By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Fantasy football is over. Or is it? Because I see it as the beginning. The beginning of the start of your season. Now is where you get the edge on your league mates. If you know all the ins and outs of who goes where – from players to coordinators and position coaches – you’re priming yourself for a trip to your fantasy playoffs in the upcoming season.
First comes free agency, then comes the draft. Sounds like the start of a fantasy addict’s nursery rhyme, but I digress. There will be plenty of content coming your way from Club Fantasy on this year’s draft class, but first, we start with NFL free agency.
This series will cover offensive players, as they have the most impact in fantasy circles and we at Club Fantasy don’t play individual defensive players, or IDPs as the kids call it these days.
Next up on the free agent preview list: Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
In fantasy circles, DeSean Jackson is a headache to own. You love his big play ability, and when he goes off for 100+ yards and 2 TDs, you’re ecstatic. But just as happy as you were with that performance, the next two weeks are filled with rage and hatred over his 1 catch for 15 yards or 3 catches for 23 yards. But that’s the story of Jackson’s career.
Only once in his career has Jackson ever had more than 62 catches in a season – that was 2013, Chip Kelly’s first year with the Eagles, when Jackson had 82 receptions. He’s put up over 1,000 yards in five of his nine seasons in the NFL, and he averages 17.7 yards per reception over his career. He is unquestionably the best deep threat in the NFL today.
So why did the Redskins let Jackson hit free agency? They do have a player on their current roster, Jamison Crowder, who can do a lot of what Jackson can. They also spent a first round pick in 2016 on a wide receiver, Josh Doctson, and they need to find ways to plug holes on their defense. The Redskins say they want to bring back Jackson, but it doesn’t look like those stars are going to align. With Jackson looking at what could likely be his last big pay day in the NFL, he is looking to cash in on his second 1,000 yard receiving season in three years.
So who will be lining up to sign the speedster?
Much like with the Bears’ Alshon Jeffrey, the Eagles will be interested in just about every free agent wide receiver that hits the market. They lacked production on the outside, but most importantly, they lacked a true speed threat that could take the top off a defense.
Oh, and Jackson once played for the Eagles, and he’s a fan of head coach Doug Pederson. He also has a lot of friends on the team. Could a reunion be in order?
If you ask me, Jackson would be a short-term add, or a “band-aid,” as GM Howie Roseman referred to such investments in the past. Those are types of players Roseman and the Eagles want to get away from. The Eagles also have a young wide receiver corps, and if you’re going to add a veteran, add someone that wants to help the young guys and be a mentor for them. That’s never been Jackson’s style.
Jackson is likely to cost less than Jeffrey and command less years, so he could be attractive to teams on that front, but I think the Eagles will pass at the end of the day.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs have the fifth most cap space in the league at almost $62 million, according to overthecap.com. They also have a huge need for a number two wide receiver opposite of star wideout Mike Evans. Pursuing Alshon Jeffrey would seem redundant, as his skill set is similar to that of Evans. Add to it his price tag would naturally be higher and that takes us to Jackson.
Jackson claims he can still run a 4.3 40-yard dash. And he’s 30 years old. If defenses have to account for that type of speed, it opens a lot of room for the likes of Evans. And if defenses want to move a safety over to help double team Evans, you leave the whole field open for Jackson to hit the home run. Or if defenses decide to split the safeties to each cover Evans and Jackson, tight end Cameron Brate will own the middle of the field.
What am I missing? If this isn’t the perfect marriage, I don’t know what is.
Los Angeles Rams
A California team – where Jackson is from – with a new head coach, the Rams have some free agents at wide receiver of their own, but Jackson has more of a track record than any of them. Jackson would reunite with new Rams HC Sean McVay, formerly the Redskins’ offensive coordinator. Jackson knows the offense, and would be an instant asset to young quarterback Jared Goff.
He fits best in an Eagles uniform. He used to wear one so I know this to be a fact. Signing Jackson to, say, a two year deal for about $8 million a year would give them speed on the outside while they let guys like Nelson Agholor and Dorial Green-Beckham mature. They could even spend a high pick on a receiver – Corey Davis or Mike Williams in round one could be options – and when Jackson’s contract is up, they’re in place to take over. But the Eagles need a true number one. Jackson is best as a complimentary piece.
I don’t think Jackson returns to Washington, so my money is on the Bucs. Seriously, it’s a perfect marriage. I now pronounce them team and new acquisition.