If there’s one thing we know about fantasy football, it’s this: running backs reign supreme. They’re the impact players, the superstars that you’ll ride to victory. Unfortunately, if you draft poorly or have the injury bug bite, as it often does, you can find yourself in a world of hurt. Losses pile up and your inbox fills with taunts from your friends and coworkers.
Don’t want that to be you? Take a long look at Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew in your draft.
Jones-Drew is flying under the radar in most leagues this year because of a few factors. First, he does still play for the Jaguars. While the Jags have questions in the passing game behind Blaine Gabbert, he’ll get help in the form of second-year wideout Justin Blackmon, which will lead to fewer eight-man fronts. Second, Jones-Drew is returning from a Lisfranc injury, and missed essentially 11 games in 2012.
However, this is the same player who led the league in rushing in 2011 and has been an absolute workhorse year in and year out despite the otherwise anemic Jags offense. He looks healthy in preseason action thus far, and he could be a steal for your fantasy team. He’s also consistently good for somewhere between 30 and 45 receptions a season.
He’s being drafted at 28th on average in ESPN standard leagues so far, and has shown the skills to be a top-10 fantasy back. 1,200 yards and 8-10 touchdowns would be a realistic expectation if he stays healthy.
Jones-Drew is the type of guy you want on your team. He has all the tools to be a weekly starter, and if you have the luxury of two other top backs (I drafted him to go with Arian Foster and C.J. Spiller), you have insurance and trade bait as the season progresses. Success in fantasy is about taking calculated risks, and this is the perfect value play. Do it right, and you’ll be the one mocking all your buddies on the way to a championship.