- Dan Graziano, ESPN Staff Writer
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The contract mess is cleared up, his running mate should be 100 percent healthy and everybody on the team seems focused on atoning for all that went wrong in 2011. This, we are to believe, is what points to a big year for Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.
And it could happen, sure. Jackson is an elite talent -- as dangerous with the ball in his hands as any player in the game. If your fantasy league awards bonus points for long touchdowns, he's a guy who catches your eye come draft day. But Jackson isn't without his faults as a fantasy wide receiver, and as our fantasy experts discuss in this video roundtable, it's tricky to try and figure out exactly where to rank him.
Ken Daube points out that Jackson is still quite young (he is 25) and that his poor 2011 season shouldn't be held against him when forecasting this year and the remainder of his career. Ken remembers Jackson as "a monster" in 2010, and thinks his preseason ranking of 27th among wide receivers gives him the potential to be "one of the steals of the draft."
And, yeah, sure, on potential I can see Ken's point. My thinking on Jackson is that he's a tough guy to count on for a fantasy team. When he has one of his huge games, he can roll up 150 yards and two touchdowns on as little as two catches and win you your game by himself. But the following week, he might not break one. That might be the week he's just the downfield decoy keeping the safeties far away and he ends up with two catches for 24 yards. The lack of reliability, from a week-to-week statistical standpoint, is what has always steered me away from Jackson in fantasy leagues. I'd never pick him as a No. 1 wide receiver, because he can't be counted on to produce like one every week to the extent that the Calvin Johnsons and Larry Fitzgeralds can. I think his teammate Jeremy Maclin is a more reliable producer when healthy, and I'd probably draft Maclin before Jackson.
A ranking of 27 makes him a No. 3 wide receiver in a 12-team league, and I think that's fine. I could see making the case for him as a No. 2 if you really like your No. 1. And if he were my No. 3, I'd be ecstatic about that. We've all seen him look like the best player in the league for flashes, but (a) it's been a while since we've seen that and (b) even when we did, it wasn't every week. As a top fantasy wide receiver, he's just too risky for me.