Steven Jackson was a cap casualty on Thursday. The Atlanta Falcons released him from the team in order to save $3.75 million against the salary cap. Jackson has played 10 seasons in the NFL, 8 of them with the Rams and the other 2 seasons with the Falcons. Jackson is currently the leading rusher amongst active players with 11,388 yards.
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There’s a good chance that Steven Jackson won’t be picked up off the waiver wire. He’s 32 years old and his skills have been steadily diminishing for the last few years. There are a lot of running backs to compete with in free agency and the draft this year, and that could leave an older back like Jackson without a job. If Jackson is picked up by a team, he won’t be a feature back like he was earlier in his career. He would be a backup or part of a committee, where he would have 3rd down and goal line duties. In fantasy, Jackson won’t merit enough value for you to hold a roster spot for him. At most he would be an end of bench guy that would help fill the bye weeks for your team. In dynasty, Jackson has been a depreciating asset for the last few years and this might be the time where his stock bottoms out completely. If I owned him, I would use him in a package with one of your rookie picks for an upgrade, but if you can’t trade him then I would recommend holding him to see where he goes.
Currently, Freeman appears to be the lead back going into the 2015 season if you go off of what the Falcons have currently on their roster. Atlanta is a prime candidate to pick up another running back this offseason in either free agency or the draft. I expect Freeman to be in some sort of committee role this season or possibly the backup to the new running back that Atlanta brings in. Freeman’s value is very hard right now to gauge for redraft leagues, but I expect him to go in the mid-late rounds there. He will be a dart throw in hopes that he scores points in PPR leagues. If for some reason Atlanta doesn’t bring in a new running back to compete with him, then I expect him to go in the top 5 rounds. In dynasty leagues I have Freeman as a sell, and I would be trying to move him right after I was done reading this article. If Atlanta signs a free agent like Mark Ingram or DeMarco Murray, then it’s game over for Freeman’s fantasy value. Freeman is a smaller back and he doesn’t have the elite athleticism to overcome his small stature. The odds are against Freeman being the lead back for Atlanta going forward, and if he does have the lead role, I doubt he has it for very long. This might be the highest his value will get, so I would try to sell him for a late 1st if possible, or try to use him in a package to get into the middle of the 1st round.
The Falcons running back situation is going to change this off-season. I wouldn’t be surprised if they pick up a back in free agency and draft a back. With a lot of talented backs being available in free agency and in the draft, this year makes more than likely that Atlanta takes a stab or two at running back this off-season.
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