It's the question sure to dominate conversations among even the least nerdy of fantasy football aficionados. With Steven Jackson's holdout now approaching the third week, it's starting to coincide with plenty of fantasy football drafts. Add to that the poor showing from the Rams first team offense, albeit without Jackson, against the Titans this weekend, and there's reason enough to pause and wonder about drafting Jackson when your turn to pick rolls around, especially if you've got an early first rounder.
After holding steady under 5, Jackson's average draft position (ADP) at Mock Draft Central has fallen to 5.03, in drafts conducted between August 4 - 11. The latest he was picked in any of those drafts was 8th. That's pretty good, and you can bet that while there will be some teeth gnashing when it comes to this question, Jackson's still worthy of a top five pick in you fantasy league.
The holdout will end soon. The Rams have lots of pressure on them to turn things around this season. Nobody's under the illusion that this is a Super Bowl team, but less than 5 wins won't be tolerated, not even with their tough schedule. The Rams brought in Al Saunders to fix an offense that's been broken at best the last two seasons with Linehan calling the plays. From the moment they announced his hiring, Saunders has been talking about making Steven Jackson the centerpiece of the offense, consistent with Saunders' work in KC with Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson. That hasn't changed, and after Saturday's showing against the Titans, the Rams know they can't begin the season without Jackson and expect anything more than what they had last season. I'd be really surprised if Jackson weren't signed in the next two weeks.
Don't worry about rust either. Jackson's taken good care of himself through the offseason; he even had a colonic. For Jackson, the playbook won't be much different than it has in the past; think 2006 when he had 346 carries and 90 receptions. If anything, holding out ought to save his legs just a bit. He will, however, need to get into camp and get some work in the preseason. Last year, when he played just a few series in the preseason games, he had a terrible first week, fumbling twice against Carolina. The Rams remember this, and that will figure into the contract talks, once they start. Fantasy wise though, even with a hiccup in week one, Jackson should still be fantasy gold for the rest of the season. It'll just suck for Rams fans.
Conclusion: forget about how he burned you last year, draft Steven Jackson with pride...and feel free to send me a percentage of your winnings if you've been so inspired by this post.