Justin Jackson could be in prime position to have a breakout year in 2019 if the Melvin Gordon holdout extends into the regular season.
Last season, Jackson had just 50 carries and ran for 206 yards. He saw extended action in games against the Arizona Cardinals, Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. Jackson had a total of 31 carries, 178 rush yards, and two touchdowns in those games. He still looked raw last season, but he has looked better during training camp.
Austin Ekeler will be the passing down back and is coming off a good season as well. So, if Gordon does continue to holdout, the Chargers have two reliable options to work with this season. Jackson would likely be the primary running back, with Ekeler serving as the passing back, so expect Jackson to get 15-20 carries per game.
If Philip Rivers gains trust in Jackson, he could be involved in the passing game as well. Last season, Jackson had 15 catches for 135 yards. That’s nine yards per catch, so Rivers could definitely utilize Jackson in the passing game as well. That remains to be seen. If he does utilize Jackson in the passing game, his fantasy value would instantly increase.
In a standard league, Jackson should be rostered in every league if Gordon holds out. Jackson is currently ranked as the No. 195 draft pick in ESPN fantasy leagues. That will be the steal of the draft if Gordon holds out.
Now is the time to draft Jackson, because if it’s officially announced that Gordon will miss a few weeks, or possibly the whole season, Jackson will not only bring trade value, but he will also produce for all standard league teams. For points per reception (PPR) leagues, Ekeler would be the player to roster. Unless Jackson is involved more in the passing game.
This next month will be interesting to see what happens with Gordon. As mentioned earlier, if he holds out, Jackson should be rostered in all standard leagues, at least. Gordon is currently projected as a late first-round pick, which is another steal because he was projected top-five before the holdout.
As of right now, Jackson should be drafted, especially since his projection is 195th. Jackson will not disappoint for fantasy teams.