Jennings is in the prime of his career, he's got an amazing quarterback throwing the ball to him, and he is the #1 receiving option on one of the best offenses in the NFL. He's an "A" player.
But, he's been banged up most of the year and there are even rumors that they are considering keeping him out until after the week 10 bye. That means three more missed games and four more missed weeks. And, Jennings is so good that if you drop him he'd certainly be picked up right away. Someone is going to be willing to stash him for those four weeks, so it might as well be you since you have already made the investment.
There are other obvious players in this situation like DeMarco Murray and Hakeem Nicks. Ahmad Bradshaw was banged up earlier this year and came roaring back. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson are trying to work themselves back into shape right now. Antonio Gates is also an "A" player, and up until this past week his picture was on a milk carton.
So, what do you do with these guys? You really only have two options:
- Trade them for a "B" player
- Stash them and hope for the best
In general I'm an advocate of stashing the player, and I'll explain why.
Let's look at Jennings. You probably took him in the late second round or more likely somewhere in the third, which is a sizable investment. You probably grabbed two "B" player receivers a little later and maybe a fourth option who is a "C" player with upside. Something like that, anyway: A stud WR1, two guys to rotate at WR2, and a bench guy who could blow up.
In any given week, let's say you start two WR's and possibly three if you put a WR in your flex spot. Additionally, for the sake of argument, let's say that Jennings won't play until week 11. You could deal him for a "B" player right now and get the production of that guy for the next four weeks (big bonus) and beyond.
But, let's think about what that does for you. Sure, you have the option of playing the matchups with your (now) three "B" receivers. You can mix and match and use that flexibility to help you win each week. This is an undeniable benefit.
But, to me, there are greater advantages to stashing the "A" player. Look, you've already got your two "B" guys plus another guy with upside. You might also be able to grab someone off of the waiver wire who is a good one-week fill-in. You can still play the matchups almost as effectively as if you had that third "B" level player.
The big thing, though, is that you'll have Jennings for weeks 11, 12, and 13 and also into your playoffs. He can be a difference-maker for you down the stretch and help you to win in the post-season.
That is huge. I don't care if you go 13-0 in the regular season or if you limp in with a 7-6 record, when those playoffs hit everyone is 0-0 again. Give yourself every advantage you can in those weeks, assuming you can get in fact get there.
Which leads me to the last thing... If you don't have Jennings, or Nicks, or Murray, or someone like them, start testing the waters to see if you can acquire one.
You saw what Nicks did for the Giants in the real-life playoffs last year. Give him a chance to lead you to victory this year.