Fantasy Football: Jackson Will Still Get Lots of Action

Posted on September 24, 2009 by Keith Kraska

I read a comment today that said something along the lines that Buffalo Bills players are never good fantasy starts.

It was at least partially tongue-in-cheek, but truth is, that’s been the case more often than not in recent years.

However, this is the year that changes.

Fred Jackson has been a windfall to his fantasy teams so far. He has one more week with the Bills’ backfield all to himself, and you can’t ask for much more than what he’s done with that golden opportunity. He’s accounted for over 44 percent of the Bills’ total yards from scrimmage. He’s fifth among all running backs in standard fantasy scoring, and that’s not counting PPR numbers.

But will it continue this week against New Orleans? The Saints have yielded few yards on the ground, largely because opponents have to pass all day to try to keep up (a futile endeavor so far).

So there are two schools of thought here:

1. Jackson won’t get as many touches because the Bills will have to throw downfield in a shootout.

2. Jackson will get a ton of touches because the Bills will want to eat the clock on offense and keep Brees & Co. off the field.

I vote the latter…  Jackson is still an excellent start.

A fair barometer is what the Eagles did last week against the Saints. Philly’s backs, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy, are also dual threats. Individually they didn’t do much, but combined they had 121 yards from scrimmage and seven catches.

Jackson doesn’t share the backfield like they do, so it’s safe to think he can at least match that total, and add a touchdown or two on top.

As for the other Bills’ fantasy options, cha-ching.

Trent Edwards can set career highs this week, considering Kevin Kolb racked up 391 yards and two touchdowns last week against New Orleans on 51 attempts. Of course, that’s good news for Terrell Owens and Lee Evans, too. Heck, even Shawn Nelson may be a sneaky sleeper this week if healthy — Brent Celek had eight catches for 104 yards last week.

On the other side, the Saints’ frikkin waterboy could start against Buffalo’s 31st-ranked pass defense. Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey especially should have huge games against Buffalo’s linebackers in generous Cover 2 seams. They’re also Brees’ safety valves in case the Bills bring the blitz.

Ugh fantasy stat of the week: Buffalo has allowed 21.5 points per game to tight ends; the second-highest total is 14.5.

The only thing that may put a damper on this fantasy bonanza is the weather. Showers are forecast with double-digit winds at the Ralph, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Unless it’s a monsoon, the whole weather issue is overrated.

Buffalo’s fantasy forecast gets much murkier after this week when Marshawn Lynch returns. But for now, it’s still all Fred, all the time.

Thoughts from around the league:

* All of you who pounced on Mario Manningham get a delicious opportunity right away as he goes against a Tampa Bay defense that’s gotten torched by long touchdown passes. Who would have guessed that Manningham would lead all receivers two weeks in?

* Another fantasy gold mine this week is Jacksonville at Houston. The Jags’ Mike Sims-Walker was another hot waiver pickup; he’s their deep threat with Troy Williamson done for the year. Steve Slaton will begin to reward those who have remained patient through his poor start.

* Chris Johnson owners need not worry as he faces the stingy Jets. If they blitz like they have, “Every Coach’s Dream” will burn them. He had nine catches in his monster game last week. In the same vein, I’d go with Leon Washington over Thomas Jones for the Jets.

* Running back prospects Felix Jones and LeSean McCoy were popular this year because they play behind injury-prone starters in Dallas and Philadelphia, respectively. Well, Marion Barber and Brian Westbrook are dinged up, so the kids’ time to shine may have arrived. Their opponents, Carolina and Kansas City, are terrible against the run, so the understudies should have nice games even if the starters do suit up.

* In recent years, a Cowboys-Panthers matchup would have favored the defenses, but not this time. Tashard Choice makes a good flex start if Barber can’t go. Even Jake Delhomme may be useful if you’re a McNabb or Hasselbeck owner.

* Don’t think the Bengals offer a chance for the Steelers’ weapons to have a big day. Last week, loaded Green Bay struggled at home against Cincy. The Bengals — yes, the Bengals — lead the league in sacks, and Big Ben usually takes a pounding anyway. Antwan Odom has seven of those sacks, along with 10 tackles.

* It makes me ill as I write this, but get Willis McGahee into your lineups if he isn’t already. He has four touchdowns in two games, and Cleveland has allowed the second-most points to running backs.

I can’t write any more. I have to throw up after the Willis entry.

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