Yes that’s right, Alshon Jeffery will be a top five receiver in 2014 for fantasy owners. That’s a lot to say with the NFL season still seven month away, but with the Bears trading Brandon Marshall it puts Jeffery into the spotlight.
First let’s get out of the way who the rest of the top five are then get back to Jeffery. Right now Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, Antonio Brown, and Jordy Nelson make up the top four. That leaves Odell Beckham Jr., Mike Evans, Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson on the fringe.
Now, back to Jeffery. One big reason for Jeffery being a top five receiver in 2015 is the current assumption that Jay Cutler will be the starting quarterback. While Cutler isn’t a good real life quarterback he is one of the best at leading receivers to great fantasy seasons. In Marshall’s six seasons with Cutler as his quarterback he has gone over 100 catches five times and had over 150 targets in each of those seasons.
Marshall’s stats prove that Cutler locks onto his favorite target, and without Marshall in the fold Cutler will have to lock onto a new receiver. That receiver is obviously going to be Alshon Jeffery.
Marshall leaving isn’t the only reason that Jeffery will improve, but in the past two season Jeffery was already a top 10 to 15 receiver. In the past two season Jeffery has at least 145 targets, 85 catches, seven touchdowns, and 1,100 yards. Keep in mind those numbers were with target hog Marshall in the picture.
However, without Marshall is there really any higher for Jeffery to go. In all likelihood he’ll get around 160 targets, but the biggest factor will be the increase in red zone targets which could lead to 12 to 15 touchdowns for Jeffery.
It’s safe to assume that Martellus Bennett will get his targets, and Marquess Wilson morph into a solid number two receiver, but Jeffery will creep into elite receiver status.