Maurice Jones-Drew might be the the most underrated vet on the fantasy football draft board. After spending the past few years as a perennial top 10 pick, his ESPN average draft position has him as the 16th-ranked running back and an average ADP of 14.7, according to FantasyPros.com. This is landing MoJo among a group of very inconsistent running backs chosen between the second and fourth round depending on fantasy league format. This is strange considering that until last season’s holdout-marred, injury-destroyed campaign Jones-Drew had spent years as a no-brainer top 10 pick.
“No major surprises in how rushers are being drafted,” David Dorey wrote for The Huddle/USA TODAY Sports. “The top 10 mostly repeats this year with LeSean McCoy back and forgiven for getting injured. The “Steven Jackson is a Falcon” bandwagon plays out as a second-rounder. Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray and Darren McFadden have fallen from their high slots of 2012. Draft your backs early and often, and try to avoid risk as much as shooting for upside.”
I’m sure age, injury and wear go into the confluence of factors that are hurting MoJo’s ADP this year. He recorded touch totals of 333 and 386 in 2010 and 2011 respectively before playing in just six games in 2012. MoJo turns 29 in March, which in running back years is typically the tail-end of your prime.
However, that shouldn’t factor all too much in re-draft. I think the primary issue here is upside. There is nothing sexy about taking a Jacksonville Jaguars player with the first pick in a fantasy draft, because you figure that will cap the value from any sort of absurdly high-producing year. This is sensible, but that the same time even a significant decline from his 2011 totals could still qualify him as a decent No. 1 RB in fantasy.