With the football season a little over a week away, this weekend is going to be prime time for fantasy drafts. And whether you prefer standard scoring, PPR or some other format, one player you might want to stay away from is the standout wide receiver from the Chicago Bears, Brandon Marshall.
To almost no one’s surprise, in his first season with the Bears, Marshall once again became fantasy relevant. A large part of this of course was attributed to being reunited with his quarterback. With the exception of Marshall’s rookie year, in each of the four seasons he was catching passes from buddy Jay Cutler, Marshall had at least 100 receptions and at least six touchdown catches. This includes the 2012 season which was Marshall’s best year of his career by far as he set new career highs in receptions, targets, receiving yards and touchdowns.
In standard scoring leagues, Marshall was an asset as a No. 1 or No. 2 receiver depending upon league depth. In PPR leagues, Marshall was even more valuable and has since seen his fantasy stock rise as one of the top three receivers to draft when a point is awarded per reception.
Marshall has thrived alongside Cutler and it is clear the QB is benefiting from having a top receiver as well. The relationship and confidence between the two is evident, and when it comes to big plays, you can bet Marshall will be involved. Cutler’s QB ranking is middle-end at best, but Marshall continues to be his security blanket of sorts. He knows he can always count on the sure-handed receiver to make plays.
But what if Marshall is hurting as the wide receiver has publicly said he is? Not only will Cutler’s draft stock take a huge hit, but you might want to consider what this means for your season and drafting Marshall if the opportunity arises.
A few days ago Marshall expressed frustration with the Bears, saying that they weren’t taking his concerns about his hip injury, for which he had arthroscopic surgery back in January, seriously. Keep in mind this is the third hip procedure the 29-year-old receiver has had since 2009.
And while Marshall has always come back to the field to produce after his surgeries, something has to be said for the player expressing his own concerns and stating to media that he hasn’t been happy with his preseason performance.
Of course come game day in week one, Marshall more than likely will suit up. But will his hip be 100 percent? And will he adapt to being a part of an offense that now includes Martellus Bennett as a big, tall, physical, pass catching tight end?
Marshall is going to be drafted high because of what he did last season, but don’t let those numbers foolishly lull you into picking him before the fourth or fifth round at the highest. That hip is going to affect his numbers whether he is playing or not, and considering he is no longer the sole center of Cutler’s universe, that is going to affect his numbers too.
New head coach Marc Trestman is all about developing Cutler into the elite quarterback some think he can be, and this is going to mean spreading the ball to a cast of characters in much the same way Tom Brady and Peyton Manning do. And from the looks of it, this doesn’t seem like something Marshall will handle very well.
So while he does look to be a decent and productive receiver for the Bears, don’t count on Marshall to be your top guy. That is unless you are one of those risk-reward types. Because if that is the case, for better or for worse, the potential Marshall affords is definitely going to have someone in your league taking a chance on him. You just need to decide if that someone should be you.