Considering the Giants are eighth in the league with only three rushing touchdowns allowed this year, this strategy is unlikely to change.
Touchdowns are what separates an average fantasy week from a great one. Even if Jones is able to break a couple of big runs, he probably will not be able to reach the end zone. This is not what you should look for in a fantasy running back.
Jones will likely rush for 60 to 70 yards, while adding 10-20 receiving yards and no touchdowns. There are many in deeper leagues that will accept this type of production from a flex position.
However, fantasy owners with better options should keep the running back on the bench in favor of those with more upside.
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