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Fantasy Football Preview - Tarvaris Jackson

Last season the NFL player I mocked the most was probably Minnesota QB Tarvaris Jackson.  By the end of the season, my mockery was justified - he finished with 1911 passing yards, 9 touchdowns,  12 interceptions and a QB rating of only 70.8.  Not good.

To be fair, it wasn't entirely Jackson's fault.  The emergence of Adrian Peterson and the powerful running game of Chester Taylor meant Jackson wasn't called on to throw very often.  Even if he needed to throw the ball thirty times a game, there wasn't anybody to catch the ball.  Steve Young would have a hard time putting up fantasy-worthy stats if all he had was Bobby Wade and Robert Ferguson.  Yikes.

Realizing that having at least a decent passing game makes the difference between finishing 8-8 (as they did in 2007) and making the playoffs, the Vikes tried to trade for Texans' backup Sage Rosenfels but didn't want to pay the second round pick Houston was asking for.  Instead, Minnesota signed ancient backup Gus Frerotte.  Yeah, that'll do the trick.

Reasons to upgrade - Jackson only has 14 career starts, so he's still very young and he should build on last year's experience.  WR Bernard Berrian moves into the #1 WR slot.  WR Sidney Rice looked good in his rookie year and he should be even better this year. There's nobody else challenging Jackson for the position.

Reasons to downgrade - The Vikings won't turn into a passing offense as long as AP and CT are running the ball.  

Conclusion - I had thought this would be another Jackson hit-piece, but now that I lay it out there's every reason to expect improvement from Tarvaris Jackson this season.  Even an improved Jackson is only worth a #3QB role on your fantasy team but if several quarterbacks get hit with injuries and Rice really breaks out, then Jackson might find a way onto your fantasy bench.