Don Who? I’m sorry Ms. Jackson, but no one knows your son. But that’s all about to change. Eddie Lacy is expected to miss several weeks due to an ankle injury, with the possibility of being put on IR. James Starks is expected to miss four weeks after undergoing meniscus surgery. The Packers had Ty Montgomery and Randall Cobb taking snaps at running back. To show how dire the situation in Green Bay is, the Packers traded for Knile Davis, he of the career 3.3 average on 233 attempts.
So, who is Don Jackson?
Jackson is 23 years old and played his college ball at Nevada, where he rushed for 2,368 yards on 527 carries (4.5 average), caught 23 passes for 269 yards, and scored a combined 21 touchdowns over three seasons. He’s 5’10”, 210 pounds, and ran a 4.47 40-yard dash with a 7.09 3-cone at his pro day. He was not invited to the NFL Combine and was selected by the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent.
So, why do I like this Jackson guy?
His YouTube highlights look good, yo!!! Ok, everyone’s YouTube highlight reel looks good. Or at least it should. Watching the tape, he does look quick and has some nice change of direction ability. He’s a smaller back, so there will be questions if he can hold up to the pounding of the NFL. There’s no way one can be sure until we see it in action, which segues me perfectly to my next point. Doing a little due diligence into Jackson brought me to an article regarding the trouble he used to get into in his younger days. He used to be a tough guy. Not the internet tough guy that we so often come across, but a genuine OG. He sought out brawls and “wore the stigma of being a tough guy from the tough streets of south Sacramento like a badge of honor.” Physcially, it remains to be seen if his body can handle the grind of the NFL. Mentally, I have no doubt that he can handle whatever is thrown his way. He has a huge chip on his shoulder. Couple that with the fact that he’s not an entitled pansy, I like the mental toughness that he brings to the table.
Physical talent? Check. Mental toughness? Check. Now come the two most important aspects for Jackson to becoming fantasy relevant. Opportunity and performance. As stated earlier, both Lacy and Starks will be out for an extended period. The Knile Davis signing seems like a depth signing to me. I can definitely understand the perspective that the Packers wouldn’t trade for a player if they didn’t intend to utilize him. Hear me out though. The Packers are one of the few teams that prefer to develop and promote from within. Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal wrote a great piece on the “Packer way” back in January of 2016. For me, the telling quote was “the Packers practice squad is populated with players they expect one day to suit up for the team. With that in mind, assistant coaches say they coach the practice squad guys as often and as hard as top draft picks, a rarity in the NFL.” The Packers saw something in Jackson and kept him on the practice squad. He’s versed and been coached up the Packer way. He’s been receiving first-team reps this week. Knile Davis was acquired for a 2018 conditional seventh-round draft choice. That’s really not high draft equity to give up. Like I said, looks like a depth signing to me. As for Ty Montgomery, he’s a wide receiver, not a running back. Can you occasionlly line him up in the backfield? Sure, but after a while defenses are going to figure it out and not respect the threat of the run at all.
Which brings us to the performance part. Will he perform? I have no freaking clue. If I knew that, Vegas would be sending me money, instead of the other way around. Here’s the thing, though. If he does perform, he has an excellent opportunity in front of him. There’s limited competition, the Packers have a great quarterback and excellent wide receivers, which should provide plenty of seams to run through.
The final and, most important, variable in this Jackson equation is cost. You can get him for next to nothing. If he pans out, you’ve struck gold. If he doesn’t, there’s really no harm. I’m pretty sure you have a guy at the end of your bench that is meh. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t be reading this article anyway. Maybe you spent some FAAB money on him, but last time I checked, the winner of fantasy football titles does not go to the owner that has the most FAAB money at the end of the year.