Before this year, it was hard to question almost anything about Maurice Jones-Drew.
His character, durability, and production all spoke for themselves, placing him high on fantasy football draft boards. But a foot fracture ended Jones-Drew’s 2012 season earlier than his fantasy owners expected, and he recently found himself in legal trouble after an alleged bar fight.
For the upcoming season there are more question marks surrounding Jones-Drew than there have been in the past, but rest assured, he’ll be a reliable fantasy option in 2013.
Jones-Drew’s season-ending foot injury from last year is certainly something to keep an eye on, but as of now he says that the foot feels great and he’ll be ready to go this year. There’s no reason not to believe that Jones-Drew will be healthy for 2013. In seven seasons, he’s never had a year when he missed more than two games until 2012. It was a blip on the radar for Jones-Drew, and he’s proven to be very durable in the past.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have also upgraded their offensive line by drafting Luke Joeckel with the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Jones-Drew has already proven capable of being productive despite playing in an abysmal offense, but Joeckel could give the run game a big boost. If the offense improves even just a little bit, Jones-Drew could see an increase in red zone touches, which could boost his fantasy stock.
The bottom line: don’t be shocked when you see Jones-Drew slipping down in your fantasy draft. He won’t be the sexiest running back pick this year, but he’ll be very reliable and a great steal if he falls too low. Fully healthy and with an improved offensive line, it’s entirely reasonable to expect him to pick up where he left off back in 2011.