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A celebration of Fred Jackson

Scott Pianowski
Roto Arcade

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The wife of Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson (no, that's not her pictured at the right) is a fantasy player. And yes, Danielle Jackson did select her husband this year.

But not until the fifth round.

"She's in a league with family and friends and told them not to touch me," Jackson told John Wawrow of the Associated Press on Wednesday. "But I told her I'm not going to continue to sit there while she's skipping over me."

As Wawrow points out in his excellent Jackson feature, the Buffalo back is used to being under-appreciated. Jackson wasn't drafted out of Division III Coe College. He had to cut his teeth playing arena ball and in NFL Europe. And even when Jackson landed in Buffalo, he had to sit behind Marshawn Lynch much of the time. Seems silly now that Jackson has grown into a star, but it didn't seem silly to the former head coaches.

Jackson's breakout year isn't all about him, of course. Head coach Chan Gailey has done an outstanding job designing the offense and revamping the offensive line. Jackson's yards per carry number has spiked to 5.5 this year (from 4.2, 4.5 and 4.4 in the previous three seasons) and he's collecting a ridiculous 13.1 yards per reception, over four yards better than his established norm. Player, team and scheme are humming along in wonderful harmony. "These guys will block you to death," my colleague Andy Behrens likes to say. The videotape agrees. {ysp:more}

If you're in a one-and-done fantasy league, there's not much to crunch with Jackson. Enjoy the ride. The remainder of the schedule is roughly neutral for a running back, nothing particularly taxing. You're got a first-level back here, a Tier 1 guy, a set-it-and-forget-it player.

In a keeper league, things are more tricky. Jackson turns 31 in February. He doesn't have a lot of NFL mileage on him (that's what a late start will do for a back), but the league has always been a young-man's game, especially in the backfield. Jackson is also talking about a new contract (he has two years left on his deal); while he expects something to get worked out with the team, there's always the possibility of a holdout or impasse if his Pro Bowl-level season isn't rewarded by the front office.

I'll open up the comments to all things Freddie. When did you draft him this year? Where do your Jackson-led teams sit in the standings? Where would you take him next year? How valuable of a keeper is he?

What do you make of that snappy t-shirt pictured above? The link to former Eagles receiver Freddie Mitchell isn't going to jinx Jackson, is it?

I've got one 8-0 Dream Team that has Jackson, Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson on it. I know, no one cares. No one should care. But at least I can break bread and sing happy songs with the other Jackson Sympathizers in the crowd. Today is our day.

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Jackson t-shirt image courtesy of Store716.com

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