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Alshon Jeffery's Updated Week 3 Fantasy Outlook After Brandon Marshall's Injury

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23:  Wide receiver Brandon Marshall #15 of the Chicago Bears celebrates with wide receiver Alshon Jeffery #17 after a 11 yard touchdown reception against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 23, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Andrew GouldFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

The Chicago Bears rely on Brandon Marshall more than any team depends on any wideout in the NFL. That will quickly change if the star is not healthy.

According to the Chicago Tribune's Brad Biggs, Marshall left Thursday's practice with a bothered back.

Fantasy owners should remain patient before freaking out, especially as long as the team conveys an optimistic outlook on their top target. But should he be unavailable for their Sunday night showdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Alshon Jeffery becomes an awfully intriguing option.

Last season, Jay Cutler threw 194 of his 434 pass attempts (44.7 percent) Marshall's way. Only Calvin Johnson received more targets. Cutler has struggled to build a rapport with any other receiver, but Marshall's absence would force the issue.

Jeffery is beginning to receive some more responsibility during his second season. Last week, the 23-year-old was targeted eight times, catching five of them for 42 yards. After seeing only 48 passes go his direction last season, that's a promising sign.

Marc Trestman is trying to spread the football around, but the depth chart is severely shallow after Marshall and Jeffery. If Marshall can't play or is even limited, Jeffery could easily get double-digit targets.

While Pittsburgh's passing defense ranks ninth in the NFL with 397 total passing yards allowed through two contests, the stats are padded due to facing the run-heavy Tennessee Titans during Week 1. Andy Dalton held his own against the Steelers Monday night, compiling 280 passing yards.

Jeffery is only worth playing in deeper leagues with a healthy Marshall, but those who own him in 12-team leagues might want to utilize him if Marshall cannot suit up.

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