Posted by Anthony Stalter
Thursday, August 28, 2014 - 5:24pm
Steven Jackson suffered a hamstring injury early in camp but coach Mike Smith said that he expects his starting running back to be ready for Week 1. If he can stay healthy, Jackson's seventh round ADP does represent value for owners that will concentrate on receivers, tight ends and/or quarterbacks early in their drafts. Even though the Falcons drafted Devonta Freeman in May, he barely played in the team's third preseason game, indicating that he won't have a significant role in the offense (at least early in the season). (Jacquizz Rodgers has also proven over the years that he's no threat to be the RB1 in Atlanta.) If you throw out his injury-plagued 2013 campaign, Jackson has finished in the top 16 among running backs in fantasy every year since 2005. Despite his age and injury concerns, the Falcons still view him as the lead back.
Jackson only played in 12 games a year ago and is already coming off a hamstring injury suffered in camp. Hamstrings can be frustrating for athletes because they feel fine, only to suffer a setback when they test the injury. Thus, Jackson's situation is one to monitor throughout the first few weeks of the season. He also turned 31 in July and will run behind an offensive line that should be improved with the additions of rookie tackle Jake Matthews and free agent pickup Jon Asamoah, but has struggled with run blocking in preseason. Not that he was a road-grader, but losing starting left tackle Sam Baker (knee) for the season was a setback for the O-line as well.
It all comes down to injuries for Jackson. If he stays healthy for 16 games, then he's a huge bargain at his current seventh-round ADP. But the hamstring injury should make owners nervous because it's something that could wind up bothering him again down the road. The good news for potential Jackson owners is that the Falcons' brass is usually a year behind when it comes to judging when their running backs have run out of gas (see Michael Turner's 2012 season). So he's going to see plenty of work when he does dress, but he's seemingly an injury waiting to happen. If you've already taken your starting RBs and you're looking for depth, then Jackson offers plenty of value in the seventh round because he has RB2 upside. But you'll be rolling the dice if he winds up being the second RB added to your roster on draft day.