St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson: 2012 Fantasy Football Profile

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St. Louis Rams RB Steven Jackson: 2012 Fantasy Football Profile
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With the exception of his rookie season (2004), Rams running back Steven Jackson has been a workhorse back and has rushed for 1,000 yards or more every season.

That's a remarkable feat for a number of reasons, including the fact that Jackson played in only 12 games in both 2007 and 2008.

While Jackson clearly is a talented back, he is also a volume runner. As a versatile back, Jackson has been one of the league's better receivers out of the backfield.

Over that seven-year stretch, Jackson has a league-high 8,420 rushing yards on 2,004 carries in 101 games. During that span, Jackson has averaged more than 1,200 rushing yards per season, nearly 20 carries per game (19.85) and only 4.2 rushing yards per carry.

Although he only had 38 receptions in 2007 when he played 12 games, Jackson has had at least 40 receptions in six of the past seven seasons. In fact, he even had a 90-reception season back in 2006. He's averaged exactly 50 receptions per season during that span.

As the focal point of the offense, Jackson has not been helped much by his supporting cast. The team's offensive lines is one of the worst in the leagues and the offense had a league-worst nine passing touchdowns last year.

While the Rams ranked last in the NFL in scoring offense in 2011, Jackson ranked ninth in the league in rushing with 1,145 yards. In addition, Jackson had 42 receptions for 333 yards and scored a total of six touchdowns.

Speaking of touchdowns, Jackson surprisingly has few touchdowns considering his size (6-2, 230-plus pounds). With the exception of his monster 2006 season, Jackson has no other season with double-digit touchdowns. In the past five years, Jackson has a total of 27 rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns.

Along with his lack of touchdowns, his biggest concern for him is the cumulative effect his workload has (or may have) had on him. Although Jackson is under 30 (turned 29 last month), there are no running backs on an active roster with more career carries than Jackson (2,138).

 

In fact, there are only three others with at least 1,500 carries: Willis McGahee (1,790), Frank Gore (1,653) and Cedric Benson (1,529).


Strength of Schedule

Based on the cumulative fantasy points allowed to running backs last year by all of the Rams' opponents this year, Jackson and the Rams' RBs have the 29th-most favorable schedule from a fantasy perspective. That said, they have the most favorable schedule in the fantasy postseason (Weeks 14-16). They face the Bills, Vikings and Buccaneers in Weeks 14, 15 and 16, respectively.

 

2012 Outlook

With the transition to new head coach Jeff Fisher, the team's offense will be run-oriented as it has been during his days in Tennessee. Beyond his control, two main problems for Jackson will be his weak offensive line and lack of an elite passing offense to keep opposing defenses honest. While I'm skeptical that he'll continue to hold up for the next couple of years to the pounding an NFL running back takes, especially considering his previous workload, Jackson goes into the season as a workhorse back and will provide fantasy owners with consistent and steady production as long as he stays healthy.

 

Projection: (Rushing) 1,165 Yards, 5 TDs; (Receiving) 40 Receptions, 340 Yards, 1 TD

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