After somewhat of a slow start to his season, Maurice Jones-Drew stepped his game up big time over the second half of 2011 en route to a top 3 running back finish.
As long as the Jaguars’ running back can sure up his contract situation, there’s no reason we should believe that he won’t be up there again this season. After all, the short, deceptive back has only had three 200-plus carry seasons throughout his career.
What about the rest of the young Jacksonville offense? Is Blaine Gabbert ready to make his receivers worthwhile to the fantasy world?
The wide receiver on the Jaguars that I’d like to own most is…
Laurent Robinson. Do you remember when he was a deep sleeper in St. Louis a couple of years ago? It’s because, regardless of what you want to say, he’s got talent.
The dude caught 11 touchdowns last year after Week 6. He scored a touchdown in 8 of his final 10 games. And he scored four more touchdowns than Calvin Johnson did over the stretch of the season where he was Tony Romo’s favorite target.
I don’t expect him to repeat that kind of production by any means, but it’s something that’s difficult to ignore. The fact that Justin Blackmon is being drafted 3 rounds ahead of Robinson is flat out stupid. Not only are wide receivers mostly irrelevant during their rookie seasons, but Blackmon has had his share of off the field issues already as well.
Gabbert’s rookie season was anything but spectacular. Throwing just 12 touchdowns – one more than his new wide receiver scored last year – doesn’t give us a good feeling if we were to draft a Jaguars’ wide receiver. But it’s not like we’re wasting an early round pick on one, and it’s not as though Gabbert had the best options at wide receiver last season.
So why not take a 12th round sleeper pick on Robinson?
Watch the story unfold with…
Maurice Jones-Drew. The stud back, when fully prepared and ready to go, is easily a top 5 fantasy running back in this league. It seems as though each season, no matter how MJD did the year before, he’s a bit undervalued. But all he’s done since becoming the full time starter in Jacksonville is dominate the league against defenses with 8 players in the box.
This contract dispute that he’s in scares me. We all know what can happen when a top-tier running back misses some pre-season time, and there are some similar signs of holding out with MJD right now. If he can get a deal done soon, then don’t worry about getting him early in your draft – he’ll be fine. But if it continues, I’d second guess the choice given the player who’s right behind him in the depth chart. More on him next.
The late round pick for the Jaguars that you should try to get is…
Rashad Jennings. Now that he’s back from injury, we can all use his 2011 sleeper status and carry it over to 2012. Especially because of MJD’s contract clash.
So why are fantasy experts so high on Jennings, you ask? Well, the 7th round pick in 2009 has shown signs of great play with his 123 NFL carries. He’s averaging 5.4 yard per carry, and scored 4 times in 2010. He’s a guy that can break tackles and keep pushing for extra yards. And not only that, the Jaguars have already said that he’s going to play a significant role in the offense to help ease the load on MJD.
He could end up getting even more looks if Jones-Drew holds out into the season. He’s currently going in the 13th round of 12-team drafts. Again, why not draft him considering this upside?
The one word to describe the 2012 Jaguars is…
Gold. You could strike it if Jennings ends up getting more touches in the offense with a potential MJD holdout. Or you could hit it if Laurent Robinson is actually a lot better than people are giving him credit for.
And, of course, I use the word “gold” because of Blaine Gabbert’s hair.
There’s potential on this team from a fantasy perspective. If Gabbert does better than he did last season (if he doesn’t, let’s assume Chad Henne is the quarterback), then we should expect everyones’ numbers – aside from MJD – to increase.