Fantasy Football: Breaking Down Fantasy Relevance for Rookie WRs

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2012

Sep 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) catches a 42 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jay Cutler (not pictured) during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field. The Bears won 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE

I play in four different fantasy leagues, so I find myself scouring four different waiver wires in each league. Inevitably, I found myself with Alshon Jeffery in one and Stephen Hill in another.

And I'm pretty happy to have landed each.

Now, I'm not expecting either to suddenly become Calvin Johnson and dominate my leagues. Both were added as wait-and-see stash plays after putting up big Week 1 numbers, but how long will I have to stash them? Will either have fantasy relevance this season?

And will they trump the other rookie wide receivers seeing playing time this year?

I'll start by saying I really like Jeffery's prospects this season. Yes, I'm aware Brandon Marshall received 15 targets and Jeffery got five. No, I don't think you'll consistently get performances where Jeffery turns three receptions into 80 yards and a touchdown.

But I do like the fact that Jeffery looks good enough already to be the No. 2 receiver behind Marshall. I like that he's on a Bears offense that should be very good this season. And I like that his size and leaping ability make him dangerous in the red zone.

If you have a keeper league and he's still available, go get him. 

But what of this Stephen Hill fellow?

Hill had a huge debut against the Bills, snagging five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. That's about as sustainable as (insert political joke here depending on which party you support). Hill's six targets were second only to Santonio Holmes' eight, but let's keep a few things in mind here:

  • Dustin Keller was targeted just once. That won't happen again.
  • The Jets scored 48 points against the Bills. That also won't happen again.
  • Mark Sanchez is still quarterbacking this team. That alone should cause you to temper expectations for the New York wide receivers.
  • The Jets are better suited to be a running team in the first place.
  • Tim Tebow. Somehow, he'll factor into everything at some point. 

There are reasons to like Hill as a stash play, however. Given his size and athleticism, he's both a deep threat and a red zone threat. And with a contentious past between them, there's always the possibility that Sanchez will look to Holmes less and Hill more as the season goes on. 

So if you can, grab him, throw him on the bench and see how his season plays out.

As rookie wide receivers go, I think it's still to be determined. Blackmon looked really good this summer and should be the top option for the Jacksonville Jaguars, but Blaine Gabbert is still his quarterback. That's not a good thing.

As for Kendall Wright, I like him a lot but I'm pretty sure he'll remain down the pecking order for Jake Locker behind Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Jared Cook. 

What I'm saying is that of all the rookie wide receivers who could make an impact in fantasy this year, I think Jeffery is the best option. He had a good summer, he has a chance to carve himself a solid role in the Bears offense and, oh yeah, that offense is the best one we've mentioned here.

Add Jeffery. Temper your expectations for now, but expect decent returns down the line.


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