Despite not producing the All-Pro numbers we once saw out of him, there is no doubt that Steven Jackson remains one of the most talented running backs in all of football. His tenure with the St. Louis Rams has been a historical one, but it could be coming to an end, which makes him an even more appealing fantasy option.
It appears that Jackson will void the final year of his contract and will ultimately test free agency. One would assume that Jackson, who turns 30 in July, may not have much left in the tank, resulting in decreased fantasy value. But if Jackson lands on the right team, in the right offense, he will easily be a middle to top tier fantasy rusher. Sure, his 2012 numbers weren’t outstanding by any means (1,042 yards, 4 TDs) but I believe they were a tad misleading. He played in a division with arguably the best defenses in the league and on an offense with little to no passing game whatsoever. Of course, many teams in the league are interested in acquiring the veteran back, as they should be.
Many believe that the Falcons are the most logical suitor for Jackson. The team just recently released Michael Turner, who has been showing signs of slowing down. Think about it. A team that was poised for the Super Bowl but lost in the NFC Championship, why wouldn’t they target a veteran running back such as Jackson? In the Falcons high-powered, uptempo offense, Turner ran for just 10 touchdowns on 51 red zone attempts. He also only ran for 800 yards, his least since 2007. Jackson, meanwhile, only had 27 red zone attempts in 2012. I believe he is an all around better rusher than Turner, one that can capitalize on the numerous red zone opportunities he will likely get in that Atlanta offense. Oh, it also wouldn’t hurt that he would be playing in a dome once again.
The Broncos witnessed a mixture of players in the backfield last season. Between Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman and Knowshon Moreno, the Broncos never found a consistent rushing attack. While Moreno looked great towards the end of the season, I’m sure they are looking for someone more reliable. Steven Jackson, perhaps? Denver also has a dangerous passing attack, which could set up a handful of scoring opportunities for Jackson. Playing with a surefire hall of famer in Peyton Manning certainly wouldn’t hurt either.
Jackson will certainly have no trouble finding a new home, but will he find the right one to boost his fantasy value?
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy football/hockey columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.