Can Alshon Jeffery Make the Fantasy Leap in Year Two For the Bears?

I was searching around the web, just looking for some content for my upcoming Injury Report, which you can listen to on Wednesdays at 10:30pm ET, 7:30pm PT (shameless plug, sorry) and came across an interesting name that sort of perplexed me a little bit: Alshon Jeffery. Why is he perplexing? He’s a young player (entering his 2nd year) who showed some flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, only to be slowed down by injuries before he had a legitimate chance to break out. If you look just at the numbers, you’ll see the definition of mediocre: 24 catches on 48 targets, 367 yards, 15.3 ypc, and 3 touchdowns. Jeffery played in 10 games, but was never the same after breaking his hand in Week 5 while catching a TD pass against the Jacksonville JaguarsJeffery came back from the hand injury in Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers, only to leave the game with a knee injury.

With hand and off-season arthroscopic knee surgery behind him, Jeffery appears to be 100% healthy entering the 2013 season. Word last season was that Jeffery had let his weight get out of control, ballooning to over 240 pounds, which is still quite a bit despite his 6-3 frame. According to Rotoworld, Jeffery is now listed in the 215-220 range and reportedly at 11-12% body fat, which should allow him to avoid re-aggravating his knee issue as it appears he’s made an attempt to drop the weight and regain his athleticism. In addition, Jeffery will be playing in a brand new offense with the recent hiring of offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. The Chicago Bears offense should be much less vanilla this year, allowing Jay Cutler to take more shots downfield, which is what Jeffery excels at in the first place.

From an injury standpoint, Jeffery looks to have put last year behind him, especially considering how much weight he’s dropped and the improved conditioning he’s reportedly been working hard at. Currently, we have Jeffery ranked as the #50 WR in our 2013 Fantasy Draft Kit with an average ADP amongst receivers set at 49. I think you can get fantastic late-round value if you wait patiently on him and bank on his health, a new dynamic offense, and Cutler looking his way more with Brandon Marshall constantly double covered. Jeffery could prove to be a low risk, high reward sleeper heading into the new season.

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