Desean Jackson Could Bring Jameis Winston from Good to Great Fantasy Option
Desean Jackson is a game changer. There’s just no way around it. His speed is a threat that must be respected every time he’s on the field. He may not be very fun to play due to his incredible inconsistency, as he tends to rely on big plays that don’t come on a weekly basis as of late.
This year, he will probably be drafted in the mid rounds and give you a few good weeks, if you start him. But I’m not writing this to talk about him exactly. Instead, I wanted to look at how much better he has made his quarterbacks in the past, and what that could mean for an already steadily improving Jameis Winston. Jackson’s speed is there. Teams will respect him when he’s on the field.
How much better has Jackson made his other, and often weaker, quarterbacks? That will give an idea what we can expect for Winston, and in turn, Mike Evans, Njoku, and more. To do this, I’m using the RotoViz Game Splits App.
Eagles and Vick, Foles, and so on
The first thing I realized when looking at Jackson’s time with the Eagles was how many quarterbacks he played with. But the three main ones he was with were McNabb, Vick, and Foles.
From 2010-12, Vick played 33 games with Jackson, and 2 games without. Small sample size, but in those two games without Jackson, Vick scored more than 12 points less. Over that period, Vick averaged 25.11 points per game. During his Atlanta years when he became a sensation, he averaged only 18.04ppg.
For those who remember Nick Foles, the one year wonder, he averaged 24.28ppg in the 13 games he started, all with Jackson leading the receivers. The next year, Jackson left, and Foles ended up being benched. Now clearly Jackson wasn’t the only reason why Foles stunk, but with it’s another piece of the clear puzzle that Jackson simply makes offenses run better.
Redskins and Kirk Cousins
Cousins played with Jackson longer than anybody, 30 games over 3 seasons. Due to some recurring injuries, over the past 3 seasons Cousins played without Jackson in 13 games. This gives the clearest comparison for a Jackson’s effect on a QB.
The splits show a very clear effect. Cousins scored an average of 23.36 points with Desean Jackson, and 16.6 points, over a touchdown less, without him. This is equal to the difference between being a QB1-3 and QB11-13. Unsurprisingly, the biggest change was seen in pass yards; Cousins threw nearly 90 yards less a game when Jackson was out of the lineup. Simply put, Jackson made Cousins, an already good QB, much better.
What it Means for Winston
Jameis Winston was QB16 last year, with no great pass catchers after Evans. Adding Jackson is sure to change the offense significantly, when Jackson is on the field at least. Without the significant running boost of others, Winston is going to need to significantly raise his touchdowns and yards while lowering his interceptions per pass. Last year he was not very efficient compared to the likes of Carr, Rivers, and Stafford, let alone the top 5.
Having a guy who can ease the intermediate passing lanes could definitely change this. I’ve been a fan of Winston since he came into the league. If I’m looking for a top 10 QB who’s being drafted just outside that in ADP, he’s my guy.