Faceoff - RB Kevin Jones, Detroit Lions
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Upside - by Colin Dowling
What’s not to like? Seriously, what’s not to like? I’ve been scolded and ridiculed for putting Kevin Jones high in my rankings and I have no idea why.
Situationally, Kevin Jones is a guy that…
- Plays on turf
- Has no one threatening to steal touches
- Plays in a system that uses him plenty as a receiver
- Plays with a set of receivers talented enough to keep things open
- Plays behind an underappreciated and solid offensive line
Physically, this is a guy that, as a rookie…
- Ran for 4.7 yards per carry
- Caught 28 passes
- Broke 1100 yards
Once he was finally leaned on a bit for the last 8 weeks of the season, where he had 19 or more carries in 7 of 8 games, Jones showed his real ability. In that time frame, he averaged 113 yards per game and 21 carries each contest. He also averaged just shy of three receptions per game in that timeframe. I hate to project 8 games to a full season, so I won’t get specific. I’ll just say that even guesstimating things based on those numbers should get you some pretty amazing statistics.
So, I ask you again, what’s not to like? Here’s a guy with big game ability who runs for a high average, gets the ball a lot, and factors in to the passing game. Plus, he’s young and only going to get better. In my opinion, Jones could easily carry the ball 300 times at a 4.5+ clip, which gets him close to 1350 yards at least. As an aside, I happen to think that’s the low-side.
I think this is going to be a big year for Kevin Jones, and while some people have him ranked barely in the top ten, I have no problem putting him in loftier territory then that.
Downside - by Marc Levin
Kevin Jones had a tremendous rookie season, thus vaulting him into a first round fantasy back. He is a focal point of what should become a prolific offense. Unfortunately, there is only one ball to go around - and with the return of Charles Rogers from injury, with Roy Williams looking like a super star WR, and with the additions of first round WR Mike William, veteran WR Kevin Johnson, TE Marcus Pollard and QB Jeff Garcia, it appears that there will be a lot of incentive for HC Steve Mariucci to justify the free agent signings and highly drafted WRs by using those players.
That does not mean that Kevin Jones won’t have a fine fantasy year. He is a unique talent and Mariucci has quickly figured out how to properly use him. Plus, all those downfield threats open up space and prevent 8 men in the box. But, when you are selecting the RB8 at 1.12, you want a player with the potential to finish as a top-5 RB. That kind of a year may be questionable with all the other weapons on the team. Finally, consider the history of Detroit’s rushing numbers - since Barry Sanders retired, the team has been a bottom five rushing team every year except 2000 and last year. While things look positive for the offense (and for Jones to spark an effective running game) caution is advised when you consider where Jones must be drafted.