Lamar Jackson didn’t throw the ball much last season, only 170 times for 1,201 yards, despite starting seven games. However, he was 27th in the league in rushing with 695 yards, and he ran in five touchdowns. That kind of production in the running game makes him a unique fantasy option, and gives him a high floor in any given week. Jackson should benefit from Greg Roman continuing his role as the offensive coordinator. He’s worked with Colin Kaepernick and Tyrod Taylor in the past – both quarterbacks who excelled at making things happen with their legs. Plus, the additions of Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin in the draft gives him new playmakers to work with. No one ever questioned Jackson’s ability to chuck it downfield, and Brown has game breaking speed and excels at tracking the deep ball.
It’s hard to imagine Jackson keeping up the pace on the ground. He averaged 79.4 yards rushing per game after taking over as the starter, which seems impossible to maintain. That extrapolates to 1,270 yards over a whole season, which would be 231 yards more than the most ever by a quarterback. Michael Vick, the only quarterback to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season, had 1,039 in 2006. Even if he does keep up that kind of production, the amount of hits he takes by running the ball so much could open him up to durability concerns. Jackson will need to adapt and learn to the throw the ball more effectively. He’ll need to improve his 58.2% completion rate in order to do so. New targets will help, but his ability as a passer still has a ways to develop.
2019 Bottom Line
Jackson is an exciting, but risky option in all fantasy leagues. He’s got a great arm, a ton of athletic ability and a coach that has gotten the most out of similarly-styled quarterbacks in the past, but we still don’t know what kind of quarterback he can be long-term. However, we have Jackson ranked 17th among quarterbacks and his ADP is in the 13th round in 12-team leagues, making him worth the risk. With such little investment and such large upside based on his dual-threat ability, there’s no reason not to grab him late as a backup quarterback.