Andre Johnson catch
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We are hours away from the start of the 14th week of the 2013 NFL season as the Houston Texans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game is more about NFL draft positioning than anything else. It’s also the kickoff for the 14th week of the fantasy football season. Here’s a look of players that should be in your lineups tonight.
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Five Stars
Andre Johnson
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Four Stars
Maurice Jones-Drew
Ben Tate
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Three Stars
Randy Bullock
Cecil Shorts
Houston Texans Defense
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Two Stars
Garrett Graham
DeAndre Hopkins
Dennis Johnson
Case Keenum
Ace Sanders
Josh Scobee
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense
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One Star
Mike Brown
Clay Harbor
Chad Henne
Marcedes Lewis
Jordan Todman
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Maurice Jones-Drew cut
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Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew is on pace for 1,002 total yards (782 rushing) and four touchdowns. Can Mojo come out of his bye week and finish the season strong down the stretch?
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Jones-Drew has already started to turn things around. In his past four games he’s averaging 84.5 total yards (63.3 rushing). In his first four games he averaged 40.8 total yards (34.5 rushing). Mojo averaged 2.4 yards per carry in his first four games and 3.9 ypc in his past four games. Jones-Drew dealt with an ankle injury earlier in the year, but it looks like it’s improving. The bye week should ensure that he comes back fresh for the stretch run.
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The frustrating part is the lack of touchdowns. Mojo had one score in his first four games and one score in the second four-game set. That’s going to continue to be an issue because of Jacksonville’s ineptitude on offense. Of course you knew that was going to be an issue going into the season. It’s frustrating for a player that averaged 12 touchdowns per season for six years to be limited to four touchdowns over his past 14 games, but there isn’t much you can do about it.
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Mojo has completed the difficult part of his schedule. He faced the Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Denver Broncos and San Francisco 49ers. Even the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have been strong against the run this year. Going forward should be smoother sailing.
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Jones-Drew faces the Tennessee Titans (twice), Houston Texans (twice) and the Buffalo Bills. If you play the full season, the Jags also have a favorable matchup against the Indianapolis Colts to close out the year. All of those teams rank 24th or lower against the run. He should be able to put up solid numbers against them. The other two teams on the docket are the Arizona Cardinals and Cleveland Browns. Only the Colts have the type of offense that could put up enough points to take Mojo out of the game.
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I expect Jones-Drew to finish the year off strong. If you can make a play for him while his value is low, go for it. You may find yourself with a high-end RB2 down the stretch.
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No, Montell Owens did not record the 1995 hit “This is How We Do It”. That was Montell Jordan. He also isn’t the guy to send your bad kid to Boot Camp or reveal the identity of your child’s father. That was Montel Williams.
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Montell Owens is the fourth Jacksonville Jaguars running back to get a crack at the lead back gig as injuries have forced Maurice Jones-Drew, Rashad Jennings and Jalen Parmele out of action.
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Owens got his first seven carries last week against the Buffalo Bills. He managed to gain 29 yards (4.1 yards per carry). He also caught a pass for 11 yards. Montell was also able to punch in a two-point conversion.
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While I wouldn’t recommend Owens as an ideal option in what figures to be most league’s opening round of the fantasy football playoffs, he is an option if you are in a pinch.
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Owens will have fresh legs, which gives him a little edge at this stage of the season. He has good size at 5’10 and 225 pounds. If nothing else, he may be good for a one-yard plunge to makes fantasy owners that gambled on him very happy.
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Another thing going for Owens is the matchup. The New York Jets rank 29th in the league in rushing with 137.7 yards per game allowed. They are also one of seven teams to have allowed a dozen or more rushing touchdowns.
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It’s a bit of a desperation play at this point, but sometimes that’s the only option you have.
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If you’re interested, this is how Montell Jordan did it in the mid-nineties:
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Obviously in dynasty fantasy football leagues you want to hang on to Blackmon, but should he continue to be on rosters in re-draft leagues?
