DeSean Jackson has now migrated further south and has landed a deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The contract is for 3 years at $33.5 million, $20 million of that being guaranteed money. The numbers for this deal come as a bit of a surprise as DeSean has fought the injury bug often in his career, and has now reached the 30-year-old marker as well. Most would say the new Buccaneer has flashed at times but never hit his full stride. However, this contract shows the confidence Tampa Bay sees in him and we will dive in a bit to see why they see this as a huge advantage heading into next season.
We will go in the same format our newest esteemed Footballers’ colleague Mitchell Renz laid out in the previous article with Alshon Jeffery signing with the Eagles. We will look at the Buccaneers offense and what it means, as well as the personal fantasy implications for DeSean in this upcoming fantasy season.
Fantasy Reaction: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
No longer are the days of defenses in the league trying to leave a wandering safety or linebacker back in the secondary to double-team the beast of a man in Mike Evans. The signing of DeSean Jackson now puts a legitimate threat on both sides of the field for Tampa Bay. Jackson at the age of 30 is still one of the fastest wide receivers in the game today. Many of you may be scratching your head and thinking “At 30?! Are you sure?!” The answer to your question is simply yes. According to NFL’s Next Gen Stats, often seen and used in the XBox One application they have, Jackson’s routes all year long were increasingly faster than even the year before at the age of 29. It looks as though the former Cal Bear is just now entering his prime years. Jackson is also known to really get down the field quickly, creating a conundrum for opposing defenses trying to decide if they should look out for Evans or focus on DeSean’s blazing fast speed darting down the sidelines.
The biggest win in this whole situation is 3rd-year starter Jameis Winston. “Famous Jameis” came in 8th in passing TDs last year, and 16th in passing attempts amongst other QBs in the 2016 fantasy season. He targeted Mike Evans an astounding 173 times. The next receiver behind him had just 83 being Adam Humphries, spelled with a…well you know the rest of that statement! Now just think of the volume Jackson usually gets no matter what team he’s played for and the growing yards per catch he gets moving from 17.2 YPC in Philadelphia to 19.3 YPC in Washington. Add in the rise of a solid and cohesive offensive line, and this is going to help Jameis immensely rise up the fantasy draft boards, and now gives him a great shot at cracking the top 10 in fantasy QBs this season. This also relieves the workload for Mike Evans who will now have better one-on-one coverage against most cornerbacks and could leave great mismatches for him that could pay dividends for a breakout play or as a scary red zone threat. This move is exactly what the Buccaneers needed to push their offense along next season. Now let’s just hope DeSean can contribute all 16 games to see the true potential this unlocks for this NFC South team.
Fantasy Reaction: DeSean Jackson
Many see D-Jax as a true “boom or bust” player. Though I see more boom games coming in his new home in Tampa Bay in the near future, he still needs to stay healthy. When he is truly at 100% health, Jackson is one of the best deep weapons and threats in the game of professional football. DeSean was able to play 15 out of 16 games last year and was still able to go for 56 receptions, 1,005 yards receiving and had 4 passing TDs. He was targeted exactly 100 times by Captain Kirk Cousins in 2016. Though it’s possible those targets could diminish due to Evans on the other side of the field and the trust Winston has gained in Cameron Brate at TE, I still see value in DeSean for 2017. Is he a WR1? No, in fact, he’s more suited just like last year as a solid flex player that could put you over in the win column, and some weeks a low-end WR2 depending on the matchup and team the Buccaneers will face.
As a good way to monitor where Jackson is ranked and where he will wind up by draft season, be sure to frequently check out the site’s 2017 WR Rankings as Andy, Mike and Jason will keep this updated all year round for you all in both Standard and PPR formats. Currently, according to Fantasy Football Calculator, DeSean Jackson is currently the 37th ranked WR and can be drafted in 8th round, in the 10th spot. That is the 94th fantasy player overall.
This definitely puts DeSean as a sleeper contender in my book, and a player you can rely on to flex from week to week. You may be able to sneak him in a lineup here and there as well depending on where your bye weeks will fall. Do you think the 8th round is just right for Jackson, or would you prefer to reach higher or lower for him after this news broke? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter as well. Until then, be sure to keep it locked to The Fantasy Footballers Podcast each Tuesday and Thursday throughout the offseason and be sure to catch up on all the articles leading up to the beginning of the season as well. See you next time Ballers!