Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery will be a key part of the Chicago Bears' offense moving forward, even though he's caught just 14 passes this season. But how concerned should fantasy football owners be about the hand injury he suffered in Sunday's game versus the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Michael C. Wright of ESPN Chicago gives us a Monday morning update:
mikecwright) October 8, 2012
When the Bears return to action in Week 7 against the Detroit Lions after a Week 6 bye, only start Jeffery if you have no other option. If his hand injury becomes a real problem, don't take a chance by playing him.
Jeffery has played well at times this season, but his lack of touchdowns and receptions makes him a poor choice to start in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues.
The rookie from South Carolina has 14 catches for 184 yards and two touchdowns this season, or a per game average of 2.8 catches, 36.8 yards and 0.4 touchdowns per game.
That kind of production isn't good enough to make Jeffery a regular starter on your fantasy team right now, but be sure to watch how many times he's being targeted in the Bears' passing game.
Quarterback Jay Cutler has been throwing to star receiver Brandon Marshall quite often this season, but at 6'3" with the ability to make highlight-reel catches, Jeffery is a quality target all over the field.
Jeffery has big-play ability, so even when he doesn't catch a lot of passes, he can still rack up a lot of yards. He is currently averaging 13.1 yards per catch.
As the season continues, Jeffery should become a bigger part of the Bears' offense as he earns more experience and his chemistry with Cutler improves.
However, the Bears have only three games remaining against teams with pass defenses that rank in the bottom half of the league (16th through 32nd).
There won't be a lot of great matchups for Jeffery down the road, and since he hasn't produced much to this point, he should not be started unless you have no other choice.
Jeffery has the potential to play well every time he steps onto the field, but since he hasn't been consistent yet, starting him each week is a risk not worth taking.
He's a great player to have on the bench, and someone who can be very valuable in keeper leagues, but he's not a No. 2 or 3 receiver at the moment.