Fantasy Football: Alshon Jeffery

When Alshon Jeffery was drafted in the 2nd round in the 2012 draft, we knew the situation he was getting into, and the plan carried out as expected. He quickly developed a rapport with quarterback Jay Cutler, while learning the ropes from Brandon Marshall, who was recently traded to the New York Jets. By the way, here’s a link to Alshon Jeffery’s fantasy player page.

The Chicago Bears have their new number one wide receiver in Jeffery, a role that he’s been groomed for. Entering his 4th season, Jeffery has a pair of 1,100-yard campaigns on his resume with 85+ receptions. His touchdowns have increased each year (3-7-10) and he’s been a target monster (149-145). Here’s a look at his numbers:

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Now, he becomes the primary threat that is paired with a rookie, 1st round pick Kevin White. Another under the radar addition is veteran Eddie Royal. You should already know about Martellus Bennett at tight end, and running back Matt Forte, is always a candidate for Offensive Player of the Year.

Marshall racked up the targets (192-164-106) when he reunited with Cutler, but officially passed the baton to Jeffery last season. Some of that can be attributed to injury, some to defensive attention, some to the team’s offensives woes. Nonetheless, this was what the Bears had in mind when they drafted Jeffery. The plan is to have the Jeffery and White tandem for as long as possible. It takes a little bit for Cutler to warm up to new players, as you can see from Jeffery’s rookie stats, in which he heavily relied on Marshall.

Marshall allocated 192 targets in 2012, which is ridiculous, then 164 in 2013. Jeffery topped 140 looks in the past 2 seasons, and should see another boost with a rookie on the other side. Why am I so confident? Head Coach John Fox likes to keep things simple and run the ball, but Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase dialed up 184 targets for Demaryius Thomas last season. In previous seasons, Thomas was thrown to 141 and 142 times, similar to Jeffery, before establishing himself as an elite wide out and garnering a recent contract extension. Oh, and what do you know, this is Jeffery’s final year of his rookie deal.

How good could this guy be? Well, so far he has 2 games with over 200 yards, 9 games over 100 yards, 3 games with double-digit catches, and he scored 10 touchdowns last season. Jeffery also looks like the best receiver in the game when it comes to tip-toeing the back of the endzone to make a spectacular catch with those huge hands.