Before we get around to assessing the Benny Hill show that we saw last night and the ensuing hilarity, let’s begin today the same way we began yesterday. The name will change, but the question, situation, and the fantasy implications remain the same.
Football players like to play football. That’s the most absurdly simple statement I’ll write today, but it’s an important one to remember. Even though you love your job, your passion for what you do often doesn’t equal that of the gridiron fire-breathing man-beasts. Between the beginning of September and the end of December at the very earliest, they’re programmed to play, and to do it through the routine of playing in games, and then practicing, and then playing and practicing again.
Remember this as you deal with the very strong possibility that LeSean McCoy could come back this week after getting clearance from an independent neurologist yesterday, thereby igniting confusion in your backfield and torpedoing both his fantasy value, and that of Bryce Brown. While that remains unpredictable and it may begin to suck soon, the situation in Jacksonville is much different.
It’s still a slim chance right now, but there’s a chance Maurice Jones-Drew could play this week. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but this week is championship week.
Want to hear a funny joke? Jones-Drew still leads the Jaguars in rushing despite missing essentially eight games (he had only two carries in Week 7 before suffering a foot injury). That speaks primarily to the dark, hell-ish plague unleashed on Jacksonville’s backfield since then, with Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele also going down.
But now Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey is hinting that there’s a chance he could return for Week 16. That chance remains small at this point, although the fact that Mularkey didn’t speak with any conviction in either direction when asked about his primary running back’s status is telling.
“Obviously we would like to have him back because he’s a special back [at] full go or almost at full go.”
See, that comment alone is innocent. But then when you learn that Jones-Drew intends to test his injured foot today to see if he can practice at, well, either full go or almost full go, we have to begin to wonder why he would do such a thing. I suppose this is also the point when we remember that bit about football players and their sometimes caveman mindset (man must play the football). But he needs to look at the standings, and realize that risking re-injury during the final two weeks of the season while being the lead running back for a 2-12 team is one of the worst things a human can possible do to themselves.
But hey, whatever. We say go ahead, Maurice.
Let’s entertain the slim chance (hey, should I write “slim chance” eight more times?) that he does indeed play in a limited capacity this week, and then he’s able to finish off the year next week at something closer to his regular workload. Yes, many fantasy leagues end in Week 16 (sad face), but many more leagues that have two-week formats for both the championship and the third place matchup will still be chugging along.
So now as our hypothetical scenario continues, we see that those who have kept Jones-Drew stashed (and indeed that’s most of you, as he’s owned in 92 percent of ESPN leagues) could be faced with a difficult decision. Do you start Jones-Drew when he’s maybe 75 percent healthy but he’ll benefit from a cushy matchup against the Titans, or do you start running back X?
If those dominoes fall in that graceful fashion, Jones-Drew becomes a final-week flex play, mostly because of the matchup. If the Jaguars are dumb enough to play him, he’ll be used, and likely receive 10-ish touches. That workload from a back of MJD’s caliber against Tennessee could easily end in six-to-seven fantasy points just from the yardage, and possibly a touchdown.
And now the links part of the links post…
- So this has to be the end for Mark Sanchez, right? [Rotoworld]
- Richard Sherman will learn his fate Friday. If his appeal doesn’t go in his favor, Colin Kaepernick’s Week 16 fantasy outlook will improve dramatically. [Adam Schefter on Twitter]
- Don’t worry, guys, the Broncos won’t rest Peyton Manning. [USA Today]
- Think Raiders fans are bat-shit crazy? They’ve got nothing on the pigeons. [Eye On Football]
- Thankfully, Nick Saban wasn’t able to bring Drew Brees to Miami. That place is the fantasy fun vacuum. [NBC South Florida]