Maurice Jones-Drew: Fantasy Owners Must Not Give Up on Jaguars Star RB Just Yet
Mularkey says Jones-Drew not likely to play against Titans— John Glennon (@glennonsports) November 21, 2012
Fantasy owners who spent a first or second-round pick on MJD have to be furious with the injury that will likely stop him from recording a single fantasy point for a seventh straight calendar week, but it is not time to give up on the Jacksonville running back.
We were told that he was "two weeks away" on November 9, but it looks like that should have said three weeks away. After missing a fourth straight game, MJD won't be back on the field until Week 13, when the Jags play the Buffalo Bills.
He has apparently shed his walking boot and crutches, which is a promising sign (via ESPN).
Jones-Drew (foot) is no longer sporting a walking boot and has shed his crutches, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union. "I'm doing everything I can on my side to get back and get ready to go," Jones-Drew noted Wednesday. (Nov. 21)
That leaves five games for him to make up for lost time. I fully expect him to be among the league's top fantasy backs during those five weeks.
He averaged 14.7 points per game in the first three weeks of the season, and over 11 points per game during the five weeks when he was healthy. He was averaging 4.8 yards per carry as well, despite playing stingy defenses like those of the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans.
However, the big reason why I still have faith in the Jaguars running back is that he has one of the easiest schedules he could have asked for in those five weeks.
MJD will probably return against the Buffalo Bills on December 2. The Bills' rushing defense is absolutely pathetic. It is allowing 153.3 yards per game and 24.1 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs (8.7 points higher than the league average).
This is a team that gave up almost 1,000 rushing yards in four games from Week 4 through Week 7. It gave up 31 points to Chris Johnson, which sparked his revitalization. I expect a similar experience for MJD.
He then plays the New York Jets, which ranks No. 30 against the run this season, and finishes the year with a matchup against the 28th-ranked run defense of the Tennessee Titans.
Jones-Drew's remaining opponents combine to average 124.8 rushing yards per game. Considering that he will give up very few carries to other running backs, MJD should be able to break the century-mark in at least four of his final five games.
It is troubling that he only scored two touchdowns in his first six games, but MJD is a tough back who will find the end zone against such weak run defenses.
He is currently ranked just No. 32 among fantasy running backs this season and has scored a mere 56 points. However, don't be foolish by trading or—even worse—dropping this superstar.
If you took the risk of drafting MJD during his preseason holdout, you knew that he came with risk, but the potential reward was high. You've gotten through most of the losses from the risk, and now it's almost time to sit back and reap the benefits of one of the NFL's premier backs.
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