The fantasy football waiver wire in Week 1 can be a fickle beast. If you didn’t get in on the usual suspects, however, one name you must consider is Chicago Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery.
He’s a big-bodied receiver who was drafted in the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash and has a 36.5-inch vertical. These moves combined with a 6-foot-3, 216-pound frame make him a force that is hard for opposing defenses to stop with just a cornerback alone.
Last year, he failed to meet expectations partially because of nagging injury, but also because he struggled to get off the jam. Admittedly, like a lot of rookies, his route running was not all that crisp. A full offseason getting healthy and another year of maturation helped in those areas. What really matters is the fact that he will now be playing in Mark Trestman’s offense.
Jeffrey is in a place in his career where double coverage can shut him down cold. To put it simply, he needs at least another year of development to be able to get good at getting off the jam and transition cleanly into his routes.
What’s nice is that Trestman’s style of offense is designed to spread opposing defenses out, creating single coverage that quarterback Jay Cutler can exploit to bring the defenses up towards the line of scrimmage.
We saw evidence of this in Week 1, where Jeffrey was targeted eight times for five catches and 42 yards. With deft timing, Trestman’s offense then switches and lets the fastest receiver slip loose deep. With Brandon Marshall gimping around and whining about his hip, that leaves the soft hands and fleet feet of Alshon Jeffrey to develop into the Bears’ deep threat this year.
He’s no sure bet or else you would have picked him on draft day. He will, however, fill a hole on your defense in a way you just might be proud of by midseason.