Running Back Laboratory: MJD
Much has been written about Maurice Jones-Drew this offseason. Is he injury prone? Maybe. Has the hate, as Nate Ravitz and Matthew Berry might say, gone too far? Maybe. Regardless of how you feel about MJD, there comes a point when he falls far enough to where you’d feel comfortable drafting him. I’m not here to convince one way or another (although I’m higher on the 28-year old than most at RotoViz), but what I am going to do is a little experiment using the Running Back Sim Score Lab.
I think a major point of contention among the fantasy community surrounds the fact that MJD is coming off a serious foot injury that cost him most of 2012. That’s understandable; especially considering the lisfranc injury he suffered is one of the toughest to recover from. That being said, I do wonder if MJD’s injury and age concerns have suppressed his ADP too much. In the three years before his injury, MJD averaged 1,440 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground and 355 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Not too shabby for someone going at the end of the second round.
Let’s just pretend that last season never existed. Hear me out for a second. Let’s pretend MJD was coming off the 1606-yard, 8-touchdown campaign he recorded in 2011.
How would the similarity score app project Jones-Drew?
For the sim score app, a player’s most recent season will usually be the best data to look at, but not always. Using MJD’s 2011 season as the input, the app gives him a median projection of 12.5 points per game. Check out the projected top ten running backs using the median forecasts:
I’m specifically going to be looking for MJD on the practice/preseason field. If he looks healthy and fully recovered from the foot injury, I’m buying his stock. Just two years ago MJD would have been a sure fire first rounder and although he’s getting old, it’s not like he’s ancient. In fact, MJD is two days younger than Adrian Peterson.
I wouldn’t recommend just throwing out seasons as a good way to value a player, but in this case I think it sheds some light on just how consistently elite MJD was before 2012.