Maurice Jones-Drew has been a fantasy stud for years, but it wasn't until last season that he really joined the elite. Taking over as the Jaguars' featured back for the first time, the 5-7, 208-pound ball of dynamite defied the odds by racking up 365 touches, 1,765 yards from scrimmage and 16 TDs.
Already adept at helping fantasy owners with his play on the field, he's now ready to do so off of it, as well. Beginning in August, M.J.D. will host a live show every Friday night at 7 p.m. ET throughout the NFL season on Sirius XM's new Fantasy Sports Radio. A fantasy veteran himself, Jones-Drew will discuss his personal lineup decisions, give advice to callers and share inside information that only an NFL star can dish out.
M.J.D. recently took the time to speak to PFW about the show, his experiences playing fantasy football and which of today's running backs he likes watching most.
PFW: How was your offseason?
M.J.D.: It's been going great. You know, working hard, getting ready for the season.
PFW: You obviously had a much bigger workload last season handling 312 carries. How did you hold up physically?
M.J.D.: I felt like my body (had some soreness). It took a longer time just for the nagging injuries to go away. But really I feel great, I feel like I can go out there and keep playing and have a great season this year.
PFW: Do you expect a similar workload?
M.J.D.: Yeah, pretty much. That's just the mindset you have to have. Everybody has that mindset (who's) going in as a starter and letting the season play out. And if you do that, you'll be prepared for anything.
PFW: I know you're a big fantasy football guy. How long have you been playing fantasy football?
M.J.D.: Five years.
PFW: What made you decide to play for the first time?
M.J.D.: Just a bunch of friends called and said they wanted to try it out, and so we did. It's exciting, it's really exciting. It's a fun game and we're have a great time playing it.
PFW: Are the leagues you're in usually made up of friends, NFL players or other people all together?
M.J.D.: The league I was in last year was with the Jacksonville front office people which is very exciting, and I just joined the Sirius XM league.
PFW: Are those the only two leagues you're going to play in this season?
M.J.D.: Those are the two leagues I'm going to do this year. It's kinda hard to manage other leagues, more than two.
PFW: Do you have a policy about drafting yourself in leagues?
M.J.D.: I always try to draft myself. So far I did in (the Sirius XM league), so hopefully I can keep it going in my next one.
PFW: Which pick did you have in that draft?
M.J.D.: I had No. 8 but I traded up to No. 3 to get myself.
PFW: Obviously you're busy on Sundays. Are you able to keep track of your teams at all during the day or do you have to wait until Sunday night to check on them?
M.J.D.: You keep track during the game sometimes, but I just wait until Sunday (night) to go on the computer and check out what's going on.
PFW: Are you somebody who manages his team closely by hitting the waiver wire during the week?
M.J.D.: Yeah, I do all that — waiver wire, cut players, trade. I'm real active.
PFW: How many times have you won a fantasy league?
M.J.D.: I've won two actually.
PFW: How often do people come up to you and thank you for helping them win their league?
M.J.D.: All the time, all the time. It's a way for fans to get closer to players, and it's really exciting to have that.
PFW: Whose idea was it for you to have a fantasy show on Sirius XM?
M.J.D.: Well, Sirius XM came to me and my agent, Adisa Bakari, and we set it up so that we are able to kinda cooperate with the season and with Coach (Jack) Del Rio where it'd work. It's gonna be a family show; a lot of the guys are gonna come and hang out at the show. I think it'll be a very exciting show. It's a way for fans to hear a player's point of view.
PFW: What kind of stuff do you plan to discuss on the show?
M.J.D.: Everything. Obviously, the first couple weeks will be who you should pick in your draft and why. Who my sleepers are, who I think are busts. Just stuff like that.
PFW: How honest will you be in terms of talking about players whose fantasy value you don't like? Will you be afraid not to offend fellow players?
M.J.D.: I'm going to be very honest about it. I think that's how you get people to like you, if you're honest. I mean I'm not gonna trash anybody, but I would tell the truth if I feel like their scheme isn't a fit for them, I'll let them know. And if they do (well), then I was wrong. But I just wanna go out there and speak the truth and just try to get my knowledge out to all the fans.
PFW: Have you started picking your fantasy surprises and disappointments for this season?
M.J.D.: Not yet. I really want to sit down with the (Sirius XM fantasy) team I just picked, and we still have a couple more picks we're gonna do online, and I'm just gonna make sure I can get a couple sleepers and be able to make things go.
PFW: Did you think it was interesting that Coach Del Rio allowed you to have a radio show but wouldn't let David Garrard have one?
M.J.D.: No, not really. We're talking about apples and oranges. I'm talking about fantasy football, and David was doing a show that was asking about our game plan and really getting specific on things that you shouldn't be talking about. Even though David didn't answer, they were still kinda hounding him on it, so coach didn't really want to put him in that situation.
PFW: Which of your teammates do you think could be fantasy sleepers?
M.J.D.: Marcedes Lewis, Mike Thomas, I think David is going to come out and have a great year. I think we're going to have an exciting season for everybody, and our defense is definitely going to step up and make some plays as well.
PFW: Which RBs in the league today do you enjoy watching most?
M.J.D.: I watch everybody, and I try to take a little bit of everybody and kinda intertwine it to my game. I think that's how you evolve as a runner and get better is if you learn from other players and try to use it to your advantage. Chris Johnson, obviously the way he runs is real fluent. There's a lot of guys. I could talk all day about it; I don't want to bore you with it. Everybody has their own unique perspective, and it's going to be exciting to watch these guys play this year.
PFW: Any particular moves you've picked up that you've tried to incorporate into your game?
M.J.D.: Oh yeah, obviously open-field moves, spins, stiff-arms, there's a lot of great things that I'm definitely gonna try to put in — obviously catching the ball out of the backfield. (I'm) just trying to tear up the field and help my team get to the playoffs.
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