After the 2014 NFL Draft and training camp gets underway, it will be easier to have a fuller picture of Jackson’s role in this offense, but it is never too early to start speculation. While Alfred Morris provided a solid rushing attack for the team, the Redskins will look to improve on a 16th ranked passing offense in 2014. With a healthy Robert Griffin III and offensive guru Jay Gruden, Washington can become an absolute powerhouse on offense.
When trying to analyze when to select Jackson, it is important to review the fantasy production of his new teammates. The 1,346 receiving yards for Pierre Garcon allowed him to rank eighth among his fellow wideouts in receiving yards in 2013, but his five touchdowns were not a significant factor in his fantasy production. Tight end Jordan Reed should be able to improve on his 499 receiving yards and three touchdowns in nine games from 2013, but Garcon was the only relevant fantasy football receiver for the Redskins.
Even though he only scored five touchdowns, Garcon still ended up as the leader in touchdown receptions for Washington. It is clear that Jackson will need to find his fantasy points from scoring touchdowns. I expect him to beat defenders deep down the field at least three times a game, and he should be able to turn one of those targets into a touchdown every other game. For fantasy purposes, that would be six touchdowns before your fantasy playoffs just from deep targets. He will have some opportunities in the red zone, and he should have a total of 11 touchdowns by Week 14.
The receiving yardage total for Jackson is difficult to predict, but he should have a minimum of 800 yards and a maximum of 1,050. If you split the difference, that should allow Jackson with 925 receiving yards on the year. If Jackson can finish the year with over 900 receiving yards and 10 or more touchdowns, he could wind up as a top-15 wide receiver. Larry Fitzgerald finished the 2013 season ranked 16th among wide receivers with 954 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, so Jackson has a good shot of hitting those numbers.
I still have not answered the key question: When should you draft Jackson? To use Fitzgerald as an example again, he was generally selected at the end of the third round in a 12-team league. For me, that is way too early to select a player who scored fewer points than Anquan Boldin and Pierre Garcon whom were both generally drafted at the end of the sixth round.
A comfortable spot to draft Jackson at would be in the sixth or seventh round. By that time, you will most likely have your quarterback, running backs and some other receivers selected. At the very minimum, Jackson will finish the year as a top-20 receiver. At his best, he could crack the top 10.
Selecting Jackson is a solid game plan for your draft in August, but don’t overreach for him. Let someone else do that.