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DeSean Jackson: Overvalued going into 2010

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson is arguably the most exciting player in the NFL. Last season, he had 10 plays of 40 or more yards, tops among all players. In addition, his 18 plays of 20 or more yards ranked in the top five among overall fantasy players. Much of

Jackson
’s success can be attributed to ex-quarterback, Donovan McNabb. McNabb’s big arm stepped up nine of these 10 big plays.

However, entering the 2010 season,

Jackson
must work with new starting quarterback Kevin Kolb. Kolb has only played in 12 games during his three-year career. In limited action last season, Kolb displayed flashes of his potential. In two starts against
Kansas City and

New Orleans
, Kolb racked up 718 total passing yards while throwing two touchdowns. More impressively, Kolb completed 65 percent of his pass attempts during these two games.

However, we must take these gaudy numbers with a grain of salt. The Chiefs were the 30th ranked pass defense last season and since the Eagles were trailing the Saints for their entire contest, Kolb attempted 51 passes. Kolb also threw three interceptions against the Saints, one of which was run back for a touchdown. Like all young quarterbacks, growing pains are expected. However, I just see one drawback in Kolb’s game that gives me pause about

Jackson
’s value: the lack of a true deep ball.

While not known for his pinpoint accuracy, McNabb can fall-out throw a great deep ball. Since 2006, McNabb has always finished among the Top 5 quarterbacks in terms of 40+ yard plays. McNabb claimed first place last season, producing 17 plays of 40+ yards, six of which went to

Jackson
for long touchdowns. I know that Kolb hit

Jackson
for a 71-yard score against the Saints last season, but it was on a blown coverage early in the game. Expect defenses to key in on

Jackson
this season and allow other Eagle receivers to beat them.

The Eagles figure to run more of a ‘dink and dunk’ offense with Kolb leading the offense. This type of offense really does not suit

Jackson
’s style of play. Of his 1,156 receiving yards last year, only 420 yards came after the catch (YAC). His 36 percent YAC is considerably low when you compare him to other big-play receivers. Miles Austin had a YAC of 46 percent. Wes Welker led the NFL with 54 percent.

Jackson
ranked 46th among receivers in red zone targets, so he really doesn’t have much value around the goal line. So, basically, get the deep ball to

Jackson
or his value takes a big hit.

I’m not suggesting

Jackson
will become totally inept with Kolb under center, but he earned his reputation as a No. 1 fantasy receiver with McNabb putting him in great down field 1-on-1 matchups. Can Kolb do this? We really do not know, but his high completion percentage (63 percent average between college/NFL) suggests that his strengths lie within the intermediate game.

With a first-year starter under center, I don’t expect

Jackson
to have 10+ plays of 40 or more yards this season. The Eagles will ease Kolb into the offense with a lot of low-risk, intermediate routes. As the season goes along, the Eagles will loosen the grip on Kolb, giving

Jackson
more opportunities downfield. I just don’t think he can duplicate his ten plays of 40+ yards. I could see him breaking off six 40+ yard plays with eight being the ceiling. Even if this prediction holds up, that shaves off roughly 160 yards and two scores from his 2009 totals. This is a lot considering

Jackson
had only amassed 1,156 yards on 63 catches last season.

According to Fantasy Football Calculator,

Jackson
is currently being selected as the 23rd overall pick in drafts, ninth among wide receivers. I like Marques Colston (10th), Greg Jennings (11th) and Sidney Rice (12th, assuming Brett Favre returns) more than

Jackson
heading into this season. All three receivers provide great value around the goal line and all have better quarterbacks throwing to them.

Finally, like most big-play receivers,

Jackson
is a feast-or-famine type of fantasy player. In terms of standard league scoring,

Jackson
posted six games of 15+ points in 2009. He also posted four games of four or fewer points. There are just too many red flags for me to draft him as my No. 1 receiver this year. Draft with caution, but I can guarantee you that he won’t be on any of my teams …

Fantasy Sharks Projection: 70 catches, 1,200 yards, 9 TD.

I think the catches are about right, but in my opinion, the yardage and touchdowns will be lower.

My Projection: 70 catches, 1,100 yards, 6 TD.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.