Why Fred Jackson Needs to Move up Your List of Top Fantasy Running Backs

By on

Jackson sees his opportunity in '09

So you’ve never heard of Fred Jackson short of the fact that he will be playing while Marshawn Lynch serves a three game suspension handed down by the NFL.

Jackson hasn’t done anything of significance to warrant picking him up in the first few rounds, unless you are a risk-taker, but surely a first or second pick for your fantasy running back.

Last season, the two year undrafted back out of Coe College rushed for 570 yards last year and only scored three touchdowns, in a reserve role with Lynch. Use this as a measuring tape that’s about 500 yards too short to measure his production in ’09.

Jackson has a 4.6 yards per carry average in his 24-game career. He only rushed the ball 130 times on a stagnant Bills’ offense that ranked 23 in overall scoring last year. Now they’ve got a solid group receivers in Lee Evans, Terrell Owens, and speedy Roscoe Parrish in the slot to take attention off of the running game.

As much as T.O.’s off the field issues may cause media melees across the country, in his first year with a new franchise he has helped SF, Phi, and Dal, rank 3, 8, 4, in scoring, respectively.

Buffalo Bills head coach Dick Jauron has said that Jackson will be the starting back while Lynch serves his suspension. He also said that Jackson will share carries with Dominic Rhodes.

Fred Jackson will take over the Bills starting role while Lynch serves suspension the first three weeks

Don’t assume that will spell low carries in Jauron’s traditionally run-first system. Expect Jackson to get 70 percent of the carries for the first three weeks.

The former National Indoor Football League and NFL Europa star is an exceptional receiver. He caught 37 passes last year and was most known for his yards-after-catch average of 8.2 yards.

His big play ability was proven last year in a couple of games towards the end of the season, most notably against the Denver Broncos on a 65 yard catch.  Jackson rushed for the winning touchdown in that game.

Jackson should carry some momentum from last season. He scored two of his three TDs in week 15 and 16 of last season. In week 17 he rushed for 136 yards on a windy day versus the Patriots when neither team scored more than one TD. 

Freddy won't be limited to a 'backup' role when Lynch's returns to the field. Expect the Bills to have an explosive offense in which not only those two backs, but also Rhodes will be overtly used. Formations will consist of two-back sets, with Jackson used as a receiver in multiple configurations. 

And don't be fooled by the Hall-of-Fame game, a team is not going to bring out all of their formations in preseason.  

Yes, so we all know the Bills will run the no-huddle. They didn't sign T.O. to be the same stale offense they've been for the past couple seasons under Jauron.

The Bills just inked Jackson to a four-year deal in May worth nearly two million a year, plus incentives. This is the underdogs first major signing in his career, and he’s looking forward to showing the Bills they made a right decision in signing him.

He’s also in the prime of his career at 28 years old, and was never fully utilized by the Bills in 2008.

So why is Fred Jackson ranked in the late twenties and even thirties for running backs on most people’s mock draft?

Will he be this year’s sleeper pick?

Only time will tell.