MJD Fantasy 2013
So much emphasis is put on injuries leading up to draft day. Maurice Jones-Drew’s Lisfranc fracture he suffered in 2012 is one of those injuries. It was the most serious injury Jones-Drew suffered since taking over for Fred Taylor as the Jaguars’ featured back in 2008. Despite the seriousness of Pocket Rocket’s injury, there is always a beacon of hope, however dim it may seem to be.
Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t the only household name in the NFL to fall victim to a Lisfranc injury. Darren McFadden, DeMarco Murray and Cedric Benson have all had their careers somersault because of the foot fracture. Let’s be honest, though, Jones-Drew is made of a different mold with a proven and superior pedigree. Running backs that have seen success after a Lisfranc injury include Ronnie Brown, Warrick Dunn and Philadelphia Eagles’ legend Brian Westbrook, whose physiques are more comparable to that of Jones-Drew’s. Also keep in mind that the season after Jones-Drew tore his meniscus in 2010, he led the league in rushing yards with 1,606 in 2011. He’s already proven overcoming a major injury isn’t a career-deflating endeavor.
Brown, Dunn and Westbrook suffered their Lisfranc injuries in 2009, 2003 and 2005. In 2010, Brown recorded 976 total yards, five rushing touchdowns and 33 catches. Not eye-popping numbers but respectable considering he played in just nine games the previous year.
After an 11 game stint in 2003 due to Dr. Jacques Lisfranc’s namesake, Warrick Dunn ran for over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns in 2004. The next two seasons saw him run for over 2,500 yards.
Brian Westbrook may have had the greatest Lisfranc comeback of them all. After missing four games in 2005 he stormed back for over 1,900 yards from scrimmage and 11 total touchdowns. His 2006 season was even more impressive as he totaled over 2,000 yards and 12 total touchdowns. It would turn out to be the best year of his career. In the two seasons following his Lisfranc injury, Brian Westbrook was the fourth best PPR running back (four spots ahead of one Maurice Jones-Drew in 2006) and the number one PPR running back in 2007.
Now that you feel a little more optimistic about drafting Jones-Drew, let’s take a look at what 2013 has in store for the eighth year running back. While his best seasons are probably behind him, there is still a lot to like about “MoJo” as he is called in his most intimate circles, and basically everywhere else. His quarterback, however, is not included. The Jacksonville Jaguars arguably have the worst starting quarterback in the National Football League in Blaine Gabbert, although the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders may have something to say about that. Despite Gabbert’s virtual non-existence, Jones-Drew has proven he can still be a top fantasy running back.
Maurice Jones-Drew Stats
Please direct your attention to the year 2011. Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert struggled to adapt to the NFL en route to a yawn-inducing season of 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, including a 50.8 completion percentage. Meanwhile, Jones-Drew posted a career high in attempts (343) and yards (1,606). Poor quarterback play is not an issue for Jones-Drew. Even Jacksonville’s backup quarterback, Chad Henne, would be an upgrade at starter and only benefit MoJo.
Even before going down in Week 7 against Oakland, Jones-Drew was on pace for a line of 1,104 rushing yards, 37 catches and 229 receiving yards. That’s still a decent fantasy season considering the slow start he had through the first six weeks.
Assuming you’ve convinced yourself that Jones-Drew will be fine in 2013, let’s take a look at where he’s being drafted now. According to fantasypros.com his PPR ADP is sitting at 15. If you have the fifteenth overall pick in a PPR league, Jones-Drew is a great pick at that point. I would even consider taking him a couple picks earlier. He provides one of the best second round values as a RB2 in fantasy football this year, especially considering he’s been a RB1 throughout his career.
While there is always risk involved with a player returning from injury, I personally wouldn’t think twice about drafting Maurice Jones-Drew early in the second round this year. He easily has Top 10 running back potential in PPR leagues and provides a nice value pick at his current ADP.
See where Fantasy Pros’ 2012 most accurate expert Jody Smith has Maurice Jones-Drew ranked.
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