Will St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson be a fantasy football contributor this year?
The end of May is still a little early for fantasy football rankings. For fans of the St. Louis Rams that doesn't really matter, as most fantasy work is based on precedent and that does not favor a team that could barely scrape together 12 points a game last year.
Nevertheless, a new set of rankings out today from Rotoworld includes a familiar face for Rams fans. Mike Clay put Steven Jackson on his list of top ten running backs for the season, right at No. 10. Here's his reasoning for the ranking:
Jackson has seen, at least, 65 percent of the carries and 11 percent of the targets for the Rams over the last four years. Additionally, he's been responsible for 67-plus percent of the team's rushing scores in each of those seasons. Jackson averaged 19.4 carries and 4.3 targets-per-game in the 13 complete games he played in 2011. His 4.4 YPC was his highest mark over the last four years.
The two questions around Jackson from a fantasy football perspective are, for me anyway, touchdowns and health. His rushing yards have been nice, but only 11 touchdowns in the last two seasons limit his fantasy value. A better Rams offense should help, as will a coaching staff with more proclivity to pounding the ball in short yardage situations. Once again, the unknowns around the offensive line also make a big difference.
As far as health goes, Jackson has been remarkably healthy considering the workload he's been carrying. He was limited to just 260 attempts last season, which bodes well for this year. Isaiah Pead figures to take away some rushing attempts, but that too could make Jackson a more productive part of the offense.