Coming off a season in which he posted career-highs in just about every important category, running back Rashad Jennings was rewarded in free agency when he signed with the New York Giants.
In Jennings’ four years in the NFL, he has never been “the guy” in his team’s backfield. During his first three years in the league, Jennings served as the backup for Maurice Jones-Drew with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last season, he was brought in to “back up” the oft-injured Darren McFadden. McFadden missed most of the year to injuries as he so often does, which left Jennings and Marcel Reece as the candidates to take over the starting role in the Oakland Raiders‘ backfield.
Jennings excelled on his way to his best season yet as a pro, essentially putting together an audition for teams lining up for his services in free agency. He couldn’t have picked a much better landing spot than New York.
The Giants were in the market for a No.1 running back after their issues they had in 2013. Ever since signing with New York, GM Jerry Reese has been saying to the media that he envisions Jennings to be the bell cow type of back who can carry the heavy workload of being a three-down back. While Jennings has never taken on that kind of responsibility, it is certainly a plausible idea, considering how he played for most of last season.
Jennings will no longer be viewed as a waiver wire acquisition like he has been throughout his career. Now, there is no doubt that he will be taken in fantasy football drafts; the question is where should owners target him? He should receive the majority of the Giants’ backfield work and has shown an ability to catch the ball, however, he does not have an elite skill set. Therefore, he should only be considered a solid RB-2 fantasy option.
The true value of drafting Jennings lies in the fact that he is not an “attractive” option like some other RB-2s due to the lack of his exposure over his career. He could be a solid running back option who sits on the draft board for a little while, due to many fantasy owners being unsure of exactly what he can do with a full workload.
If fantasy owners are able to time the moment just right, then they should be able to work on stocking a strong receiving corps early and selecting Jennings in the mid-rounds.