Vincent Jackson Injury: Projecting Fantasy Status for Patrick Crayton

Adam OdekirkContributor IIOctober 9, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - SEPTEMBER 25:  Wide receiver Vincent Jackson #83 of the San Diego Chargers carries the ball against linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California.   The Chargers won 20-17.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

San Diego Chargers fans can only wonder what a completely healthy Vincent Jackson could do against the rest of the NFL. That's a scary proposition, because even a hobbled Vincent Jackson is pretty productive when he makes his way onto the field.

On only three catches last week, Jackson struck for over 100 yards and a touchdown despite coming in and out of the game with nagging injury issues. It proved to be enough for the Chargers against the sputtering Miami Dolphins, who did not pose a serious comeback threat.

Had the Dolphins been more aggressive and been able to keep starting QB Chad Henne in the game, it could have been a different story. If so, Chargers fans have to wonder: What if another player would have been asked to step up?

Many experts feel like Patrick Crayton could be that player for San Diego. 

Going into a game against a very weak Denver Broncos secondary, it is likely Vincent Jackson will be active and see the field. The Chargers will not want to miss the opportunity to try and grab a big lead by going deep to Jackson early.

Still, there are many questions about the Chargers that remain to be answered, and the Broncos offense may be able to keep pressure on San Diego to keep moving the ball.

If that is the case, the Chargers will be hesitant to overextend the fragile Jackson and likely limit his play count. That could be beneficial to Patrick Crayton, who is looking to make a much bigger impact than his one reception last week.

From a fantasy perspective, Crayton could be a nice dark horse in a very deep league, since any WR that lines up across from the Denver defense could be very likely to find the end zone.

However, there is no reason to sit Jackson even with his potentially limited playing time.

Jackson is the much safer bet to have a big fantasy output on just a few plays. Crayton, on the other hand, may be the beneficiary of a blown coverage and score a TD, but probably won't be the go-to receiver for quarterback Philip Rivers and the Chargers.