Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Justin Becker of Fantasy Football Overdose. You can follow the Fantasy Football Overdose Google+ Page, and for more Premier Fantasy Football info visit Fantasy Football Overdose – a fantasy football blog.
DeSean Jackson is no longer with the Philadelphia Eagles after being released by the team earlier this week due to off field issues. As a result of rumors tying him to gangs in Los Angeles, Philly no longer deemed it worth the risk to hold onto their star wide receiver, despite the fact that he was coming off of a career season. In fact, with the rumors heating up regarding his ties to L.A. gangs, they couldn’t even find a trade suitor.
Now a free man on the open market, it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone sees the value in D-Jax and snatches him up. There are still serious concerns about his personality and the people he associates with, but the right team could ultimately find a way to mentor him and make sure he’s on the path to success.
While we don’t know which team that will be just yet, fantasy football preparation is all about covering all the bases. Before Jackson officially signs on with his new NFL team, let’s take a look at his top known suitors, as well as some random dark horses and analyze his potential value for the 2014 fantasy football season:
The Raiders are the suspected frontrunners to land D-Jax, and for obvious reasons given that he played his collegiate ball at Cal. If Jackson lands in Oakland, it’s a huge get for a Raider offense that has just mediocre talent in their passing game at the moment. Jackson would immediately be their #1 wide receiver, ascending over the likes of Denarius Moore and Rod Streater. However, Jackson would see a major downgrade in coaching, offensive system, quarterback play and overall supporting cast.
There is a lot of potential downside here from a football and fantasy perspective. From both sides, Jackson is already a low character guy and now he could be playing on a bad team with poor influence behind him. At least in Philly, his negative ties weren’t next door waiting to get him trouble. In Oakland, they’d be a drive away. The upside is that Jackson is still an exceptional talent and he could be the missing piece the Raiders need to take their offense to the next level. They did bolster their rushing attack by bringing back Darren McFadden and also bringing on Maurice Jones-Drew, so adding Jackson rounds out there offense quite nicely. The Raiders did make a play to upgrade under center when they acquired Matt Schaub, but given his regression in 2013, he’s no sure thing. With all of these uncertainties, Jackson goes from a locked and loaded WR1 to a risky WR2 with the Raiders.
A little less likely than the Raiders at this point, Washington is still very much in play to land D-Jax. For one, they have a much more enticing situation under center, as Robert Griffin III would be much more fun to play with than the aging and regressing Matt Schaub in Oakland. In addition, the Redskins have solid talent in place with Pierre Garcon, Jordan Reed and Alfred Morris. Jackson wouldn’t be forced to come in and do it all by himself. New head coach Jay Gruden is also a borderline elite offensive mind, and would not have a shortage of ideas to help D-Jax be his best on Sunday’s. Best of all, Jackson would remain in the NFC East, where he’s had some of his best games and would also get two revenge games per season against the Eagles. Even better, he’d also stay away from the gang ties in Los Angeles – at least during the season. At the moment, the Redskins seem to be the best overall spot for Jackson to go. That’s the case for fantasy purposes as well, as Jackson would have a real shot at retaining his hard-earned WR1 value from last season.
St. Louis Rams
The Rams haven’t really been tied to Jackson at all, but they have been rumored to be looking for a go-to wide receiver and still don’t really have one. When you’re tied to Kenny Britt, there’s little reason to avoid the possibility of a different troubled receiver like Jackson. It’s not all that likely, as the Rams do have two first round picks and could spend one on a receiver, but it wouldn’t be shocking either. Jackson would be a high-end WR2 on the turf in St. Louis.
Kansas City Chiefs and New York Jets
Both the Chiefs and Jets were originally said to be seriously interested in going after Jackson, but have since supposedly dropped out of the running. Part of it could be the fact that Washington is very serious about acquiring him and they don’t want to even try to compete with Daniel Snyder’s deep pockets; but the biggest reason appears to be Jackson’s character issues and off-field concerns. This is a big deal when you consider Andy Reid coaches the Chiefs and is the guy who drafted D-Jax in the first place. It’s an even bigger deal when you consider both teams desperately need help at wide receiver — especially KC at this point. Still, unless their newfound lack of interest is just a smokescreen, it looks like they’re bowing out.
While neither place is a likely destination at this point, both could be good spots for Jackson’s fantasy value. With KC, he’d have Reid in his corner and would be at least a solid WR2. In New York, he could reunite with Michael Vick and would play across from Eric Decker. He’d be a high-end WR2 there as well.
Ultimately, it’s going to come down to Washington or Oakland. And where Jackson ends up could easily determine if he maintains consistent deep threat value that can blow up on a regular basis. If he goes to Washington, it’s very likely he’s as good as he was in 2013, if not even better. If he lands in Oakland, his 2013 statistics could take a progressive dive.