Jackson no longer top-25 wideout
Suspension provides Floyd, Naanee with greater opportunity
San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson has been suspended for three games for violating the NFL's personal conduct policy, as it relates to his second DUI conviction in as many years. This contributes to what's already been a tumultuous offseason for Jackson, who's also locked in a stalemate with the Chargers over his contract.
Jackson is a five-year veteran who would've been an unrestricted free agent under the old salary-cap system, but because the NFL's collective bargaining agreement is in its final season, Jackson (and dozens of other players) is instead a restricted free agent who doesn't want to play for the RFA tender the Chargers have offered him. Thus, Jackson has already threatened to hold out for 10 games, the maximum duration he could hold out and still accrue a year of service time upon his return. Chargers general manager A.J. Smith hasn't been sympathetic to these threats of Jackson's (and similar ones from starting left tackle Marcus McNeill), creating the possibility of Philip Rivers being without his best blind-side blocker and his best wideout for 2½ months of the regular season.
In itself, this suspension -- which, given recent history, could very well be reduced to one or two games if Jackson behaves well and shows sufficient remorse -- might not affect Jackson's fantasy value much. It seems strange to say, but NFL rules actually allow Jackson to fulfill his suspension while he holds out. What the suspension does do, however, is increase the likelihood that Jackson won't blink on his contract demands, at least for the season's first three weeks, since he knows he won't be playing anyway. It also makes a trade -- about which rumors have been flying during the past week, rumors involving the Seattle Seahawks and Washington Redskins, among others -- less likely. The bottom line: The Chargers are definitely going to be without Jackson to begin the year, and could still be without him for much longer, and I think it makes sense to drop him in our estimation a bit.
What does this news do to Rivers? I'm not ready to drop him in my quarterback ranks just yet, because the Chargers are still extraordinarily potential-laden on offense. In fact, I dare say for Rivers' purposes, the McNeill holdout has the potential to be more damaging than the Jackson holdout. At the moment, the Chargers appear willing to go forward with aging veteran Tra Thomas at left tackle, which could be quite hazardous to Rivers' health. I have Rivers at No. 6 in my QB ranks because I trust that he still wants to fling it downfield early and often, but I'm more willing than ever to be swayed that that might be a couple spots too high, especially if Tony Romo's offensive line rounds into shape during training camp, and Brett Favre comes back in August in fine form.
Christopher Harris is a fantasy analyst for ESPN.com. He is a six-time Fantasy Sports Writing Association award winner. You can ask him questions at www.facebook.com/writerboy.
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2010 Fantasy Football Offseason
ESPN.comkeeps you connected to fantasy football all offseason long with updated rankings, mock drafts and analysis of all the important moves.
NFL Draft• Day 1: Ryan Mathews the big winner
• Day 2: Toby Gerhart now a handcuff
• Day 3: Rounds 4-7 can yield sleepers
• Matthew Berry's Top 150, updated June 4
• Christopher Harris' Top 200, updated May 11
• Fantasy Staff Top 200, updated April 30
• Christopher Harris' Top 200, updated April 19
• Matthew Berry's Top 100, April 8
Analysis from Christopher Harris
• Don't expect much from T.O. in Cincinnati
• Vincent Jackson no longer a top 25 receiver
• Jason Campbell is still bland in Oakland
• LenDale White, Leon Washington in Seattle
• Brandon Marshall deal to Miami boosts Henne
• Santonio Holmes' value falls with trade to Jets
• Donovan McNabb's stock drops with Redskins
• Willie Parker joins Redskins veteran RBBC
• Browns wheeling and dealing potential options
• LDT signing with Jets muddies Greene's value
• Larry Johnson still irrelevant with Redskins
• Derrick Mason's re-signing helps Flacco
• Antonio Bryant decent fit with Bengals
• Thomas Jones loses lots of value with Chiefs
• Reggie Brown intriguing with Tampa Bay
• Boldin trade doesn't do much for his value
• Taylor, Burleson open free-agency season
• NFL scouting combine fantasy review