Maurice Jones-Drew has been one of fantasy football’s greatest stars over the past decade, leading countless dyanasty owners to the promised land in their respective leagues. After eight mostly great seasons with Jacksonville, MJD and the Jaguars collectively decided it was time for a change and as such, he has signed a three-year deal with the Oakland Raiders, throwing a major short-term wrench into the values of several players in Oakland and further opening the door for others in Jacksonville.
Let’s examine the raminfications for the players involved.
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB OAK
Over his eight-year career with the Jaguars, the mighty mite has amassed 8,071 rushing yards and 68 rushing touchdowns, all while playing most seasons on one of the league’s worst teams. Last year, MJD was only able to post 803 yards and score five touchdowns as he looked like he had lost a step after his 2012 injury shortened campaign. In short, the MJD we saw record 1,606 rushing yards in 2011 looks to be long gone.
In Oakland, Jones-Drew adds himself to a depth chart already kind of a mess at running back. Rashad Jennings is in New York, but Darren McFadden was surprisingly re-signed and Latavius Murray is still waiting in the wings as well.
Jones-Drew should have a chance to start with the Raiders, but it’s hard to say he’s more effective than McFadden based on what we saw from him last year. The most likely scenario is MJD sharing carries with McFadden until one of the two gets hurt and clears the way for more consistent production from the other. Even then, we’d have to see a lot more from him than we did last year to recommend using him in too many leagues. The days of him being an RB1 are over.
Darren McFadden, RB OAK
The signing of Jones-Drew throws some cold water on McFadden’s value. He was likely going to be the starter next season, but now he’ll have to earn it. Even then, he’ll be part of a committee attack in Oakland.
Let’s be honest here.
If MJD and McFadden are both healthy, McFadden looks to be the more explosive player at this point in his career. However, thinking these two will both be healthy all year is wishful thinking.
If you own McFadden, not much changes long-term. He’s on a one-year deal, so the hope is he stays healthy and productive, then lands a better contract next season. That was already the best case scenario for him in dynasty circles – the addition of MJD doesn’t change anything other than his short-term value for next season.
Latavius Murray, RB OAK
Believe it or not, the addition of MJD really doesn’t tank the value of Murray at all. In fact, it may help it. With McFadden and MJD in the fold, the likelihood of the Raiders bringing in a younger running back to challenge Murray has just been minimized. It’s easy to see a scenario where both veteran runners are gone next year and that would be perfect for Murray. It’s not hard to envision both runners getting hurt to open the door for him anyway. He’s not an elite prospect by any means, but you can connect the dots here and really see some future value.
Toby Gerhart, RB JAX
It’s no secret around these parts that I’m not the highest on Gerhart, but with MJD officially gone, he has a great chance to prove his worth. Let’s see what he can do.
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Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK