by Ray Kuhn
Rashad Jennings is an interesting player heading into 2014. He will be entering his fifth NFL season (he missed 2011 due to injury) and is still somewhat of an unknown quantity. It is not that Jennings hasn’t been on the radar of fantasy players, because he has been since 2010, but never as an every week RB2 option.
Until last season Jennings was known as being the handcuff for Maurice Jones-Drew. When he got a chance he produced, but his value was directly tied to the health of Jones-Drew. When Jennings did take the field in a situation where he would be getting the majority of the backfield touches, he was a player worth starting that week. However, we do have to get a disclaimer out of the way. Some of Jennings work with the Jaguars did come towards either the end of games, seasons or both. You cannot discount the results, just put them in perspective.
In 2010 Jennings only had 84 carries but he used those well, gaining 459 yards for an average of 5.5 yards per carry. While that is certainly impressive, what peaks my interest is that he found the end zone four times and had two 100+ yards game. He didn’t do much in 2012, as he only gained 283 yards, and then in 2013 he changed addresses and joined the Oakland Raiders.
We all know how much of a mess Oakland is, not to mention Jennings had to share a backfield with Darren McFadden and Marcel Reece. Jennings still managed to gain 733 yards on 163 carries for a respectable average of 4.5 yards per carry. He once again showed a nose for the goal line as he gained six touchdowns. Of perhaps greater importance to fantasy owners, he also caught 36 passes for an additional 292 yards. On the season Jennings crossed the 1,000 yard threshold, but the problem is that the production was not steady or predictable.
This season, that is likely going to change.
Jennings signed with the New York Giants this off-season on a $10 million contract for three years. Yes, I know those are not impressive contract terms, but that is actually the market value for running backs so you can’t judge him on that.
The Giants signed Jennings with the expectation that he will be the number one running back, and I think that is what will happen in 2014. David Wilson is a question mark after his season ending neck surgery and even if he does play, which I think he will, I wouldn’t plan on him getting any more than 10-15 touches per game. Peyton Hillis is back as a depth player, and that is about it as far the veterans go with Andre Brown departing in the off-season.
So far, the early indication from Tom Coughlin is that Jennings is someone the Giants think they can count on for all three downs. Jennings has shown the ability to be a workhorse, find the end zone and also catch some passes out of the backfield. That combination could make him a very solid under the radar option for fantasy owners heading into 2014.