Who would have thought through five weeks Brandon Marshall would not lead the Chicago Bears in receiving? Well, that is exactly what it has come to at this point. Through week five, second-year pro Alshon Jeffery has surpassed Marshall after a career day in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.
Jeffery now has 428 receiving yards on the season in 28 receptions, and two touchdowns — both of which have come in the last two games. Marshall, on the other hand, has 378 yards and three touchdowns on 31 receptions.
What’s the most impressive stat about Sunday’s game against the Saints? Well, there’s actually two.
First of all, Jeffery broke the all-time single-game receiving yardage record for the Bears with his 218 on the day. Not too shabby for a sophomore wideout, right?
Secondly, Jeffery already has more receptions (28) through five games than he did in all of his rookie season last year (24). He’s one touchdown away from matching his total for 2012 as well. In four of five games this year, Jeffery has been targeted at least eight times with a total of 24 targets in the last two weeks.
This is very telling when it comes to Jay Cutler and his confidence in Jeffery. Remember, last year Marshall accounted for 40 percent of the team’s receptions — a league high. Cutler has finally found another guy that he is not only comfortable with, but confident in.
Jeffery is absolutely a must-own in every fantasy league now, because of that fact. Defenses will now have to pick their poison with the Bears offense — when is the last time you heard that in this lifetime? If they double Marshall — which is likely to happen more often than not — that means Jeffery will have single coverage for Cutler to look at real closely.
Jeffery’s emergence can only mean bigger and better things for this Bears offense and Cutler’s continued development. Grab him if he’s available, which in most cases he very well could be. Many are skeptical about the Bears’ offense still, but the past two weeks have done wonders for Jeffery’s stock.