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Currently Blackmon is owned in a less than half of ESPN and less than a quarter of Yahoo! leagues. While he did score his first touchdown back in Week 9 there isn’t a strong case for keeping his ownership numbers even that high.
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Along with having just one touchdown reception, Blackmon has yet to record 70 receiving yards in a game. In fact, he has only topped 50 yards on one occasion.
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It is not for lack of chances as Blackmon has received eight or more targets in four of his past six games. All he has to show for himself in those games is the one score and a 46.8 yards per game average.
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Granted, that number is better than his 27.8 ypg season average, but it’s still not fantasy friendly.
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Cecil Shorts has been the breakout receiver in Jacksonville. He has 561 yards and four touchdowns on the year. Clearly he has been the team’s best playmaker with Maurice Jones-Drew dealing with a foot injury.
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Plus, Laurent Robinson has made some noise in the two games since returning from his concussion issues. He’s been targeted a whopping 24 times the past two games, hauling in 15 receptions for 118 yards.
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Even Michael Spurlock has been getting into the action. He has caught all eleven targets thrown his way over the past two weeks for 96 yards and a touchdown.
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None of the Jaguars receivers are getting quality quarterback play from Blaine Gabbert. Only Shorts has been able to carve out some fantasy value. Robinson is worth considering in PPR leagues only because of the volume of passes thrown his way. At this point Blackmon doesn’t look worthy of a roster spot.
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With the bye weeks coming to an end it’s time to give up the hope that he’ll come around.
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The Jacksonville Jaguars can’t be pleased with star running back Maurice Jones-Drew missing the OTAs, but of course their preference is for the team to be united. For the fantasy owner, whose team is constructed of players from a multitude of teams, is this cause for concern?
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My gut says no.
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For starters, they are voluntary. Mojo is entering his seventh year in the league and has been a dynamic performer each and every year. He knows what it takes to get ready for the rigors of the season. It’s not like he’s sitting on his couch playing some advanced copy of Madden 13. He is preparing for another season.
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For the record, the past two years he has not attended OTAs. The past two years (one by choice, one by lockout) he has worked out on his own. Despite knee concerns he combined for 3621 total yards and 18 total touchdowns.
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Oh, and he managed to run away with the NFL rushing title last year.
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There aren’t many players with his consistency. Since taking the lead back role, MJD has ran for at least 1324 yards with at least 317 receiving yards. For those of you in PPR leagues, he has had at least 34 catches in those three years as well.
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Mojo’s touchdown production has gone down from 13.5 TDs/yr over his first four seasons to 9.0/yr over the past two, but that has been more of a function of Jacksonville’s offense rather than an indictment on Jones-Drew. Besides, who’s complaining about a two-year average of 1800+ total yards and nine scores?
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Mojo is a gamer and is still at the top of his game. If he starts to miss mandatory workouts then you can start to go in panic mode. For right now, just take a deep breath and trust him.
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That said, if you are in a keeper league and his owner is the panicking type, it wouldn’t hurt to inquire about him.
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Blaine Gabbert is one of the few rookie quarterbacks that is going to get a chance to start out of the gate. That’s if he can beat out incumbent David Garrard.
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While Garrard is not a bad quarterback by any means, there is definitely an argument to be made for starting the Gabbert era sooner rather than later.
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Garrard has been a highly accurate quarterback, completing over 60 percent of his passes for the past four season. Over that stretch he was on target 62.7 percent of the time. Considering he hasn’t exactly had elite receivers to work with makes the numbers that much more impressive. Garrard threw for 71 touchdowns with just 41 interceptions.
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He has also shown the ability to deliver with his feet, averaging 277.3 yards at a 4.2 ypc clip over the past four years. Garrard added another 11 rushing touchdowns to his totals.
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So why would you want to replace an effective quarterback?
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For starters, he’s 33. I know Brett Favre and Warren Moon (among others) continued to play at a high level long after turning 33. There have been even more quarterbacks that have gone the wrong direction. Besides, when the Jaguars used a tenth round pick on Gabbert, any notion that Garrard was still their franchise quarterback was quickly put to rest.
