In another major move involving a wide receiver, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have agreed to terms with Vincent Jackson on a five-year contract. It’s a move that gives the veteran wideout the long-term deal he’s desired for years, but it’s not going to help his fantasy appeal.
In fact, I think this move makes Jackson a bit less desirable.
Sure, he’ll step right in and become the team’s unquestioned No. 1 wideout. But new coach Greg Schiano is expected to utilize a run-based offense that won’t allow Jackson the chance to put up huge fantasy numbers. Also keep in mind, the Bucs still have Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow in the pass attack – and Jackson won’t have Philip Rivers throwing him the football. Josh Freeman is a good quarterback and his fantasy appeal increases with Jackson in the pass attack, but he’s clearly no Rivers – at least not at this point in his career.
On a positive note, Jackson will face one of the more favorable schedules (based on fantasy points) at his position – he’ll even square off against his old team, the San Diego Chargers. But I now see him as more of a high-end No. 2 fantasy wideout rather than a true No. 1 option.
In San Diego, I don’t think Jackson’s absence is a statistical death sentence for Rivers. Keep in mind, he threw for a career-best 4,710 yards with 30 touchdowns in 2010 – that’s the same year Jackson held out and missed 11 games. So instead of worrying about Rivers, think about who might step up and be more valuable in the pass attack – Malcom Floyd and Robert Meachem immediately come to mind as possible fantasy sleepers for next season.
Oh, and then there’s Antonio Gates. If he can avoid injuries, Gates could be a beast.