DeSean Jackson's Upside Makes Him a Huge Fantasy Football Value
As a general fact of human existence, inconsistency frightens people.
Whether it is inconsistency found in a partner, a job, or any other important facet of life, we tend to shy away from things that our brains tell us we cannot regularly count on. When it comes to fantasy football, our brain generally wants to behave in the exact same way.
This brings us to DeSean Jackson.
A brain belonging to any knowledgeable football observer probably shudders at the mention of his name. Jackson, to the section of our brain concerned with consistency, is exactly what we should be avoiding.
His PPR scoring totals from last season, charted below, are the exact example of a volatile, boom-or-bust fantasy receiver in picture form (or the polygraph results of someone with something to hide). (Jackson missed Week 13 due to a bruised shin.)
But even though last season was a roller coaster ride for fantasy owners rostering Jackson on a week-to-week basis, I still believe there are reasons to take the perceived gamble on him again in 2015.
Cost Of Acquisition
We know from looking at the chart above that Jackson was an inconsistent fantasy scorer from week-to-week in 2014, which led to him finishing as the WR23 in PPR scoring, just slightly ahead of A.J. Green.
He did so catching passes from a weekly quarterback carousel, which if Robert Griffin III improves from offseason coaching additions and can somehow stay healthy, he may not have to deal with in 2015.
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Jackson is currently being drafted as the WR28 -- a small, but still relevant discount from his finish in 2014. Add in the fact that Jackson (6.04 overall) can be had almost three full rounds after Brandin Cooks (3.05) and the value sandwich becomes complete.
Say what you will about the bump in targets Cooks should see with the departure of Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, but the fact remains that Jackson vastly outperformed him last season from an efficiency standpoint.
More on that to come.
Using numberFire’s Net Expected Points (NEP) metric, which indicates how far above or below expectation level a player performs, we can see that Jackson was among the league’s best in efficiency on a per-target basis last season.
Out of 58 wide receivers who saw at least 80 targets, Jackson finished third in Reception NEP per arget. Only Kenny Stills and Dez Bryant were better in the grouping.
His 0.94 mark meant that for every target he saw, he scored almost an entire point for his team. Cooks, on the other hand, registered a 0.60 Reception NEP per target.
Now entering the prime of his career, Jackson’s efficiency on a per target basis has risen over the past three seasons.
|Year||Receptions||Targets||Reception NEP||Reception NEP per Target|
Embracing The Volatility
Over the span on his seven-year career, Jackson has shown the ability to stretch the field vertically, post insane yards per catch totals, score touchdowns on an elite level despite his lack of size (nine touchdowns in both 2009 and 2013), and exhibit top-tier efficiency metrics.
Even though he fits much better in a best-ball format where the low-scoring weeks are filtered out, Jackson still provides value at a Round 6 ADP in re-draft leagues.
Drafting Jackson is not for the faint of heart and probably best for those with a gambler's mentality. Your brain will probably advise against it on draft day. But for those owners looking for a potential week-winner not named Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas or Odell Beckham, Jackson is a solid option who can be had in the middle rounds.