There is no way other way to slice it, Rashad Jennings has been an absolute stud thus far in November — 73 carries for 413 yards two touchdowns to go along with 15 catches for 140 yards.
That’s 22 touches for 138.3 yards per game, production that has ranked him as an RB1 since taking over for the oft-injured Darren McFadden. I’m buying his talent, but with news coming out of Oakland that McFadden will be activated for the Oakland Raiders‘ Thanksgiving Day matchup with the Dallas Cowboys, I have Jennings ranked as a fringe RB2. Offensive coordinator Greg Olson stated that the Raiders will continue to ride “the hot hand” of Jennings, but head coach Dennis Allen stopped short of discussing how the workload would be split: “The guy that’s in there and being the most effective will be the guy that gets the opportunity. But I see them both getting a chance to carry the ball. We’ll see how it goes. We’ll play (it) out as the game plays along.”
This type of wording is frustrating for fantasy owners, as it is enough to give you concern, but not enough for you to make a decision you feel confident about. It seems that Jennings has the inside track, for this week at least, for getting the majority of the work, but it also sounds like the Raiders want to get McFadden involved. The Cowboys have given up more fantasy points to opposing running backs than any other defensive unit in the league, and have allowed multiple backs to produce viable stat lines on multiple occasions (Reggie Bush/Joique Bell, Pierre Thomas/Mark Ingram/Darren Sproles, and Ryan Mathews/Danny Woodhead all put up big time numbers). That being said, their opponents averaged 36.7 points in those three games, and were either involved in a close game or blowing out the Cowboys, and thus staying very committed to the run. I have my doubts about that being the case on Turkey Day, as the Raiders appear to be over-matched.
Denarius Moore will miss this game, giving the Cowboys no reason not to load the box and make the less than dynamic duo of Matt McGloin and Rod Streater beat them. The short work week could lead to an ultra aggressive Cowboys defense as a result of not having a ton of time to game plan for Oakland’s aerial tendencies (not to mention the Raiders rank second in the league in sacks allowed per pass attempt).
If I had to pick one Oakland back, it’d be Jennings, but I’d be surprised if he gets much more than 15 touches and totals more than 70 total yards.