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First Down: MJD open to trade, Jennings commands attention

Brad Evans
Roto Arcade

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In remembrance of MJD's fantasy value...a moment of silence. (USP)

Over the past several weeks the fantasy community has waited on pins and needles for the return of its rush king.

Sadly, it doesn't appear he will emerge from his self-imposed exile anytime soon.

In a stunning turn of events, Maurice Jones-Drew, who's prolonged holdout was thought to be ending soon, openly expressed his displeasure regarding comments Shad Kahn made recently about his All-Pro's monetary demands. In a bold move, plucked from the pages of the Prima Dona Handbook, the rusher voiced his desire to get out of Jacksonville...immediately. From the AP:

Jones-Drew's agent, Adisa Bakari, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the Jacksonville Jaguars running back is upset with owner Shad Khan's recent public comments about his client's 27-day holdout.

''Maurice wants to play for an organization that wants him and for an owner who respects him and values what he brings to a team - on the field, in the locker room and in the community,'' Bakari said.

[…]

''Train's leaving the station. Run, get on it,'' Khan said.

Bakari made it clear that those statements don't sit well with Jacksonville's biggest star.

''Obviously, he's not happy that what started as a very cordial and private conversation is now public and contentious,'' Bakari said.

In Fantasyland, the ripple effects of his comments are far-reaching.

[Related: Jaguars, agent trade barbs in Maurice Jones-Drew holdout]

Over the next two weeks, the heart of the draft season, owners will be faced with several excruciating decisions. Running back, a position muddied by uneven rehabs, knee procedures and an untimely broken clavicle, is a quagmire of question marks. Because there is no guarantee Kahn will find a trade suitor in short order or submit Jones-Drew's original request, the RB's value is in limbo, a state that will surely drive his price down. Even if he slips into Round 3 of 12-team draft he remains an enhanced risk. Outside of the holdout, his high odometer reading and presumed reduced role in an offense that desperately wants jump-start Blaine Gabbert are equally detrimental.

So is Rashad Jennings.

The third-year rusher, fawned over by yours truly since he was stolen in Round 7 of the 2009 draft, possesses star qualities. Standing at 6-foot-1, 228-pounds, he's the antithesis of MJD in size-terms. However, his powerful interior running style, plus burst and versatility are reminiscent of his pint-sized teammate. Over 123 career attempts he's averaged a stout 5.4 yards per carry. And back in 2010 — he missed the entire 2011 season with a nonsurgical knee injury — he was the third-best RB in yards after contact per attempt. In brief, he's a break-tackle machine, a human version of Christian Okoye from Tecmo Super Bowl.

If pressed into a featured role, Jennings has strong odds of finishing inside the RB top-15. Roughly 1,300 total yards and 8-10 touchdowns are most certainly attainable. Expect his 101.2 ADP (RB42) to rise sharply over the coming days, possibly into Round 4 or 5 of 12-team drafts if MJD's wish is granted, a deserving spot.

As for MoJo, given the rash of backfield uncertainties throughout the league, he would surely draw plenty of interest on the open market. Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Arizona, New York (Jets), Detroit and, most intriguingly, New England, could make a play. But keep in mind it's entirely possible he'll do his best Emmitt Smith impersonation by continuing to hold out, jeopardizing his availability for regular season games.

Until the Jag emerges from his cave, don't throw him a steak.

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