Justin Jackson’s value is one of the bigger mysteries in Fantasy Football entering Week 1. There are some big shoes to fill with Melvin Gordon currently in the midst of a holdout. Gordon was third in the NFL in carries just two seasons ago and he played at least 70% of the Chargers’ offensive snaps in seven of the nine games he started prior to his injury in 2018. Unfortunately for Jackson owners, the second-year back out of Northwestern isn’t the only man looking to benefit from Gordon’s absence. He’s also going to have to play behind a beat-up offensive line.
Left tackle Russell Okung will miss at least the first six weeks of 2019 with blood clots. That leaves Los Angeles in quite the state of flux when it comes to the trenches, a turn of events that you can’t believe will impact the running game positively. That’s also not even yet factoring in that Indianapolis maintained the league’s fourth-best run defense by DVOA the past season or that they allowed a mere eight rushing touchdowns to RBs. They weren’t completely impenetrable, but opposing backfields generally had to do their damage through the air. That’s where Austin Ekeler comes into the mix. Ekeler was already expected to be on the better end of the Chargers’ committee approach and, from an archetype standpoint, he’s definitely the one more likely to take advantage of the Colts surrendering a whopping 8.8 targets per contest to running backs in 2018.
Fantasy Impact: As of Week 1, Jackson’s fantasy value lies more in his possible upside than his actual viability. He’s a very nice piece to have on your roster; however, until we know the exact circumstances of his role in a post-Melvin Gordon world, he’s someone to simply stash on your bench. His time might come sooner than you think, but its not this Sunday, especially with all 32 teams active.