Tuesday, 26 July 2016 00:00

Why DeSean Jackson is still deadly as ever

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DeSean Jackson has been a model of consistency throughout his career. He's a valuable fantasy football option in 2016, especially at his current ADP. DeSean Jackson has been a model of consistency throughout his career. He's a valuable fantasy football option in 2016, especially at his current ADP. Karen/Flickr

Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson has long been placed into the boom/bust category when it comes to fantasy fantasy football, but that is a misleading title. Some get hung up on his lack of high reception totals, others worry about his lack of double digit touchdown seasons or his failure to produce is postseason games. But despite some minor flaws in his overall production, he's actually been one of the more effective and consistent options for fantasy owners in recent memory.

Through his first eight seasons, Jackson recorded at least 900 receiving yards six times and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark four times. In just his second year (2009) he finished as a top 4 fantasy wideout. He ranked in the top 15 in 2010, the top 30 in 2011, was top 10 in 2013 and landed in the top 16 in 2014. You'd be hard pressed to find too many other receivers that good or that long of a period.

The 5'10 speed demon has made a living stretching defenses down the field, with an impressive 17.7 yards per catch for his career. This is why looking at Jackson's current 2016 ADP (average draft position) at WR34 is kind of silly when you look at how productive he's been throughout his career. He should be getting drafted higher but he simply isn't.

To put his ADP into context, Jackson is getting drafted after players like Eric Decker (WR25), Jordan Matthews (WR29) and Devante Parker (WR32). Recency bias certainly plays a role in Jackson's undervalued ADP since he's coming off his worst season as a pro after finishing with 528 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2015. Injuries played a role, as Jackson was bothered by hamstring issues that sidelined him for six games.

But you can't say any of those three receivers mentioned above have strung together the same number of successful fantasy seasons as Jackson has. The closest of the group was Eric Decker, who finished as the No. 7 overall fantasy receiver in 2012 and ranked No. 9 in 2013. Even so, Decker benefited from an exceptional situation with Peyton Manning obliterating passing records under center during those two seasons.

But situation isn't always going to play into your favor in fantasy football, so you want a guy who's effective regardless of the quarterback throwing to him and Jackson is that guy. Sure, he's had a few less-than-eye-popping seasons, but all you need to do is take a look at his overall body of work and you'll realize he's actually never really had a down year when he's on the field.

If you look back at when Jackson's situation might've impacted his numbers negatively, he still produced quality numbers. For example, he failed to generate as much success playing with Michael Vick in 2011 and 2012 after it became clear Vick's mechanics were flawed and he stood little chance of becoming a consistently effective pocket passer. Still, Jackson finished the 2011 season with 961 receiving yards and also managed 700 receiving yards in 2012 despite playing in four less games.

Jackson saw his best season in 2013 when he played the majority of snaps with Nick Foles, a quarterback who could throw the ball deep and take advantage of Jackson's speed. A year later in 2014, Jackson signed with Washington and produced another 1,000-yard season playing with a below-average tandem of post-ACL-injury Robert Griffin III and a still-in-development Kirk Cousins.

So assume Jackson enters 2016 healthy which he currently is, this is a great season to snatch him up in later rounds. He's now a part of one of the best receiving cores in the NFC as Washington now has a matchup nightmare in Jordan Reed, a jump ball receiver in Josh Doctson and two quality possession receivers in Pierre Garcon and Jamison Crowder. Quarterback Kirk Cousins gained a slew of confidence after leading Washington to the playoffs and winning the NFC East. Jay Gruden's offense has also lead to increased passing touchdowns for quarterbacks, just look at Andy Dalton's 2013 season when the Red Rifle threw 33 touchdowns.

Draft Jackson as a solid WR2/3 this season and don't look back.

Last modified on Friday, 22 July 2016 03:09
George Banko

George Banko started talking about fantasy football shortly after graduating college. He started as an intern at FFChamps.com before working as a staff writer for Fantasy Knuckleheads. He currently contributes to the Fantasy Hot Read podcast, which is available on itunes. He also educated himself on player evaluation and is a graduate of The Scouting Academy in 2015, which is an online course run by former NFL Scout Dan Hatman. He started Fantasy Football Helpers as a blog in 2011 and converted it to a full-scale website in 2014. Read more.

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