If you are like most Desean Jackson owners, you are at your wits' end of what to do with him. It has been three weeks since he has registered double-digit points, leading me to consider benching him for good. This week his matchup is favorable against the Arizona Cardinals, however, it is becoming more and more difficult to play him as nothing more than a flex option at this point.
This article is in no way meant to sway your final lineup but hopefully it will add some insight as to who you should consider starting over Jackson this week. In addition, if you are also in a points league and need to catch up in points, I've added some analysis and strategies that could send you over the top, but be advised there are considerable risks with what I'm implying, tread carefully.
Desean Jackson vs Torrey Smith
Jackson is slowly becoming less involved in Philadelphia's offense. He has 58 targets and only 29 receptions while Jason Avant has 46 targets and 33 receptions. Let that sink in. Avant has less targets but more receptions? Add to this that Brent Celek has started receiving more targets (47) and red-zone opportunities and one can deduce that Jackson is nothing more than a home run gamble, one I'm unwilling to take.
On the other hand, Torrey Smith with 43 targets is clearly the Ravens' best deep threat and continually gets targeted downfield. His speed and size is unmatched and Flacco is adamant about getting him the ball. This week Smith faces a soft Seattle secondary and should see more targets downfield. Beware, Lee Evans has returned back to practice but on a limited basis. In any case, Smith will see playing time and should reap the benefits of having three vertical threats as opposed to two.
WINNER: Torrey Smith
Desean Jackson vs Jon Baldwin
When it comes to size and jumping ability, Baldwin is the clear favorite. Keep in mind that Baldwin has received opportunity after opportunity since being activated; his targets by week are as follows: 5-8-5.
This week the Chiefs are coming off a humiliating loss to the Dolphins and are playing division rival Denver in Kansas City. Denver has given up the second most fantasy points to wide receivers this season and Baldwin, because of his size and leaping ability, is becoming Cassel's primary red-zone target behind Dwayne Bowe. This alone separates Jackson from Baldwin and makes it a clear cut choice for me to start Baldwin over him.
WINNER: Jon Baldwin
Desean Jackson vs Victor Cruz
This may be the only formidable matchup concern for me this week. Jackson is playing the Cardinals and Cruz can disappear at any given notice. I have to say I favor Cruz if Hakeem Nicks plays this week against an average San Francisco pass defense, because as a slot receiver Cruz has proven to be dangerous. He also possesses some of the best hands in the league in comparison to Jackson, who has had a case of the dropsies lately. Both are subject to boom or bust numbers so I will leave this one as a draw.
Desean Jackson vs Percy Harvin
Christian Ponder has proven he can go toe to toe with Aaron Rodgers. I believe the X-factor for their divisional matchup against Green Bay this week will be Percy Harvin, who was hampered by a rib injury and left the game in their first meeting. Harvin is a threat between the tackles and in the slot and should see the end zone twice this week. Green Bay is giving up the third most points to wide receivers this season.
WINNER: Percy Harvin