NFL fantasy football notebook: Rashad Jennings to start Week 1

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are officially tired of waiting for Maurice Jones-Drew. Head coach Mike Mularkey named Rashad Jennings the starter for Week 1 against the Vikings.

Jennings has done everything he possibly can to show that he's ready to be the team's workhorse. The fourth-year back is averaging nearly five yards per carry in the preseason and has earned weekly praise from the Jags' coaching staff. Meanwhile, Jones-Drew continues his holdout with no end in sight -- although Mularkey said recently that MJDcould play in Week 1 under the right circumstances.

At this point, I'm not buying it. Jones-Drew will play this season, mark my words. When that happens, well, your guess is as good as mine. That's the reason, MJD has slipped to an average second-round draft position (and likely still falling). It's also the reason I drafted Jennings late in my first fantasy draft last weekend. He looks like a solid No. 2 RB option and can be used as trade bait once Jones-Drew decides to once again don teal and black...

Ryan Mathews ahead of schedule

I've been skeptical of Ryan Mathews' claims that he'd be ready for Week 1 after surgery to repair a broken clavicle. I'm still not sold that he'll be on the field when the San Diego Chargers visit the Raiders, but Mathews did get good news from doctors on Monday.

Mathews has slipped to the bottom of the second round in most fantasy football leagues thanks to this inconvenient reminder of his fragility. When he's on the field, he'll be productive (sounds like another prominent AFC West running back we know -- rhymes with Baron McBadden). But the same caveat applies ... if you draft him, be sure to get a dependable backup as well...

Quick Outs

» The next step in Adrian Peterson's return from major knee surgery is underway. The veteran RB was hit at practice for the first time Monday. AP has gone in the third round in plenty of drafts, mostly based on past reputation. While that's certainly understandable, I've been willing to wait or even bypass him until there are more reports on how the knee responds. If he's available in the third round (or later) and you're confident, by all means, draft him. If he turns out to be the Adrian Peterson we all know, it'll be a steal...

» The Oakland Raiders passing game has been a mess this preseason. Carson Palmer has had trouble connecting with his receivers in the new offense, some of which he blames on a lack of practice time together. Denarius Moore has yet to play in the preseason and Jacoby Ford has been out for more than a week with a foot injury. Ford has struggled on the field as well, dropping a number of catchable balls. While that's good news for a guy like Rod Streater, it does little to build confidence in the majority of Oakland's passing game pieces...

» San Francisco 49ers running back Brandon Jacobs is still limping after injuring his knee more than a week ago against the Houston Texans. It doesn't look good for Jacobs playing in the season opener, which likely means more carries for Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. San Francisco's backfield is going to be very crowded once everyone is healthy, so one less option -- even for a limited time -- should make life a tad easier for fantasy football owners...

» Even with Alfred Morris moving up the depth chart, there's quite a temptest churning in the Washington Redskins backfield. Evan Royster is scheduled to play in Wednesday's preseason finale, but both Roy Helu (Achilles) and Tim Hightower (knee) are uncertain. Equally uncertain is what kind of fantasy football production you'll get from any of them. It's almost to the point that if you draft one, you might have to draft them all. And no one wants that...

» While we're on the Redskins, the team released longtime tight end Chris Cooley Tuesday. That clears the deck for Fred Davis to be Washington's top tight end. Davis hasn't found a deep rapport with Robert Griffin III just yet, but he's too talented not to be selected in drafts. Consider Davis a No. 2 TE with upside...

» It's not a surprise, but Jahvid Best will start the season on the PUP list. Best hasn't played since suffering a concussion on October 16 in a loss to the 49ers. Doctors have recommended that the former Cal standout remain out of action for at least a full calendar year since his last brain injury. Best is eligible to be activated from the list on October 22. With uncertainty and injury clouding the Lions running back situation, Best could be worth a look off the waiver wire -- provided he's able to stay healthy and work back into the rotation...

» New York Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks is expected to see a few snaps against the Patriots on Wednesday. Nicks was recently taken off the PUP list after suffering a broken foot in May. Until further notice, Nicks is Big Blue's No. 1 wideout and should be drafted accordingly...

Follow Marcas on Twitter @MarcasG

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