At long last, I am finally back in my SLEEPER mode and ready to hit you guys with another fantasy prospect I think will gain a lot of value between now and Week One.
News has been hitting hard and often regarding Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew's injured knee this offseason. MJD injured the knee in the preseason of 2010. But because he failed to get it fixed and continued to play on it, the condition eventually got worse, resulting in his knee being bone-on-bone. Experts have come out and gave the opinion that MJD's career could start spiraling downward. It would be hard to think this considering what a talent he is. But never-the-less, it's something that has been weighing on owners' minds for the past several months.
Which brings me to my next Fantasy Football Sleeper; backup RB Rashad Jennings.
In the two years that Jennings has been in the league, he has averaged a very healthy 5.0+ ypc average and garnered a pair of 100-yard rushing games in 2010, while MJD continued to play and ignore the problems his knee was causing.
The coaching staff was already set to take some of the pressure off MJD and swing more work Jenning's way even before all this injury news popped up. But with the revelation, by MJD himself, that the team is "already kind of scared of my (surgically repaired) knee," this could and should pave the way for Jennings to have a bigger impact in fantasy leagues.
MJD has still been going fairly high so far this summer, with his ADP being around 1.9-1.10, which is a far cry from the top-3 ranking he has garnered several years prior. Right now, I have him ranked at No. 7 in my Running Back Rankings. But if I was an MJD owner, you bet your butt I will be looking to strike on Jennings as soon as possible. Unfortunately, Jennings might have to be taken earlier than he normally would simply because other owners will want to take the risk and hope MJD's condition worsens as the season goes on.
As for owners who miss out on MJD early, I strongly suggest taking Jennings once their core of starting running backs are in place. This will enable them to start Jennings as a possible flex option even if MJD does start every game. Or, if MJD is eventually knocked out, Jennings will provide owners with a nice piece of trade bait if they are in need of a player at another position.
Either way, expect Jennings' fantasy value to slowly start climbing as we get into August and, hopefully, deep into training camp.