Brandon Marshall: Alshon Jeffery 'could be the best to ever do it'
Second-year receiver Alshon Jeffery exploded in Week 5, having by far the best game of his young career. He posted a draw dropping 10/218/1 line, taking advantage of the one-on-one coverage that resulted from the Saints' game plan for Marshall. He entered Week 4 with just 104 receiving yards on the year, posted a 5/107/1 line, then followed it up with this absurd performance. He broke the Bears' single-game receiving record (214 yards) that had stood for 59 years.
After the game, Marshall was asked about what he thought of his blossoming teammate. "I've always said this guy could be the best to ever do it," Marshall responded. "He's probably going to shatter all the Bears' records by the time he's done at the receiver position."
You may be wondering where this Jeffery character came from, but those who pay attention to college football know exactly what Jeffery is capable of. During his sophomore season at South Carolina, Jeffery caught 88 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns. A legitimate first-round talent, Jeffery seemingly packed it in during his junior year, letting himself get out of shape and completely failing to overcome a poor quarterback situation. He finished his final year at school with a very disappointing 49/762/8 line.
After dropping in the draft due to character and work ethic concerns, Jeffery fell to the middle of the second round, at which point the Bears decided to roll the dice by trading up and snagging the troubled playmaker. It initially looked like the risk may have backfired, as Jeffery had a chance to be the No. 2 receiver in Chicago, but finished his rookie year with just 24 catches for 367 yards. Just five games in the 2013 campaign, however, Jeffery has already topped both of those rookie totals.
Marshall's "best to ever do it" comment may be a little overzealous, but it is clear that Jeffery can be a big-time player in this league. While the scales tipped heavily in Jeffery's favor (as opposed to Marshall) in Week 5, they should even out as the season moves along. Teams have begun to take away Marshall and make quarterback Jay Cutler beat them in other ways, but now that Jeffery has broken out, opponents will no longer be able to leave him in one-on-one coverage. Jeffery's emergence should ultimately be a good thing for Marshall, who will begin to see lighter coverage and have more space to operate.
If Jeffery is available in your fantasy league, pick him up.