In two seasons with the Chicago Bears, Brandon Marshall has 218 receptions for 2,803 yards and 23 touchdowns, with at least 100 catches and 1,200 yards along with double-digit touchdowns each season. He finished as the fifth-highest scoring wide receiver in ESPN fantasy leagues last year (198 points) and he was also the fifth-most targeted wide receiver in the league (163; 10.2 per game). Marshall is now 30 years old, but he is in his prime and has plenty of good years left.
Marshall suggested that he had a down year in 2013, despite having 100 catches and close to 1,300 yards, due primarily to offseason hip surgery that he feels hindered his ability to work at the level he wanted. A fully healthy offseason should help this year, and Marshall’s suggestion he will work to revamp his game is a scary thought for opponents.
Despite the emergence of Alshon Jeffery, Marshall was still the top target in Chicago’s passing game last year. The chemistry he and quarterback Jay Cutler have goes back to their days with the Denver Broncos, and if Cutler manages to stay healthy for 16 games this year Marshall’s numbers could theoretically improve a bit.
After missing at least one game each season from 2008-2010, Marshall has played all 16 games in three straight seasons.
Marshall had a few minor injuries last season, despite not missing a game. He has also had two hip surgeries in his career, so that is a potential concern going forward.
Marshall should continue to draw the opposing team’s best corner, which brings the possibility for a down week at an inopportune time for fantasy owners.
The departure of Josh McCown in free agency is a downgrade to Chicago’s backup quarterback situation, so if Cutler misses time again the passing game would surely suffer.
There’s no question fantasy owners can still target Marshall as a top-end WR1 this year, but among the notable names at the position I think he is overlooked at times. I won’t go so far as to say Marshall will be a draft day steal, since he will not last past the third round in most snake drafts, but he is as reliable as they come and a good start to any fantasy owner’s group of wide receivers.
Bye Week: Week 9
Projected Round: Second or Third Round
Auction Value: $37 (ESPN.com)
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter.