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Darrell Jackson

Last season Darrell Jackson finished with 63 catches for 956 yards and ten touchdowns.   He only played 13 games, injuring his toe in a Week 14 game that ended his season. For a guy who scored in nine games last year - more often than Chad Johnson or Roy Williams -- he didn't get a lot of credit from fantasy owners.

But remember that those stats - while nice - were earned in only 13 games (and he missed parts of those games).  Extrapolate that out to a full sixteen game season and Jackson would've finished with 77 catches for 1176 yards and 12 touchdowns.  In point-per-reception leagues he would've been top ten, but in non-PPR leagues stats like those would've made him the second or third best WR in fantasy last season.   That's Darrell Jackson.  Top Three.  Really.

But of course there are two major differences this season compared to last.  First, Jackson was traded to the Forty Niners and waves goodbye to QB Matt Hassselbeck.   Before you laugh at the downgrade in quarterback, remember that Jackson played four games last season (and scored 3 TDs) with Seneca Wallace as his starting QB.   While Alex Smith might not be as good as Matt Hasselbeck, he might be as good as a Hasselbeck/Wallace mashup.  There is a drop-off in QB quality for Jackson, but not that great a drop-off.

Secondly, Jackson is still hurt.  He claims his toe is healing and he just received medical clearance to start practicing this week.  You'd hate to have to draft a fantasy WR who is coming into camp hurt, but assuming all goes well, he should have enough time to get ready for Week 1.

A lot of people are projecting Alex Smith to improve his game this season, and I'm one of them.  If he does, then a healthy Darrell Jackson has the opportunity to put up outstanding numbers this season.  Keep an eye on Niners camp, if Jackson's healthy then move him up your draft list.  Jackson will probably drop far in your fantasy drafts, especially if there's still concern about the toe.  If you can get him as a #3 WR, you could end up with the steal of your draft.