Fred Jackson: Bills RB's Status Crushes Fantasy Value vs. Patriots

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer ISeptember 26, 2012

Aug 30, 2012; Detroit, MN, USA; Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (22) against the Detroit Lions in a preseason game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-US Presswire

Heading into Sunday's game against the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson is listed as "questionable."

Jackson reportedly wasn't happy with how his sprained knee felt in practice on Wednesday and said Thursday's practice would likely determine his Week 4 status, according to Tim Graham of the Buffalo News.

The reality is, he's not worth starting on your fantasy football squad regardless of his condition come Sunday.

That's because the Patriots' run defense is vastly improved this season and Jackson will undoubtedly be rusty if he plays.

New England has allowed 3.3 yards per carry this season, fifth in the NFL. They did allow Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice to rush for 101 yards and a touchdown last week, but, then again, that's Ray Rice.

The Patriots allowed only 3.2 yards per carry against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 2 and held Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson to four yards on 11 carries in Week 1.

So, what has changed for New England this season?

Well, for one, they have two promising rookies in defensive end Chandler Jones and outside linebacker Dont'a Hightower. Inside linebacker Brandon Spikes has also performed well overall (although the Ravens game was an exception). 

The Patriots finally addressed their needs at defensive end and outside linebacker this past draft and it has shown. For a team that allowed 4.6 yards per carry last season, the improvement is certainly noticeable.

Jones and Hightower will undoubtedly go through their fair share of growing pains this season, but, the fact of the matter is, they have already filled what were once gaping holes in the Patriots' defense. That can't be ignored.

Jackson is a star running back, but he will understandably be shaky if he makes it onto the field on Sunday. That, coupled with the Patriots' improved defense, doesn't make him a worthy start for fantasy owners in Week 4.


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