Alshon Jeffrey has been suspended for PED use that will cost him the next 4 games. For Fantasy purposes, that’s the last 3 games of the regular season and 1st round of the playoffs (or last 4 games of the regular season depending on your league).
Jeffrey will be back for the fantasy semis and finals and I believe he’s worth owning for these four reasons:
1. Despite his poor play this year, Jeffrey still has elite talent, size and opportunity. He is easily the #1 WR in Chicago and gets 7-13 targets per game. Keep in mind that his poor stats this year have mostly been with backup QB Brian Hoyer. Jeffrey is averaging a decent 9.3 fantasy points per game in games with Cutler at QB (non-PPR). That puts him in WR2 territory. Certainly not where he was drafted to be, but not terrible.
2. I assume Jeffrey likes $$$$. This suspension will cost Jeffrey $3.4 million this year and even more in the future as he is set to become a free agent. This suspension combined with his poor stats the first 10 weeks don’t bode well for him in the open market. However, a couple monster 100+ yards, 1-2 TD performances to end the season when he is back, will help to keep his price tag high.
3. His schedule in weeks 15 & 16 is pretty good. Coming off of 4 weeks of rest he will have games at home against Green Bay and Washington, both of which have mediocre secondaries (16th and 15th in yards against the pass respectively).
4. The price tag for him has never been lower.
Fantasy Strategy for Alshon Jeffrey
If you don’t own him and feel good about your chances of making the playoffs
Now is the time to acquire Jeffrey. Throw a low-ball offer over the his owner and go from there. If you can get him without sacrificing a starter, perfect. If you have to sacrifice a starter that is pretty weak, I would do it.
If you don’t own him and are in a race for the playoffs
Still make an offer, just don’t offer up any of your starters. You never know what the owner will take. If he’s also in a playoff race he may be desperate and take a WR3/4 you can replace on the waiver wire.
You own him and think you will make the playoffs
Stash him away.
You own him and are desperate for wins to make the playoffs
Trade him. Make it publicly known he’s on the block and start a bidding war if you can.
Fantasy consequences for the rest of the Chicago Bears
This lowers Jay Cutler’s value but nobody should be starting him anyway so that’s a non-issue. This news is a bump up for everyone else on the Bears. Cameron Meredith and Eddie Royal are worth a pickup. It always depends on your other receivers but I think both are WR3/Flex options if you need the help. Jeremy Langford also gets an uptick in value and is worth stashing. He will likely get 4-6 receptions per game out of the backfield with Jeffrey out and may be even more involved pending news of Jordan Howard’s apparent injury. Zach Miller gets a small uptick in value as well and may be a decent replacement for Gronk owners next week.
A sneaky play if you have the bench room is Kevin White. He’s far more talented than Meredith, Royal and Langford and if he returns from injury before Jeffrey returns from suspension, he’s likely looking at 10-15 targets per game.
Bonus Fantasy Advice – Managing your bench post bye-weeks
After week 11, there are only two teams remaining with bye weeks, the Browns (the only week they don’t lose?) and the Titans. That means that barring injury, you have no need for a bench and will ride your starters the rest of the season. Unless you have a weak starter that you rotate out pending the matchup, I suggest you drop all backup QB’s, TE’s, K’s and Def’s and keep just 1 backup WR. That frees up the rest of your bench to swing for the fences with backup running backs. You’re looking for the ones that have absolutely no value right now, but would become instant, difference-making RB1’s if the starter in front of them gets injured. Specifically, I’m talking about:
Derrick Henry, Bilal Powell, DeAngelo Williams, Alfred Morris and maybe Charcandrick West.
Good luck with your Alshon Jeffrey Trade Requests!