Welcome to the new off-season series, aptly named ‘Final Fantasy’. In this series, Razzball will be focusing the spotlight on certain players that either exceeded or fell-by-the-wayside of our expectations, and we’ll briefly touch them with our thoughts, legally. Despite rumor (and the series name), we will not be discussing anything +5 to magic missile. Unless there’s actually a NFL player that shoots missiles. And has, like, an amulet to vitality or something like that. Michael Vick’s -98 amulet of dog-caring will be excluded in this particular instance. Regardless, let’s get to the spotlight for today, and that’s Rashad Jennings.

ESPN Projections853721181300
CBS Projections1044502201390
Razzball Projections2711211571
2013 Actual Stats1637336362920

It was just a couple years ago that I viewed Rashad Jennings as a sleeper. Even though, he had missed the entire previous season (2011) due to a knee injury, I was still very intrigued by what he had done in 2010. His stat line that year was 682 total yards with a 110 touches and four touchdowns. He had a stretch of games from week 12-17 (six games) in which he had 82.66 total yards, 2.83 catches, and 0.6 touchdowns per game. He did get a chance to play, but unfortunately, he did nothing to establish himself into a back that could take the next level. His final numbers in 10 games were 413 total yards (2.8 YPC), with 120 touches, and only two touchdowns. Now, fast forward to this last season, and he’s become an integral member of the Oakland Raiders.

Let’s take a look in the 2013 game log:

– Week 1-8 (seven games): 33.85 total yards & 1.71 catches per game.

– Week 9-15 (six games): 116.5 total yards, 3.16 catches & 1 touchdown per game.

– Week 16-17 ( two games): 44.5 total yards & 2.5 catches per game.

His final numbers in 15 games was 1,025 total yards, 36 catches, and six touchdowns. For context, those numbers placed him as the 22nd running back in standard (Non-PPR) scoring.

The first thing I want to point out is that Darren McFadden played in five of the first seven games and in week four, McFadden was only on the field for seven snaps. In his place, Jennings rushed for 45 yards, had eight catches for 71 receiving yards, and earned 11 fantasy points. He finished as the 17th best running back in standard (Non-PPR) scoring. In his one lone start, in week five, he was only giving 10 carries but rushed for 41 yards.

As expected, McFadden missed his fare share of football games. This occurred during weeks 9-15 as he missed five full games, and then saw no more than 17 snaps in the other two games. Very McFadden like. In this stretch, Jennings best game was in week nine, versus the Philadelphia Eagles. He ended up rushing for 102 yards, with one rushing touchdown, and added seven catches for 74 receiving yards. This performance earned him 23 fantasy points and he finished in a tie for 3rd place (standard Non-PPR scoring) among running backs. In total, he had three games of at least 21 fantasy points or more in standard (Non-PPR) scoring. In six games (did not play week 14), he gained at least 103 total yards in four games, and was able to find the end zone at least once in four games. In addition, he caught three or more passes in three games. Over the span of these six games, his ability to be a three-down running back was on display. To give you a better idea of just how good he was during this time, he averaged 16.83 fantasy points per game. You will not find many running backs with a better average in standard (Non-PPR) scoring.

From what I had been reading, the Oakland Raiders were going to try and keep Jennings, but that obviously did not happen. Jennings now finds himself on the New York Giants and I like his chances of becoming the primary back there. If that’s the case, I like him as a RB2 with the ability/upside to be a RB1 in 2014.