A new contract, a new set of receivers and a new playcaller has renewed optimism in Jackson finishing as a top-five quarterback again. However, comments from him in May about "less running and more throwing" dampens his upside. At least 30.4% (and as much as 35%) of Jackson's Fantasy production in six-point-per-passing-TD leagues have come from his legs, not his arm. If Jackson purposely runs less, his PPG won't be as amazing unless he throws a ton of touchdowns. Given the past two seasons when we've already seen declining rushing touchdown production, below-average completion and touchdown rates in the red zone and 10 games missed, Jackson carries more risk than we're used to seeing. If you can snare him as the sixth or seventh QB off the board, you're doing OK. Just remember: He hasn't averaged over 25 Fantasy points per game since 2019.
Though leg injuries have cut Jackson’s last two NFL seasons short, the Ravens ultimately gave the former NFL MVP a five-year, $260 million contract this offseason.With his elite rushing acumen and the upgrade on the coaching staff with new OC Todd Monken, Jackson can elevate his passing game and show fantasy managers why he earned that mega-deal.
Draft Jackson with confidence as a solid QB1 – with upside to the top of the position.
What We Learned Last YearJackson entered last season with three consecutive seasons as a top-10 QB in fantasy points per game. He achieved that feat again in 2022 (QB6, 19.7 points per game) and finished as the QB14 overall in 12 games played.If you take a peek behind the curtain, Jackson’s 2022 wasn’t as good as it sounds on paper. After a red-hot start to the season, including back-to-back QB1 overall finishes in Week 2 and Week 3, he fell off in production before succumbing to a season-ending knee injury in early December:Week 1 - Week 4: QB1 overall (29.9 points per game)Week 5 - Week 13: QB18 overall (15.4 points per game)The former first-round pick has now failed to finish the last two seasons healthy because of leg injuries.The good news is that we can count on Jackson to run the ball effectively. He ranked second in PFF rushing grade among QBs in 2022 with six games of 70+ rushing yards.Since becoming a full-time starter in 2019, Jackson ranks first among QBs in rushing attempts (580), rushing yards (3,742), and rushing yards per game (69.3). His rushing floor is a big part of why he’s the QB3 in fantasy points per game (22.68) in that same span.The biggest problem with Jackson is that he’s still not much of a passer. 2022 was the second year in a row in which he failed to throw for over 3,000 passing yards and 20+ TDs. Among 52 QBs who’ve started at least 10 games since 2019, here’s how Jackson ranks in some key passing categories:37th in passing yards per game (203.9)27th in completion percentage (64.4%)13th in passer rating (98.1)t-13th in adjusted yards gained per attempt (7.63)Through four seasons with OC Greg Roman calling the plays for the Ravens’ offense, Jackson showed he is capable of being a pretty good passer, but there’s not a ton of evidence to suggest he’s prolific by any means.What to Expect in 2023The single-most significant move the Ravens made this offseason was moving on from OC Greg Roman and hiring former University of Georgia OC Todd Monken. We’ll likely see a shift to a more balanced offensive philosophy in 2023 and beyond, which means Jackson’s path to greater passing production is now much clearer than it has been in his career.Monken previously spent four seasons as an OC at the NFL level with the Buccaneers (2017-18) and Browns (2019). Here’s how Monken’s offenses in that window compares to Roman’s offense over the last four years in Baltimore in Pass Rate Over Expectation (PROE):Monken: +1.8% PROERoman: -5.5% PROEEarly reports out of Ravens camp agree with this notion and indicate that the offense will be ‘up-tempo’ and pass more.The additions of 1st-round NFL draft pick Zay Flowers and free agent signee Odell Beckham Jr. will also provide Jackson with a plethora of quality pass-catching options on top of TE Mark Andrews and WR Rashod Bateman. We know Jackson possesses an elite upside with his rushing. Still, with his new arsenal of weapons and increased passing potential, we’re looking at someone who has the opportunity to return to his 2019 NFL MVP form if everything clicks.
Since pacing all QBs with 416 fantasy points in 2019, Jackson has struggled with injuries, missing 11 games over the last two seasons (including five each in 2021 and 2022). The good news is that he has remained a strong fantasy option when healthy. Despite posting a career-low 6.9 YPA on 326 pass attempts last season, Jackson was fifth among QBs in fantasy points per game prior to his Week 13 injury. Jackson finished the season second at the position in rushing yards and has yet to finish a season lower than second in the category. Jackson's targets are much improved this season, with Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers added to a group that includes Mark Andrews and Rashod Bateman. Jackson's dual-threat ability and the potential for more passing under new playcaller Todd Monken is enough to make him a midrange QB1 with elite upside.