Jackson should fly to the Falcons
I had initially liked the idea of Jackson signing with the Green Bay Packers, who need a running back in the worst way (sorry, Cedric Benson). And while that would be a nice fit, the thought of Jackson ending up in Atlanta is intriguing. Michael Turner is as good as gone, so Jackson would step right into the lead back role in an offense that would afford him more opportunities to produce than he had in recent seasons with the Rams. If he ended up with the Falcons, Jackson could borderline on having No. 1 running back appeal.
Jackson to the Jets has potential
Don't laugh when I say this, but the best spot for Steven Jackson's fantasy value is ... the New York Jets. I said stop laughing. Hear me out. The Falcons, Packers and even the Broncos would have outstanding offenses -- but they're all predicated on the pass. Not to mention that in Atlanta and Denver, Jackson would likely have to share carries. As part of Gang Green, he would be the centerpiece of Rex Ryan's renewed commitment to "Ground-n-Pound". New York's passing game needs help at more than just quarterback and until they solve those issues, the running game will be front and center.
Jackson's fantasy value is minimal
I don't know that there's a place Jackson could go that would see him keep his previous value of being a number one fantasy back. He's 30 now and is experiencing diminishing returns. Jackson's best bet is to become part of a running back tandem where he can pair with a younger, exciting RB who may not be able to shoulder the load of 20 carries a game. We've seen Jerome Bettis get on the Rams-to-Pittsburgh shuttle before, and I think that might be the best fit for Jackson, as Pittsburgh needs to completely remake their backfield and Jackson could see a bit of a late-career revival. But even if he winds up there, his best value will be as a low-end No. 2 with some hopeful upside. I would avoid drafting him if at all possible and I'd draft RBs like Daryl Richardson, Bilal Powell or Vick Ballard ahead of him.
Like it or not, he'll be a Ram
Steven Jackson has long said he would opt out of his deal, so this shouldn't be a surprise. And it's not going to surprise me when he ultimately returns to St. Louis. Jackson would be an interesting option in Atlanta or Green Bay because he could be a viable option out of the backfield. But you get the feeling Jackson wants to return to St. Louis to finish what he started. St. Louis is on the verge of being a factor in the NFC West and Jackson wants to be a part of that. Unfortunately for fantasy enthusiasts, his production will be similar to what it was last year.
Jackson, Atlanta a match made in heaven
Jackson and his borderline Hall of Fame credentials would, of course, be a massive upgrade for any number of high-profile teams, including Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and the Jets ... but Atlanta makes a ton of sense for both sides. In this age of "running back-by-committee", Jackson is a throwback: he WANTS to be the workhorse, which is exactly what the Falcons need after a postseason that saw them unable to hold onto second-half leads by spinning the clock and grinding the defense with a power back who's got a second gear (sorry, Michael Turner). If I'm right about Jackson finding a home in the Georgia Dome, jump on him as low-end No. 1/high-end No. 2. And if you don't believe me, look up Turner's numbers over the last few seasons.
Retirement might be best option
He could end up many places, but as a fantasy owner myself, I'd like to see him retire. Jackson has been a workhorse in the NFL and has played with several injuries during a superb nine-year career. In fact, he's only started all 16 games twice in those nine years. This is a guy who had 436 touches in one season (2006) and ran for 1,416 yards for a 1-15 Rams team. He truly has nothing to prove, and I'd rather see him walk away from the game healthy than be a flex option in fantasy who rushes for 524 yards for some random team he signs with...