The Jacksonville Jaguars are willing to try anything at this point to stay competitive, and that included inserting Jalen Parmele as the primary running back for Sunday's AFC South battle against the Houston Texans.
The third-year player out of the University of Toledo actually performed admirably in Reliant Stadium. If it's a sign of things to come, there's a chance that Parmele could emerge as a decently reliable No. 2 or flex fantasy option.
Parmele registered nine carries for 33 yards and three receptions for only three yards in the first half against one of the fiercest defenses in the NFL. That's not terrible for his first significant action as a featured back.
NFL.com fantasy editor Michael Fabiano was impressed with Parmele enough to give his take on the situation in the Jags' backfield.
Jalen Parmele appears to have unseated Rashad Jennings as the No. 1 RB in Jacksonville. #JACvsHOU— Michael Fabiano (@Michael_Fabiano) November 18, 2012
Typical starter Rashad Jennings has underperformed badly, as he averaged under three yards per carry in his previous four starts.
But before dismissing another Jags runner as a fantasy failure due to the horrible state of the 1-8 team, it's worth noting the production of Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew throughout his career in Jacksonville.
No matter how bad the team has been, MJD has produced year in and year out, regardless. Obviously Parmele is not as talented as his superstar teammate—not many are. But some credit has to be given to the Jaguars' line and the job the unit does blocking.
The explosion by backup QB Chad Henne was the bigger storyline, but Parmele has proven that he can catch the ball out of the backfield. That may help his fantasy value, but he first has to prove that he can gain yards after the catch.
If Henne were to be the quarterback moving forward, he seems to provide more hope than typical starter Blaine Gabbert, who has struggled significantly since being drafted in the first round in 2011.
Once Gabbert went down with an injury early on, Henne suddenly not only got the expected production from Cecil Shorts, but also got a lot out of top-five pick Justin Blackmon, who has been a massive disappointment so far.
With a more balanced offense and the effectiveness that the Jags showed off of play action against the Texans, Parmele may have an opportunity to be successful after all.
Parmele didn't get in with two cracks at it in the third quarter from the Texans' one yard-line, but that's a tough wall to get past after all. He still wound up with 80 yards on 24 carries in the team's 43-37 overtime loss.
Don't let that discourage you. Without many other running backs available in deeper leagues, Parmele should emerge as a hot commodity in PPR scenarios especially.
Jacksonville's remaining schedule features a slew of soft run defenses, with the Dolphins as the only one in the top-10 and reeling. Even though his numbers didn't jump off the stat sheet on Sunday, look for Parmele to emerge as a stellar option for the remainder of the year.
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