Editor’s Note: This is an opinion piece designed strictly to make a strong case for two particular players matched up head-to-head. After reading, cast your vote in the poll for who you would choose between these two players.
We continue on with a staple series of articles here at DLF – the dynasty debate. These debates are designed to give an argument for either keeping or trading for a player of similar value. Use these debates to help you in making trade decisions or in your initial dynasty league drafts. This particular one is unique because it focuses on two players from the same team and is inspired by a fiery debate on the DLF Forum.
The Case for DeSean Jackson
Explosive. Dynamic. Electric.
There simply aren’t enough adjectives to describe the play of DeSean Jackson. Since entering the league as the 49th pick of the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Jackson has made play after ridiculous play. When you make a list of the most dangerous players in the league, he’s at the top.
Jackson is never going to lead the league in receptions. In fact, he had just 47 last season. From a fantasy football perspective, that doesn’t matter quite as much as you may think. Why? The number 22.5 – that’s DeSean Jackson’s yards per catch average from last season, the best in the league by far. Even with that paltry number of receptions, he still put up an amazing 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. While you have to concede his PPR value is diminished some with the number of catches he has, the explosive nature of his play more than makes up for it.
D-Jax has a clear edge on Jeremy Maclin because of his returning and rushing ability as well. He’s scored at least one rushing and one special teams touchdown in each of his three seasons in the league. You can safely pencil in a couple hundred return yards and at least 100 rushing yards for Jackson when you project his future production. In fantasy terms, those “bonus” yards add up quickly and increase his value.
The great thing about Jackson is his ability to put up a nice day’s worth of points on one play. In fact, he may go down in NFL history as the player with the most scoring plays of fifty yards or more. While most receivers rely on their teams making it into the red zone to get them in position for a touchdown, Jackson can score from anywhere on the field. Defenses simply cannot take him away all game and it only takes one moment for him to put up a day’s worth of points.
Jeremy Maclin is a solid player and a key part of the Eagles offense. However, DeSean Jackson is Michael Vick’s go-to guy. With Vick’s improved deep accuracy, the sky’s the limit for Jackson. If he catches even 60 passes, that’s going to net an owner around 1,200 yards and a bunch of highlight reel touchdowns.
Kick your feet up on Sunday and watch for magic to happen. Just make sure you don’t blink.
The Case for Jeremy Maclin
When can you make a case for a team’s number two being your number one? Many would say it’s when you look at Jeremy Maclin compared to DeSean Jackson.
They’d be wrong.
Jeremy Maclin is no number two receiver – he’s ascended to clearly be the Eagles’ first option. Maclin was a bit of a surprise pick for Philly at #19 overall in the 2008 NFL Draft, but he hasn’t disappointed. After a solid rookie season where he posted 56 catches, 773 yards and four touchdowns, he took a pivotal step forward last season by posting 964 yards and 10 touchdowns on 70 receptions. Not only did he lead the the Eagles in touchdowns, but he led them in targets with 116 – that’s 19 more than the aforementioned DeSean Jackson. His ten scores was good for a tie for seventh place in the NFL. That’s not bad for a so-called “number two” receiver.
Maclin’s consistency is something to be coveted by dynasty league owners as well. He posted only four games last season with fewer than four catches. Say what you want about DeSean Jackson’s explosiveness, but Maclin posted some highlight catches of his own last year as well.
Entering his third year, Maclin is the Eagles top option in the passing game. He has the target numbers to prove it and the production to match. If you believe in the idea that receivers take a big step in their third year, you have to believe Maclin is on the verge of a major explosion.
Maclin has quickly learned how to separate himself from defensive backs and is a prime red zone target. He has great speed and a complete skill set. Simply put, he’s no one trick pony.
DeSean Jackson is an extremely explosive player, but why take the big play over consistency? After all, Jackson had five games last season where he failed to post more than 35 yards receiving. While he can make your day with one big play, he can also ruin it when it doesn’t come. Fact is, Maclin may not break the 90-yard play each week, but he had nearly twice as many receiving touchdowns last season.
One other issue that has to be addressed is the injury risk. DeSean Jackson’s history of concussions is nothing to sneeze at. A player that small takes can take a beating and Jackson has taken some serious hits in his short career. With the NFL’s renewed focus on concussions and Jackson’s checkered history, it’s not hard to assume he may miss a few games each season.
Jeremy Maclin is quietly ascending to the elite level of NFL and fantasy receivers. While he may not make the highlight reel as often as DeSean Jackson, he’s the choice to win you more games in your dynasty league.