There has been a lot of “sit MJD” advice flying around the web for the first week of fantasy leagues and the NFL regular season. But what can we actually expect from Maurice Jones-Drew against Minnesota? We know he is being used as a third-down back, so we shouldn’t expect a lot of carries, but what will he be doing on those carries? Will he be brought in for third and long in order to facilitate a stronger passing game? Or does his lack of familiarity with the offense limit his effectiveness?
While the answers of these questions can only be told with time, we can speculate.
With a stronger passing game on display (which I fully anticipate), the Jags should be able to alleviate some of the 8-9 men front that confronted Jaguars runners last year. That helps Rashad Jennings, but does it help MJD? When the team brings him in, defenses may key in on him just to make sure he doesn’t do what he does best: run them over.
With 4.7 yards per attempt in 2011 (his highest since his rookie season) while facing more men in the box, I think we can actually expect an increase in his yards per attempt agains the Vikings. This is assuming that all reports of him being in shape are true. It isn’t that the Vikings’ defense isn’t bad, it’s just that MJD is too good. It’s important to get more hats to the ball, and even with that the teams could hardly limit him gaining almost five yards per carry. With some more attention outside to open things up, then when Jones-Drew gets on the field I think we can expect something special.
I’m not saying he’ll magically get 100 yards. But I don’t see why he doesn’t break at least one for a big gain in his limited touches. Just because Jennings is starting doesn’t mean that Jones-Drew is suddenly going to be less effective in the snaps he does get.
I just hope he’s learned this offense well enough.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims