On The Decline
Steven Jackson is a tough player to rank heading into the 2012 fantasy football season. He will only be 28 this July, and while runners can often play at an elite level through the ages of 29 and 30, I don’t think that will be the case for the Rams’ running back.
First, let’s take a look at Jackson’s workload over his eight NFL seasons:
|Yr||TM||G||Ru||Ru Yds||100+||Ru TDs||Re||Re Yds||100+||Re TDs|
As you can see, Jackson has carried the ball 2,139 times during his eight-year career, and if you add in his 369 receptions, you’re looking at 2,508 touches since 2004; that breaks down to an incredible 313.5 ru/rec touches per season.
To put this workload into perspective, during seven NFL seasons, Priest Holmes racked up 1,713 ru/rec touches before falling from the elite and never again playing more than eight games during a single season. Want another example of how overworked Jackson is heading into his ninth NFL season? Remember good old Shaun Alexander? The fantasy superstar had six incredible fantasy football seasons, rushing for 1,880 yards and 27TDs during his sixth NFL campaign. After that elite season, and after totaling 1,905 total ru/rec touches, Alexander went on to miss six games that very next season and he never again rushed for over 900 yards.
All in all, Jackson had an outstanding fantasy season in 2011, as he rushed for 1,145 yards and 5TDs; he also pulled in 42 receptions for 333 yards and 1TD. If you look at the game logs, though, Jackson struggled big-time during weeks 11-17, and more importantly, if you actually saw the games and watched him run, Jackson showed some serious signs of slowing down. During that time span, Jackson had just one outing with over 76 yards rushing, and he had just 1TD.
I don’t think it’s crazy to put some trust in Jackson in 2012, but it just comes down to the cost. According to our DraftCalc ADP, which is compiled using an average of several industry ADPs, Jackson is going to cost fantasy owners a third-round pick in 2012 — That’s way too “high-risk/medium-reward for me. Instead, grab a Mike Wallace, Trent Richardson or my breakout candidate Julio Jones… Jones’ ADP could climb above Jackson’s, know that, but for now Jones is falling into the 3rd-round right where Jackson is getting slotted.