The Philadelphia Eagles generated a lot of buzz by hiring Chip Kelly as their new head coach, and fantasy football owners have surely been intrigued by how the fast-paced offense he ran at Oregon will translate to the NFL.
A notable position battle is going on under center for the Eagles, with Michael Vick and Nick Foles getting an equal chance to earn the starting job. But Philadelphia’s wide receiver depth has taken a hit during training camp, with Jeremy Maclin and Arrelious Benn suffering torn ACLs, and the status of Riley Cooper after video surfaced of him uttering a racial slur may still be a question.
DeSean Jackson is now clearly the Eagles’ No. 1 wide receiver, but how should fantasy owners view him for this year?
Jackson had back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons in 2009 and 2010, with 20 total touchdowns in that span, but injuries have hampered him and led to a decline in his numbers over the last two seasons. His lack of size (5’10″, 175 lbs.) has not done him any favors in terms of avoiding injuries, and also limits his touchdown-scoring potential (six receiving touchdowns over the last two seasons).
Jackson’s speed makes him an intriguing fit as a potential multi-faceted offensive weapon in Kelly’s system, and he is expected to re-take punt return duties for Philadelphia after returning just one punt last season. Of course an increase in punt return duty will expose Jackson to further risk of injury, but the upside he offers in the role looks to be too much for Kelly and his staff to ignore.
Jackson can be bumped up a few spots on cheat sheets with Maclin out, and his potential in PPR leagues gets a nice boost with the likelihood of more targets. Owners in yardage-heavy leagues can also hold Jackson in a bit higher regard, in particular those in leagues that count return yardage with his role as punt returner coming back. But expecting much more than a handful of touchdowns from Jackson, or a full 16-game slate from him, looks foolish at this point.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.