Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan recently stated that he is not concerned about Jags running back Maurice Jones-Drew's current holdout. On the other hand, fantasy owners likely disagree. Jones-Drew owners in keeper or dynasty leagues were hoping for a season similar to 2011, when the Jacksonville star led the league with 1,606 rushing yards, while fantasy players in non-keeper leagues were eying Jones-Drew as a possible top-five draft pick. However, one of the reasons Khan is not worried is clearly the play of Rashad Jennings.
In Jones-Drew's absence this preseason, Jennings has literally taken the ball and run with it. In a Jacksonville offense that looks rejuvenated following the additions of players like Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson, Jennings has helped lead the team to a 2-0 preseason record. Although most agree that preseason outcomes do not matter, it certainly cannot hurt the confidence of a team looking to turn things around after a 5-11 finish in 2011.
As for Jennings, he leads the Jaguars with 118 rushing yards in 23 carries, with a 5.1 yard-per-carry average that is close enough to his regular season career average of 5.4. As a fantasy football player, I am very interested in Jennings, at least until Jones-Drew decides he wants to be a part of the team again.
Like Jones-Drew, Jennings is 27 years old, but his career has been much quieter so far. He rushed for 661 yards in 123 attempts and caught 42 passes during his first two years, before missing all of last season. Now, young quarterback Blaine Gabbert is showing signs of importance, and the team has added weapons at wide receiver. If Jones-Drew is somehow not on the roster at the start of the regular season, Jennings is worth a start in most fantasy leagues.
Mike Patton is a co-host on the Deep Sleeper Fantasy Football Podcast. He has been a fantasy enthusiast since 1997 and has won championships in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and pick 'em leagues.