Fantasy football championship week is a time to speculate on the waiver wire a little, where it might bare fruit, and Lions running back Justin Jackson is well-worth a look on that front for Week 17.
At times this season, the Detroit Lions have used a pretty equal three-man backfield committee to frustrate fantasy managers, in particular those who invested in D’Andre Swift. Jamaal Williams’ nose for the end zone has kept him afloat, mostly, while Justin Jackson has had a couple moments.
The Lions didn’t get anything going on the ground against the Carolina Panthers in Week 16. A 31-7 deficit at its peak led to a pass-heavy game script, but a recent stretch where Detroit’s ground game has struggled continued.
Williams also suffered an an apparent lower body injury in the game, on what Lions’ players said was a hard, practically substandard field surface at Bank of America Stadium. The first practice report of the new week on Wednesday will be the first indication of where Williams is health-wise, and an early marker of his status for Week 17 against the Chicago Bears.
Fantasy Football: Lions running back Justin Jackson a worthy speculative add for Week 17
From Week 9-Week 16 (eight games), Jackson has played between a 20 and 38 percent snap share in every game. Notable production has been elusive though, with 66 yards on nine carries in one game and a rushing touchdown in another. So he’s mostly just been siphoning snaps, touches and bits of fantasy production from Swift and Williams.
If Williams is truly banged up and sees limited action, or he ends up out Sunday against the Bears, the Lions’ three-man backfield would be in line to become more of a duo.
Chicago is allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to running backs this season (Yahoo! scoring, 0.5-point PPR). In terms of raw rushing yardage allowed, they are 30th in the league (151.2 yards per game) and the 4.9 yards per carry they allow is a bottom-10 number in the NFL.
Williams’ injury may be revealed as much ado about nothing as this week goes on. But there’s a non-zero chance it’s something that at least reduces his snap share/effectiveness if he plays against the Bears, leading to more work for Swift and Jackson in a very nice matchup.
As expected, Jackson is basically available in every fantasy league (1 percent rostered on Yahoo!, 1.1 percent rostered on ESPN).
For Williams’ managers, or non-Williams’ managers looking to add more worthwhile roster depth, Jackson is well worth a speculative add-and-stash heading into Week 17.
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