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Plus, Garrard’s effectiveness has not translated to team success. Since Garrard made a name for himself in 2007 during the Jaguars playoff run the team has been a combined 20-28. When you’re not winning and you have a shiny new toy on the sidelines, the calls from the fans for a change can become deafening.
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Speaking of fans, as a NFL team that is less stable financially than most, I’m sure they are cognizant of how important Gabbert could be for ticket sales. Jags fans have watched Garrard play. Aside from winning, the next closest thing to putting butts in the seats is hope.
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Even if Gabbert starts, his production will likely be inconsistent. The condensed training camp simply limited the amount of reps he received. I wouldn’t hesitate to draft Gabbert in dynasty leagues or two-quarterback leagues, but I’d employ a wait-and-see approach in redraft leagues.
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What’s your take?
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Steve Mitchell/US Presswire
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Rashad Jennings has earned a bigger role. Not only because Maurice Jones-Drew’s knee has been an issue for the second straight offseason, but because he’s been effective. The folks at DraftStreet Review are counting on Jennings as a sleeper, as are many in the fantasy industry.
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In 2009 Jennings ran the ball 39 times for 202 yards and a score, which was good for a 5.2 yards per carry average. He also ran for a touchdown. His carries were increased to 84 last year, and he responded with 459 yards (5.5 ypc) and four touchdowns. Jennings also saw his production as a receiver improve from 16 catches for 101 yards (6.3  yards per catch) to 26 catches for 223 yards (8.6 yards per catch).
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Jennings got the last two starts for the Jags last year and averaged 101.5 total yards with one touchdown. He won’t get extensive work like that unless Mojo goes down, but he can be still effective if he gets ten touchdowns.
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Not counting his two starts Jennings had ten touches in three of the 14 remaining games. In those games he averaged 73 total yards. Those are killer fantasy numbers, but solid in deeper leagues. His pass catching ability gives him a little bump in PPR leagues.
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Mojo had 312 carries in 2009 and 299 last year. Considering he missed the final two games, he actually had more carries per game last year (21.4) than in 2009 (19.5). Last year marked the first time MJD failed to reach 40 catches, but he still managed 34. He combined for 23.3 touches per game over the past two season. Those are simply too many touches, especially when you have a capable running mate. It’s worked with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams. It’s worked with Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Teams can produce two viable fantasy running backs.
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The Jaguars beat writers are suggesting a larger role for Jennings, which makes sense given the heavy workload that has defined the past two seasons for Mojo and the subsequent knee issues. John Oehser wrote on Jaguars.com that “while Jones-Drew indeed is the face and in a very real sense the spirit of the franchise – and while his role and production remain critical to the Jaguars – the NFL in recent years more and more is a two-back league. And for the Jaguars, getting Jennings involved in ’11 is likely to be key. He also noted that Jaguars’ General Manager Gene Smith praised Jennings’ receiving skills earlier this offseason.
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Jennings isn’t just a change of pace back. At 6’1″, 228 pounds he has the size to be a finisher and a goal line back. Maurice Jones-Drew thrives around the stripe, but perhaps that’s a duty that Jennings can share if he shows an affinity for it. He displayed that ability at Liberty where he ran for 15 touchdowns in his Junior year and 17 as a Senior. I certainly don’t expect a 50/50 split by any means
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Currently Jennings is the 42nd rated running back according to MockDraftCentral, which puts him as a RB4. That’s about where I’d want him. I could see using him as a RB3 in PPR leagues, but we truly have to wait and see what kind of workload he actually gets.
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My pals over at Fantasy Knuckleheads also tout Jennings as a sleeper. Their strategy is to not only handcuff MJD with Jennings, but “for owners who miss out on MJD early to take Jennings once their core of starting running backs is in place. This will enable them to start Jennings as a possible flex option even if MJD does start every game. Or, if MJD is eventually knocked out, Jennings will provide owners with a nice piece of trade bait if they are in need of a player at another position. Sound bit of advice from the Knuckleheads.
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