NFL fantasy football notebook: Maurice Jones-Drew sinking

  • By Marcas Grant NFL.com
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As the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout enters its second month, it's becoming apparent to plenty around the team that the star running back won't be available when the season starts. From a purely football standout, it's looking more and more like a losing play from Jones-Drew. The team has reiterated its stance that it has no intention of trading the player while new owner Shad Khan is unmoved by his running back's attempt to strongarm a new contract. The Jaguars were never one piece away from being a contender. They went 5-11 with MJD and they can be equally wretched without him.

From a fantasy football standpoint (which, we know, is mostly what you currently care about), MJD's fantasy value is falling faster than a lead-weighted stone. After starting preseason as a Top 3 pick, MJD has fallen, on average, to the second round in most NFL.com leagues -- an evaluation echoed by Michael Fabiano in his latest Mailbag.

In the meantime, we'll continue to pound the drum about Rashad Jennings. If his preseason performance carries over to the regular season, it will solidify him as Jacksonville's top running back. It could also light a fire under Jones-Drew and get him back to work. Either way, Jennings continues to be the Most Interesting Man in Fantasy Football...

Jason Witten a game-time decision


Ever since word came down that Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten won't need surgery on his lacerated spleen, the next order of business was determining when he would be able to get back on the field. Turns out, that decision won't be made until sometime just before kickoff of the season opener against the New York Giants.

If you drafted Witten, you should have known that this was a possibility. Hopefully you grabbed a quality backup to start in Week 1 just in case. Once Dez Bryant and Miles Austin are ready and the Cowboys put all their pieces in place, they can be a productive offense -- and Witten should benefit. Fantasy football enthusiasts may just have to wait a week...

Quick Outs


Tom DiPace/Associated Press
Big things are expected from Matt Ryan this year. But is it enough to move him into NFL Fantasy LIVE's Top 12 quarterbacks? (Click image for further analysis.)

» As though there wasn't enough depth chart churning already happening for the Arizona Cardinals, there are now reports that LaRod Stephens-Howling will be the team's primary third-down back. That means either Beanie Wells and Ryan Williams will be sharing carries more than originally anticipated or someone's the odd man out. Neither is an appealing thought...

» James Jones is an intriguing fantasy prospect. The Green Bay Packers wideout has reportedly been the second-best receiver in camp, behind Jordy Nelson. The problem is that it hasn't translated to games. He's a NFL Fantasy LIVE favorite when it comes to No. 3 WRs and could be a steal if he starts to play like he practices...

» Doug Baldwin's pesky hamstring injury has kept him out of the entire preseason and will leave him on the sideline for the finale against the Oakland Raiders. However Pete Carroll says the second-year WR will be ready to go for the season opener. After a surprisingly productive rookie season, Baldwin seemed a lock to be the team's No. 2 receiver behind Sidney Rice. But with Braylon Edwards playing so well in the preseason, that standing could be challenged. Baldwin has deep sleeper appeal if he can duplicate his 2011 production...

» I've written more than once about the Baltimore Ravens new commitment to the no-huddle offense and its effect on Joe Flacco. It's translated into the best preseason of his career. I understand if fantasy football owners are skeptical after his inconsistent production for the past four seasons, but as a 14th-rounder (as he is in plenty of NFL.com leagues), there's nothing but upside...

» Contra Costa Times writer Steve Corkran writes that Oakland Raiders receiver Denarius Moore should be ready to go for the season opener. Moore hasn't been able to participate in training camp and has expressed concern about his lack of reps with Carson Palmer. Moore is a big play guy, which gives him late round value, but it could take a few weeks for him to get in sync...

» Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson sat out practice earlier this week after complaining of rib soreness. He left last week's game after having the wind knocked out of him and hasn't been allowed much contact in practice. Johnson's still a No. 1 fantasy football receiver, but this is a reminder that age and injury are starting to creep up on him. Temper your expectations accordingly...

Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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