Week by week fantasy values drops further and further, much like any number of Sam Bradford’s passes. But surely Steven Jackson could escape the pull of the growing black hole that has become the Rams fantasy relevancy. Right?
Steven Jackson was adamant this preseason. He was the exception to the rule and fate NFL running backs hit upon reaching “that age.” He appeared to be right. For all of two plays…he appeared to be right. Taking his first play from scrimmage 47 yards for a touchdown. One carry and nine yards later and he was done for the day.
As badly as Jackson wanted to return, Spagnuolo held him out of the Giants game as a precaution, which was the right call. It opened the door to see what Cadillac Williams could do as their primary back. While Rams fans were hoping for the best, secretly Jackson owners were thinking otherwise. A great performance by Williams could lead to the dreaded running back by committee or at the very least take valuable carries away from Jackson
Not to worry Cadillac did nothing to alarm Jackson owners, and unfortunately nothing to excite Rams fans. Gaining a paltry 36 yards on 13 carries. The job and carries, and most importantly to Jackson's fantasy owners, his status as a RB1 were secure. At least heading into week three at home against the Ravens.
Jackson tried to return, but his thigh bruise limited his touches once again, making him a very poor start last week. Meanwhile, his work cut into Cadillac Williams’ touches. Combined, the two had 23 touches for 101 yards. With most of that going to Cadillac who finished with 75 yards on 18 carries. Respectable work in a blowout and however you look at it 4.2 yards a carry is solid.
Whether he wants to admit it or not, Jackson’s durability, at least for the time being, is called into question. If you own Jackson, and haven’t already, (and if you haven’t why are you even playing FFB because you apparently know nothing) you need to handcuff him to Cadillac Williams.
By going out and actually securing legitimate back-ups to Jackson, Devaney in turn gave Spagnulo the luxury of not having to push Jackson. And Spags has shown his reluctance to do just that. Sitting him in New York and pulling him in favor of Williams against the Ravens.
But neither is getting in the end zone, and this is perilously close to becoming a dreaded RB rotation. Do you cut bait? No. Who do you hold on to? Both. While I truly do not see this becoming a running back by committee it has definitely become a fantasy-handcuff. Leg injuries have a tendency to linger for running backs, especially downhill, bowl you over runners like Jackson.
My advice would be to sit Jackson against Washington. With the Rams bye coming the following week I think Spags will rest him to come back for what are two tough road games in Green Bay and Dallas and then back home against the Saints. Getting him healthy for the start of conference play should be a priority for the Rams. Sorry fantasy GM’s. If he does play he will share the load with Cadillac for the same reasons above.
If that is not enough reason to look hard at the Rams running back plays of either Jackson or Cadillac, look no further than the offensive line. Hardly pushing D-Lineman around (which helps the run so I’ve heard). Take a look through the rest of the Rams schedule and it does not exactly inspire confidence. You will see Green Bay, Dallas and San Francisco (twice). Right now the top three teams against the run in 2011. Cincinnati and the Saints are in the top 10 as well against the run and Pittsburgh is just outside though I’m sure that will change by the time St. Louis visits Heinz Field on Christmas Eve.
The Steven Jackson dilemma indeed.