As the Chicago Bears head to Lambeau Field for a matchup against the division rival Green Bay Packers on Thursday, the fantasy football relevance of rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery hangs in the balance.
The former South Carolina star broke out last Sunday, grabbing three catches for 80 yards, including a beautiful 42-yard strike from Jay Cutler for a Bears touchdown.
After years of toiling with middling receiver talent, many are already anointing the 2012 Bears as the quarterback's most explosive offense in Chicago. And Jeffery's Week 1 breakout coupled with the team's acquisition of Brandon Marshall this offseason certainly gives that argument some credence.
With a matchup against a weak Packers secondary on tap, Jeffery's name has been a trendy Week 2 fantasy sleeper. According to FantasyPros, which is a website that averages the rankings of top industry experts, the 22-year-old has been ranked as high as No. 26 at his position this week.
If you believe the Green Bay secondary will focus the majority of its attention on Marshall, leaving other targets open in the process, then that ranking could come to fruition—I just wouldn't count on it.
Leaving aside all the historical data about the inconsistencies of rookie wide receivers, there are far too many other factors working in Jeffery's detriment.
For one, Cutler is a quarterback that loves spreading the ball out to different receivers. Outside of his historically great connection with Marshall, the Bears signal-caller has rarely found a "favorite" receiver.
With Marshall in the fold and the two likely rekindling their relationship from Denver, even Jeffery's best day will come as a second target.
For owners of the 6'3" stud, that's not a good thing.
In Cutler's three years in Chicago, No. 2 receivers have averaged 77.7 targets per season. That's an average of a little less than five targets a game. If you give Jeffery a 60 percent catch rate on those targets, that means he'll grab just 48 balls over the course of a 16-game schedule.
And with a ton of other secondary targets on the Bears' roster, it's unlikely he even reaches those middling projections.
There is no denying Jeffery has an abundance of talent. However, his status as a backup on his own team makes him almost unownable outside of keeper formats—let alone worthy of a start consideration.
It's wholly possible that Jeffery is a star and I'm missing the boat on this. But it's equally likely that he's a one-week wonder who just happened to catch a long touchdown pass.
Either way, there is too much risk involved for Jeffery to be a fantasy play this week.
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