It seems every Summer, there is one player that fantasy football owners constantly agonize over. Just a few years ago it was Vincent Jackson when he refused to play under the Restricted Free Agent tag while he was with the Chargers. This year we have had two such guys in Steelers WR Mike Wallace and Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew. The good news for Wallace owners is it appears he is set to sign his RFA tender and report to the team by this weekend. Unfortunately for MJD owners, their luck isn't so good.
Jones-Drew wants a new contract and more money. Who doesn't these days? After seeing guys like Bears RB Matt Forte and Ravens RB Ray Rice get theirs, Jones-drew not only feels he is being slighted financially. But when your owner refuses to budge on your current deal, it also makes the player feel unwanted. The NFL is a business as everyone knows, but some players still have feelings. Although I know it's hard to feel bad for someone when they are set to make an average of $4.7 million over the next two years.
It may have appeared MJD had dug his heels so deep in his current holdout, that the chances of him starting Week One seemed minimal. He was even open to a trade. I can assure everyone that this request won't happen. But it is starting to sound like he is softening his stance a bit. In an interview with NFL.com, Jones-Drew said "things are going to work out." As a fantasy player himself, he even went out of his way to tell owners to draft him No. 1. No one will, but it's an interesting statement from a guy who has delved into the world of fantasy football the past couple years. It remain to be seen whether this is a veiled attempt at reaching out to the team.
I have been inundated with questions on what to do with Jones-Drew if he is still sitting there in the fantasy draft. For me it's simple. Draft MJD if he slides down so far that his value is off the chain. And if you do, be prepared to lock up Rashad Jennings much earlier than you normally would. Looking at several ADP lists, I've seen Jennings go as low as the 14th round, but as high as the 8th. The 8th round is a bit of a reach, but it's a must if you want to lock up the Jaguars' backfield. In the same interview, MJD even went out of his way to tell owners to lock Jennings up as his handcuff. Those are pretty strong words.
We have exactly two weeks until the 2012 NFL regular season officially kicks off. Will we see Jones-Drew suited up? It's anyone's guess. But if you have Jennings, then you are good to go until MJD finally decides to make his on-field presence felt.