In one of my favorite time-killing activities every year during the month of May, I’ve begun compulsively scanning fantasy mock draft websites to see who like-minded people are drafting in the early rounds. Typically I’ll look towards non-PPR scoring set-ups where touchdowns are valued the same whether thrown or scored, and even in these formats I’m seeing Atlanta Falcons‘ free-agent signing Steven Jackson pervasively landing in the top 10.
Granted, there are no jellybeans laying on these drafts and these random “pick-up” mocks, if you will, just drift off into the ether of cyberspace to often never be gazed upon again. Still, at this point in the still-early offseason these mock draft forums provide an intriguing sample to see who’s drawing interest at the very top of the draft, and whether a player like Jackson — who seemed relegated for No. 2 fantasy back at-best status last year — is suddenly surging into the top 10 in the minds of many. Seeing how free agency and the draft shuffle fantasy rankings is one of those precious things that keeps fantasy football so intriguing in this waiting period.
I, however, would temper expectations for the new Falcons featured back. I will grant that Jackson’s career numbers will always underrate him due to the St. Louis Rams‘ offensive line ranging from horrific to more recently mediocre, but I actually believe that Atlanta’s run push in 2013 will be worse than what the Rams got moving in 2012. Pro Football Focus did give the Rams a run block grade ranking them 25th and the Falcons 26th last season, and Atlanta just lost its two best-performing lineman, center Todd McClure and right tackle Tyson Clabo, this offseason.
Jackson also turns 30 in July — which is about mid-life crisis time in running back years — having already compiled over 2,800 career touches. Perhaps he does a better job at the goal line than Michael Turner last year, but I wouldn’t be shocked if that 4.1 yards-per-carry mark dipped even further in 2013.