2015 Fantasy Football: Does Vincent Jackson Still Offer Value?

As a fantasy football analyst, I have to rely on numbers and experience to offer sound advice. There are generally one or two players each season who I want to draft, however, just because I have “that feeling” he’s going to have a good year. Even if every stat indicates that I should avoid Vincent Jackson, I’m finding myself with the urge to pull the trigger on him in later rounds.

Let’s look at the facts:

1. He’s a 32-year old receiver.

2. He has a new offensive coordinator.

3. He will catch passes from a rookie quarterback.

4. His receiving yards dropped from 1,384 yards in 2012, to 1,224 in 2013. In 2014, his receiving yards dropped even further with 1,002.

5. His touchdown production took a huge dive in 2014.

6. Mike Evans.

I get he’s lost a step. His better years are behind him. Evans is a stud, and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins might have a bigger role this year. I know. That ADP at the end of Round 6, however, seems to call my name. Is it really so bad? Is my Fantasy Football intuition leading me in the wrong direction?

Vincent Jackson and Consistency 

Bob Lung, of Fantasy Football Consistency, breaks down deeper data with a user friendly approach.

You can visit here to find out more about his methodology, but essentially, he is establishing a baseline of what counts as a quality performance. He is also stacking up how other players compare to each other in terms of their consistency, and he has a lot of data to help you identify who really is consistent from week to week.

From 2012-2014, Jackson ranked 17th in terms of Quality Games Earned. This is one notch below Julio Jones (27), and one notch above Torrey Smith (25). Jones took a hit though because he was injured in 2013, which greatly effected his total.

As you can see from the data, Jackson’s Quality Games Earned totals have dipped.

Fantasy Football

The decrease doesn’t bolster my confidence, but I think there is a silver lining worth mentioning. Despite receiving 160 fewer yards in 2013 than he did in 2012, Jackson only finished with one less Quality Earned Game. I believe the big reason for that, is the fact that Jackson only caught one less touchdown in 2013 than he did in 2012. In 2014, however, Jackson only hauled in two touchdown receptions.

This is where logic and that gut feeling are fist fighting each other.

Unmeasurable Fantasy Football Factors

For unmeasurable data, I’m reading into possibilities since I can’t rely on facts in this department.

Rookie quarterback Jameis Winston has received comparisons ranging from Eli Manning to Ben Roethlisberger, so you should get the picture that he isn’t very mobile. As a rookie quarterback, he may promote tight end Seferian-Jenkins to his main safety blanket when he gets in trouble. The 6-foot-5, 262 pound-tank has some decent jets for his size, and he should be much more involved in the offense than he was in his rookie season.

Outside of tight ends, rookie quarterbacks tend to lean on veteran receivers. Veterans have the skills to anticipate what the rookie is trying to do, and that gives the quarterback a reliable option if a play breaks down. Veteran James Jones finished with 111 targets from Derek Carr, which was a team high for the Oakland Raiders. Granted, Carr did not have a ton of options, but a veteran receiver can be crucial to the development of a young quarterback.

There is also the possibility, however, that Winston connects with Evans as his go-to-guy. The other possibility is that Winston doesn’t connect with any of his receivers and struggles immensely. From the article on BucksNation.com, Sander Philipse reviews the possibility that Evans and Jackson may not be able to help out the young quarterback whatsoever.

It’s true that despite the presence of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, Matt Leinart did not excel in his rookie year or career with the Arizona Cardinals. I don’t think you will see such an epic meltdown for Winston, but there’s always the chance that he just doesn’t work out as an NFL starting quarterback.

Vincent Jackson’s 2015 ADP

Here are what your options look in standard scoring leagues for receivers in Round 6 and in Round 7 according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com.

2015 Fantasy Football ADP

Right off the bat, I don’t like Jeremy Maclin this year. With a healthy Travis Kelce more involved in the lineup, I don’t see Alex Smith suddenly favoring his wide receivers. So, he’s out for me. I actually like Jarvis Landry in this spot, and with DeVante Parker questionable for Week 1, I like him even more. Because of the upside and reinvented Dolphins’ offense, I’d be willing to take a shot on him over Jackson.

After Jackson, we have rookie Kevin White of the Chicago Bears. I know how talented he is, but there are a few hangups that are preventing me from embracing White. Victor Cruz may be a steal here, but he still has to compete with Odell Beckham Jr., Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell and pass-catching back Shane Vereen for the attention of Eli Manning. His health and age also suggest caution when I consider drafting my favorite end zone dancer on the New York Giants.

I don’t think Nelson Agholor is bad in Round 7, but I’m not sure if I would take him over Jackson. If I really wanted Mike Wallace or Roddy White, I would take my chances and wait towards the end of Round 7 to see if they were still available.

The production all depends on how well the Buccaneers’ offense functions of course, and you are also placing a bet against Jackson’s age. Still, if the Tampa Bay Offense starts rolling and the offensive coordinator places Jackson all over the field exploiting mismatches, why couldn’t he finish with another productive year?

Conclusion on Vincent Jackson in 2015

I think Jackson is still a tricky character to place. I don’t think you can just rely on the numbers, and you have to take a guess bets on how well Winston will perform. I like him for best ball scenarios like MFL 10s, and I don’t mind giving him a bench spot in regular leagues. As the offseason drags on, I’m going to try and find any news that indicates who Winston is forming a better connection with.

Right now, I’ll draft Jackson if he falls to me at a favorable spot.

Jack Delaney is the owner of Your Fantasy Football Coach. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook, and make sure to check out his new ebook The Smart Fantasy Football Investor: 2015 Edition to start preparing for your 2015 Fantasy Football draft.

Categories: 2015 Fantasy Football

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