Last year was truly a breakout season for Pierre Garcon in his first season with the Washington Redskins. The former Indianapolis Colts star compiled 113 receptions for 1,346 yards and five touchdowns. It was a season that proved his value was more than just as a deep threat receiver. His transition to being seen as a complete NFL wide receiver was complete and many years of elite productivity were predicted for him.
Not only was this exciting for the Redskins’ coaching staff, but it was equally as exciting for fantasy football players as well. In particular, Garcon’s production was seen as pure fantasy gold, especially for PPR leagues since he led the league in receptions and targets with 184. Additionally, he finished eighth in terms of receiving yards. The only knock on Garcon was his lack of touchdowns considering his gaudy receiving stats. Regardless, he still remained a viable option as a low-end WR1 in standard leagues and a high-end WR1 in PPR leagues.
Therefore, it must be a bit confusing as to why there is even a question in regards to buying or selling Garcon for fantasy football in 2014. The reason for the question is due to the addition of one man: DeSean Jackson.
In the same fashion as Garcon, Jackson had his own true breakout season in 2013. The former star receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles had a spectacular season in which he compiled 82 catches for 1,332 yards and nine touchdowns. All three of those numbers either represent a new career-best for Jackson or a tie. Unfortunately for fans of the Eagles, Jackson was released on March 28 and ended up signing with the Redskins on April 2 on a three-year, $24 million contract with $16 million guaranteed.
While this news made any Redskins fan happy, it struck fear into the hearts of fantasy players who fully intended on drafting Garcon.
With Jackson, there was now another elite receiving option in the mix, and it most certainly indicated less production for Garcon. Many fantasy football experts began to drop him on their receiver rankings list, and to be frank, that is a huge mistake. It is an even bigger mistake for any league with a PPR format. The role that Jackson will play in Washington will be very similar to his role in Philadelphia. He is a dangerously elite deep ball threat and not as complete of a receiver as Garcon has proven to be.
In situations where Robert Griffin III needs to complete a first down to a trusted possession receiver, the targets will still go to Garcon. Some of those targets may get split between him and Jordan Reed, but Reed was in the mix last year and Garcon was the top option to gain first downs on passing plays.
The only negative impact Jackson will have on Garcon’s production is with the deep balls. With his electric speed, D-Jax is superior to Garcon in regards to chasing down long passes for huge gains and touchdowns. Therefore, another 1,300-plus receiving season for Garcon seems unlikely. However, the drop-off won’t be as egregious as some fear since Garcon will still receive some deep targets, as defenses will focus more on stopping Jackson beating them deep.
With that being said, I’m buying Garcon as a low-end WR1 and an elite WR2 in standard leagues with confidence. As for PPR leagues, I’m buying Garcon as a WR1 with extreme and unwavering confidence, since his stats from 2013 should be somewhat similar in 2014. My current projection for him is to catch 85 balls for around 1,200 yards and 6-7 touchdowns, since I feel that the presence of Jackson will open up more scoring opportunities for Garcon.
If you’re a fantasy football player, the potential buyer’s remorse is minimal when it comes to drafting Garcon.