No, you aren’t dreaming.
DeSean Jackson, wide receiver who has spent his entire career with the Philadelphia Eagles, will be lining up against them twice a year for the next three seasons. Division rival Washington Redskins agreed to a three-year deal with the speedy wideout on Tuesday night, frustrating beloved Eagle fans everywhere. I’m going to let that situation play out on it’s own, as it’ll be fun to watch Jackson face the team that cut him twice in 2014.
I’ll stick to the fantasy aspects of the move, of course.
The Redskins already have a very good number one receiver in Pierre Garcon, who set a franchise record for receptions in a single season last year (113). But still, this team needed another wideout, and Jackson is a very good fit. While it’s common sense that Jackson will take targets away from Garcon, is he really going to kill his fantasy value in D.C.?
I’m not so sure.
In 2013, Garcon was force-fed the football. Alliteration. He finished the season with the league lead in targets with a whopping 184. And while many believe that number isn’t sustainable (you are probably right), quarterback Robert Griffin III absolutely loves to look for this guy. During his rookie year, RG3 targeted Garcon religiously when he was healthy. Over his last five games of the year, Garcon averaged a healthy 9.2 targets per game. The two have an incredible rapport and that won’t change with the arrival of D-Jax. Sure, Garcon won’t lead the league in targets again, but why couldn’t he finish top-10?
We all know Jackson is a guy who either beats you deep with his speed or via screen pass. That’s it. And considering that the Redskins quarterback doesn’t air it out downfield as much as other signal callers in the league, we may not see that deep ball a whole lot. According to PFF, Griffin attempted 36 passes traveling 20 yards or more, which was among the lowest in football. In fact, just 9.2 percent of his passes traveled 20 yards or more. Granted, he was very effective and accurate when doing so, but I still feel like Garcon’s route tree is more advanced and he will likely be open more than Jackson, resulting in more targets. Besides, having a deep threat like Jackson across from him should help Garcon draw more single coverage.
And with all of this in mind, consider that RG3 will be a lot better in 2014. He’ll (hopefully) be 100 percent, and that will be massive for Garcon. Last year, according to CBS, only 124 of Garcon’s 184 targets were catchable. Griffin was often off-balance and awkward in his deliveries, probably due to the ACL and fear of re-injury.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like Jackson being in Washington won’t take some looks away, but not nearly enough for fantasy owners to shy away from him. Draft him accordingly. Maybe not top-12, but pretty still pretty darn close.
Adam Pfeifer is a featured fantasy sports columnist for Rant Sports.
You can follow him on Twitter @aPfeiferRS.