Newly acquired Atlanta Falcons’ running back Steven Jackson is quite an intriguing player for the fantasy football 2013 season. Jackson, in recent years, hasn’t been viewed as a big-time running back in fantasy leagues. The 29-year-old running back is entering his 10th season in the NFL and while not posting record shattering numbers, Jackson has been known as ole’ reliable. Plain and simple, he gets the job done each and every week. The 2013 season will tell a different story, bringing about unseen things from Jackson to his stat column which will be a goldmine for any of his owners.
In the 2013 offseason, Jackson announced that he would be leaving a St. Louis Rams team which drafted him as the 24th overall in 2004’s NFL Draft. Jackson had been quoted as saying he wanted to play for a “contender.” After looking at multiple teams, including the Green Bay Packers, Jackson finally landed on a team that has been a perennial playoff contender, the Falcons.
Jackson is coming off a season in which he recorded 1,042 rushing yards with four touchdowns. Last season, only 16 running backs throughout the NFL eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark. Keep in mind that Jackson was on a team that couldn’t seem to get much of anything going, no real rhythm to their offense and at times looking desperate to find something that worked.
In this aspect, the Falcons are the complete opposite of the Rams. The Falcons have been clicking on all cylinders making postseason trips the last three seasons and rostering some big time players including Matt Ryan, or ”Matty Ice” and Julio Jones.
The Falcons were looking for a change of pace at running back and clearly an opportunity to do so in Jackson, signing him to contract for $12 million with $4 million guaranteed.
The consensus around the football world is that Jackson may be worn out or have his best days behind him. In no way is this the case.
Jackson does get numerous touches each season, 2,395 in his nine-year career with 257 of them last season. Having his number called so often each game, Jackson has not been under the 1,000-yard mark since his rookie season in which he only has 134 attempts. Having a 1,000+ yard rusher on your fantasy roster is essential in helping your team in the quest to fantasy glory.
A Jackson naysayer may point the fact that he rarely finds the end zone and thus not worthy of drafting off of yards alone. Yes, he hasn’t had more than six touchdowns in the past four seasons but recall my point above about the team he was playing for. In his first season with the Falcons, Jackson will find the end zone more than he has in the past four seasons. His new coaching staff knows how to handle every game placing effective game plans into place each week. When the game is on the line for the Falcons, they will place the ball in the veteran’s hands, relying on him heavily and they will use their offseason acquirement in ways we have not seen in recent years.
Expect Jackson to be heavily involved in the passing game in the 2013 season. Jackson has always been a factor out of the backfield gaining over 300 yards in each of his past five seasons. Recall Jackson’s 2006 season when he had 806 receiving yards with three touchdowns. With Ryan being the quarterback throwing to Jackson, don’t be surprised to see Jackson produce the same or even better yards in receiving this season.
Jackson will produce high numbers to any fantasy team owner who drafts him. He’s currently slotted as 32nd overall on the top 200 fantasy players in 2013. If you find yourself on the clock in third round, looking for your second running back, you won’t be disappointed in drafted Jackson. In fact, you’ll be glad you did.