Jacksons have been much cause for debate in fantasy circles this summer. At running back, the Yahoo! Fantasy experts debated the merits of Steven Jackson and Fred Jackson. And at receiver, another pair of Jacksons, DeSean and Vincent, has them locking helmets once again. The two wideouts are fighting for a final spot among the top 25 of the receiver rankings for ‘12.
Yahoo! fantasy expert Brandon Funston looks to tip the scale in DeSean’s favor:
D-Jax is one of the premier deep threats in the league. He proved that in the 2009 and 2010 seasons, hooking up with the big arm of Michael Vick for an NFL-high 18 receptions of 40-plus yards over that span. In those two campaigns, he averaged more than 1,100 receiving yards and 10 TDs, and he produced an unrivaled highlight reel along the way.
Last season, a contract issue spoiled the encore. Disgruntled, disconnected and disruptive, Jackson turned in a disappointing effort. But, with a satisfactory paycheck now being delivered, D-Jax has all the same elements from’09-’10 in place to take flight once again. The Eagles are a pass-happy offense. And head coach Andy Reid is a master of getting the ball in the hands of his playmakers – D-Jax has averaged 13 rush attempts per season and has combined for seven rushing and punt return touchdowns in his four-year career.
In Tampa Bay, Vincent Jackson has landed with a team that will be staunchly pro-run. The jump from San Diego to the opposite side of the country is also symbolic of the philosophical differences in offense of the Chargers and Bucs. In place of the gunslinging Philip Rivers, V-Jax can expect calculated down field shots from QB Josh Freeman, under the control of conservative head coach Greg Schiano. Even in San Diego, Vincent wasn’t quite able to match DeSean’s per game fantasy production from ’09-’10. It’s even less likely that he will be able to keep pace in a less potent environment.
The environment for fantasy success clearly favors D-Jax.
Brad Evans comes to the defense of Vincent Jackson:
Moving from left to right coast during the offseason, the former Bolt should pick up where he left off a season ago. Last year, though wildly erratic at times, Vincent mustered a 60-1106-9 line, equivalent to 10.6 fantasy points per week, the 17th-best output among pass catchers. D-Jax ranked just 29th in the same category.
Many would express concern of V-Jax’s setup entering 2012. First-year head coach Greg Schiano is conservative-minded. With one of the NFC’s finest offensive lines and a two-pronged rushing attack spearheaded by first-round pick Doug Martin, the Bucs are expected to lean on the run. But pounding the rock should benefit the pass game, presenting many favorable opportunities for V-Jax beyond 20 yards, an area where he excels. His blend of size, athleticism and leaping ability will tax many corners. Josh Freeman, who possesses a strong arm, should have little difficulty dropping the ball over the top. Without a doubt, he’s Tampa’s No. 1 weapon.
DeSean, too, is an excellent talent. He’s one of the league’s supreme streak receivers. However, he struggled mightily against press coverage last year. Worse, Michael Vick, who was blasted repeatedly, was unable to deliver the ball consistently to his receiver. Unless the Eagles’ protection up front improves, a similar scenario could unfold. More discouraging, Jeremy Maclin, who dealt with numerous injuries last year, is healthy, making D-Jax the likely second choice.
In this epic Battle of the Jacksons the clear-cut choice is Vincent.