Fred Jackson: Buffalo Bills Running Back a Must-Start Despite Head Injury

Josh SchochAnalyst IIINovember 21, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 11:  Fred Jackson #22 of the Buffalo Bills runs in for a touchdown against the New England Patriots in the first half during the game on November 11, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Fred Jackson's head injury has fantasy owners wondering whether the Buffalo Bills running back is worth starting in fantasy football this week. To put it simply: yes.

Jackson is expected back on Sunday for a matchup with the Indianapolis Colts as the Bills face their last chance to get back into the playoff race, and he should be starting in most fantasy leagues.


Fred Jackson: full go, 100% expects to play Sunday.

— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) November 21, 2012


According to the Buffalo Bills official Twitter feed, Jackson will be completely healthy, which means fantasy owners should be expecting double-digit points.

The team will be taking on an Indy rush defense that is allowing 119.8 yards on the ground per contest, which ranks No. 22 in the league, and Jackson is half of a backfield that ranks No. 7 in rushing yards per game this season.

Sure, C.J. Spiller is healthy and will start, which will take away from Jackson's numbers, but the two have been sharing carries the entire season, so this is no different than normal.

Jackson may not lead the Bills in rushing yards this season, but that is due to his injury problems. He still goes for 4.0 yards per carry, and 7.0 yards per catch, making him a dual threat.

Let's look at it statistically.

The Bills run the ball an average of 27.3 times per game. Assuming Jackson gets half of those carries and rushes for his average of 4.0 yards per carry, that conservatively gets him over 54 yards.

When you factor in that the Bills will likely be running the ball more often against a poor rushing defense, and that Jackson should realistically go for 4.5 or 5.0 yards per carry, and we could easily see Jackson go for 80 rushing yards and about 20 receiving yards.

The biggest question about Jackson's game is whether or not he will score a touchdown on Sunday. If he does, he will certainly be worth a start, but if he doesn't, he is a fringe player.

In the only game against the Colts in his career, Jackson ran for a ridiculous 212 yards, while tacking on another 15 receiving yards and finding the end zone for a score. He totaled 28 fantasy points in that game, and while it would be stupid to expect those same numbers, it wouldn't be too stupid to expect him to average 6.4 yards per carry once again.

I'm expecting a good enough day from Jackson to warrant a start this week, despite his head injury, and I have him in my starting lineup.

Projected Stats: 15 carries, 84 rushing yards, 4 receptions, 21 receiving yards, 1 TD (16 points)