In this edition of fantasy football “Face-Off”, I’m featuring two young wide receivers who may be ready to become elite options this year. Alshon Jeffery had a breakout season in 2013, with 89 receptions for 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns, while Randall Cobb had 25 receptions in his first four games last season before being sidelined by a broken leg and missing 10 games. Which NFC North pass catcher is the better fantasy option this year?
The Case For Randall Cobb
As I previously alluded to, Cobb was on pace for 100 receptions (136 targets) for 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns after the first four games last season. That pace would have been tough to sustain during the essentially eight games quarterback Aaron Rodgers missed, but it still points to Cobb’s potential if both are healthy.
The departure of James Jones in free agency leaves some solid production (123 catches, 1,601 yards and 17 touchdowns over the last two seasons) theoretically available in the Packers’ passing game. Cobb is in line to benefit more than anyone.
The Case For Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery had five 100-yard games last season (two 200-plus yard games), as well as five games games with less than five catches and five games with less than 60 receiving yards. Better consistency should come in his third season, and Jeffery will continue to benefit from Brandon Marshall’s presence.
Jeffery was targeted 19 times in the red zone last year, but it’s worth noting just three of his seven touchdowns came in that area of the field. I expect better efficiency this year, as long as Jay Cutler stays healthy.
The choice between Jeffery and Cobb really hinges on league format, since they are ranked similarly and their average draft positions are likely to remain close. Cobb has the potential to be a stud in PPR leagues, while I think Jeffery has more yardage upside and the physical tools to become a double-digit touchdown scorer. I’m not quite buying into Cobb as a top-10 to top-15 fantasy wide receiver in all league formats, so based primarily on that Jeffery is my choice.