Tolbert said Jackson is poised to have a big year, and we agree. The prediction is Jackson will finish the season as a Top 10 Fantasy wide receiver.
"You can't ask for a better weapon," Tolbert said in a recent phone interview. "He basically takes away the defense on one side of the field. You have to respect his ability."
Now, it might seem obvious that Jackson will be a Top 10 wide receiver. After all, his Average Draft Position is the No. 7 receiver off the board, and he's being selected in Round 3 at No. 28 overall.
But Jackson has only one Top 10 finish as a Fantasy receiver, and that was in 2009. In 2008, he was No. 12. Last year could have been his best season, but we all remember what happened with his contract.
Jackson missed the first 10 games of last season due to a contract dispute. When he returned, he struggled with injuries and finished with just 14 catches for 248 yards and three touchdowns – with all three of his scores coming in Week 15 against San Francisco.
This year, Jackson is playing under the franchise tag, but he appears to be happy. He still has the motivation for a new contract, and it looks like he's going to have a tremendous season.
"Absolutely, it's great to be here, to get a full camp, get a full season," Jackson said in USA Today. "I definitely wanted to be here last year on time. Unfortunately, this business forces our hand sometimes. I don't think anybody really benefited from the situation, but it's past. We're moving forward now. I still consider this organization home to me. It's a great relationship here, and I would love to spend my career here."
Like Tolbert, coach Norv Turner is looking forward to Jackson being back for a full year.
"Vincent Jackson being here at the start, being here for training camp, being here for the start of the season, it's big to me, because he obviously is one of the best big-play receivers in this league," Turner said. "He's good at a lot of other things, too, but big plays change games dramatically."
Jackson is your typical big-play receiver, which is why his value is slightly lower in leagues where receptions count. He's never going to catch a lot of passes, but the hope is he scores a lot of touchdowns. He's also not someone who sees a lot of targets.
In 2009, Jackson had 68 catches for 1,167 yards and nine touchdowns on 107 targets. In 2008, he had 59 catches for 1,098 yards and seven touchdowns on 101 targets. The Chargers don't need to throw his way often for him to be successful.
What we like about Jackson is where he's being drafted. A good strategy to use is if you pick early in Round 1 you should take an elite running back like Arian Foster, Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice or Jamaal Charles. In Round 2, you should be looking at a receiver like Larry Fitzgerald (ADP is No. 22 overall) or Hakeem Nicks (ADP is No. 25 overall). Then early in Round 3 you can take Jackson, and your team should be set for a championship run.
Whether or not Jackson does enough this season to get a new contract from the Chargers remains to be seen. But we're confident that he will do enough to help your Fantasy team be successful. He's back and committed to playing well, and we're all excited about that.