Fred Jackson, RB, Bills
|RB - #42||113.05||BUF||Out||9 years||33||6'1||216||@Fred22Jackson|
2014 Outlook: Fantasy HandcuffLast updated on Jul-06-2014 by Rusty Reeves
Jackson played a full slate of games last year after a couple of injury-shortened seasons, and he responded by gaining more than 1,200 yards from scrimmage to go along with 10 touchdowns. However, he is clearly Buffalo's No. 2 running back entering 2014 and will see his role reduced as the Bills try to get Spiller involved more often. Given Spiller's rather slender build and history of getting dinged up, Jackson makes for a wise mid-round selection as an insurance policy. He caught a career-high 47 passes and averaged 4.3 yards per rush in his age-32 season, so he's definitely got some gas left in the tank. Jackson said he wants to play a few more seasons in the NFL, but they will likely come with some other team as he is in a contract year.
It took only 10 minutes of game time Sunday for the injury bug to tear down Buffalo's running game. Now the Bills will spend the next few weeks trying to build it back up, at least until Fred Jackson comes back from his groin injury. C.J. Spiller and his broken collarbone may never come back.
Fifth-year running back Anthony Dixon hopes that the team calls upon him first in its effort to replace those two players. He says he's ready for such a call.
"This is opportunity I've been waiting for, to get back in that workhorse role and show people what I can do," Dixon said to The Buffalo News after Sunday's last-second win over Minnesota. "I want to show people what I could do in college and high school.
"I feel like I really didn't get labeled right coming out of college. People tried to do something else with me, make me somebody that I really wasn't. ... Put me in short-yardage, say I couldn't run routes or I ain't got hands.
"I don't see what they're seeing. I'm ready for the opportunity."
Dixon spent the first four years of his pro career with the 49ers and didn't handle more than 30 carries in any season past his 2010 rookie year. That was something else Dixon lamented Sunday, saying the Niners "never gave me a chance to have this opportunity. That was one of the reasons why I had to get out of there."
So he signed with the Bills in March and has carried the ball 20 times in the past two games alone. But he's not alone in this backfield. The Bills also have Bryce Brown, although you wouldn't know it if you've watched any Bills games this season; he has been a healthy scratch for each of them.
Brown, 23, certainly doesn't lack NFL ability. He is 6-feet tall, weighs 220 pounds and has 4.4 speed. The Bills sent a conditional 2015 fourth-round pick to the Eagles in May for his services, so their brass must see something in him. That "something" was on full display when Brown got back-to-back starts in place of LeSean McCoy in 2012. He gained more than 370 yards from scrimmage and scored four times in those two games. You saw that speed and power wrapped up in one eye-opening runner.
But not all that glitters is gold. Once defenses started to catch on to Brown, he showed an overwhelming desire to take every carry to the perimeter of the formation. He does a poor job of following his blocks and prioritizing ball security. His inability to play special teams is why he has been sidelined up to this point, but now the Bills have no choice. They really must play him.
But will he get more work than Dixon? That's what fantasy owners are pondering as they put in those FAAB bids tonight. If the coaches just wanted the more talented player, Brown would be the better pick, and it wouldn't be close. As highly as Dixon thinks of himself, he is what everyone says he is and everything he thinks he's more than: A grind-it-out, physical runner who can attack the middle of the line in short-yardage. He isn't a good receiver. He doesn't have enough juice to get to the outside and can't cut on a dime. He doesn't offer the flash that makes Brown so enticing. Dixon is just steady. He hasn't fumbled the ball in 187 career touches, and the Bills know what they can expect out of him after seeing him play these past two weeks.
That familiarity may be Dixon's biggest advantage. We've already seen how Doug Marrone and his staff handle skilled-but-flawed runners -- See: Spiller, C.J. They may be just looking for the dependable guy whom they know will be able to at least keep them afloat while they wait for Jackson to come back. Brown's upside is certainly greater, but he hasn't played in a regular-season game in 10 months.
I don't think either player is worth emptying your fantasy wallet for. Again, both will probably be playing bit parts once Jackson is ready to return, perhaps as soon as Week 11. But if you are desperate and need a player out of this backfield to start for you right away, Dixon is the better add, I think. He gained 51 yards on 13 carries last week. I could see him getting as much work this Sunday against the Jets before Buffalo heads into its bye.
But if you want to invest in a future for bench depth, try Brown. At some point, I would hope, Buffalo has to understand just how much more special he is than Dixon as an athlete. Maybe they never will, but if those coaches continue to run Dixon out there without giving Brown a chance, they'll be limiting the potential of their own offense.
FFToolbox NFL News & Rumors10/21 - Bills RB Anthony Dixon is ready for his close-up
10/20 - Report: Bills RB Fred Jackson will not play in Week 8 due to groin injury
10/19 - Bills RBs C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson injured
10/19 - WR Sammy Watkins goes off, QB Kyle Orton leads Bills to comeback win
10/19 - UPDATE: Bills RB C.J. Spiller to undergo season-ending surgery on collarbone
10/18 - Bills OC says he wants to continue 'feeding' RB C.J. Spiller
10/12 - Who's in and who's out of the early games in Week 6?
9/29 - Bills bench QB E.J. Manuel for Kyle Orton
Latest References to Fred Jackson on FFToolbox:
2014 Mock Draft Results
FFToolbox Mock Draft July 21
|12.03||Mr. Landry - Maybe a better pick than last rounds McFadden. The old man continues to put up rock solid numbers. He was a RB1 last year and split carries with Spiller almost 50/50. He'll most likely lose carries with the addition of Brown, but even so he could finish in RB2RB3 territory.|
FFToolbox Mock Draft July 14
July 14, 2014
|11.08||#28 World Ranked - Here's another shot in the dark at RB. Jackson has been productive when called upon. He's a good value here.|
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