Mo Brewington

There was always a possibility, now it has actually happened. Running back Fred Jackson (the legend of Coe College) has been released by the Buffalo Bills. Rarely does the release of a 34-year old running back cause a stir in the NFL, or fantasy world. However, Jackson has shown he’s a valuable receiver out of the back field, catching 66 balls for 501 yards and rushing for another 525 yards with three touchdowns combined last season. The implications of Jackson’s release could stretch beyond the Bills roster. Let’s take a look at some of the possible fallout.

LeSean McCoy, RB BUF
Jackson was a serious threat to McCoy’s PPR output. With Jackson gone, Shady’s odds of stacking some nice reception totals have increased.

Bryce Brown, RB BUF
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Jackson’s departure opens the door for Brown to possibly be the Bills RB2. He’s now the most intriguing handcuff option for McCoy. And should LeSean get injured, Brown could receive a major chunk of the workload. Though he’s failed to create much noise in previous years as a backup with Buffalo, Brown’s homerun capability has been on display before in Philadelphia early in his career. The potential alone makes him a definite flier candidate in the event McCoy goes down.

Karlos Williams, RB BUF
Williams wasn’t expected to a main contributor on offense this year, but Jackson’s release shows the Bills have some real confidence in the young rookie. His ADP will likely creep up a bit with this move.

Boobie Dixon, RB BUF
He appears to have survived the first round of cuts. At this point, Dixon “is who he is.” It’s very possible he’s the short yardage back for the Bills which has value. Beyond that, there isn’t much to get excited about here.

The real mystery with Jackson is pondering all of the Running back needy teams who could use his services.

Dallas Cowboys

This team jumps to the front of the list. Dallas has flirted with several veteran backs this off-season, but seems content to move forward with Joseph Randle, Darren McFadden and Lance Dunbar. Would Jackson entice the Cowboys to make a phone call? Fantasy owners certainly hope so. As stated earlier, Jackson was effective in 2014 on a Bills team which struggled mightily up front. Behind the Dallas offensive line, he could be a very productive back, even in a time share with the backs mentioned above. Even duplicating the numbers from last year would make Jackson a solid flex option on a weekly basis. This is the landing spot that likely offers the most upside for the veteran.

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick has witnessed Jackson’s ability firsthand over the past several seasons. There’s little doubt the evil genius could find a way to plug Jackson into his system and get production out of him. For Fantasy purposes, this would further muddy the water in what’s always a difficult backfield to project. Suspended for the first game of the year, LaGarrette Blount has run well this pre-season. He’s certain to remain the Pats short yardage bull. James White has been rumored to be receiving back for New England, taking over the role vacated by Shane Vereen. A Jackson signing would likely hurt White’s stock more than any other back on the team, with Jackson swooping in to steal much of the passing down work. In the shadows lies Jonas Gray, the back who took the world by storm last year with his 199 yard, four touchdown performance in Week 11, only to be exiled by Belichick the following week for disciplinary reasons, never to be featured again. Again, until Gray proves he’s back in the coaches good graces, it’s difficult to place any stock in him.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons have been unable to generate a much of a ground game with their current cast, including rookie Tevin Coleman, and second year man Devonta Freeman. Signing Fred Jackson would be a tremendous boost to their passing game. The pedigree Jackson brings to the table far exceeds that of any runner currently employed by Atlanta. For fantasy purposes, this would be one of the most exciting landing spots for the nine year veteran. He’s never had a quarterback as talented as Matt Ryan. The duo could easily duplicate the 66/501/1 stat line Jackson posted last season, the third highest receiving total among running backs behind Matt Forte. Atlanta is a darkhorse destination, but a very exciting possibility.

Regardless of his landing spot, Jackson is worthy of a flier for the coming season. He stepped into this past weekend’s preseason contest against the Steelers and ripped off a 41-yard touchdown run, showing he still has plenty of juice left, despite battling injuries all through camp. Owners would be wise to stash Freddy on the back end of their rosters for a rainy day.


mo brewington
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