Mar. 11, 2017
Free Agency Fantasy Impact: Alshon Jeffery
The first few days of free agency have not been short of excitement! Unforeseen trades, surprise signings, and team changes have highlighted the past 48 hours. Alshon Jeffery was one of those signings, or should I say non-signings? With all of the changes currently taking place in Chicago, many speculated that the Bears would do whatever it took to keep their #1 wide receiver from leaving town. Whether the Chicago Bears front office did in fact try everything or not is unknown. What we do know if that Alshon Jeffery will be a Philadelphia Eagle next season after signing a one year deal. So what should we expect from a fantasy standpoint from the five year veteran in 2017?
For starters, Alshon gives the Eagles a true #1 wide receiver that they have been lacking. Jeffery will be joining an Eagles squad with a much better supporting cast and an upgrade at the quarterback position (not saying much I know). Entering his 2nd season in the league, Eagles QB Carson Wentz should benefit from having a 6’3” 220-pound receiver that can create mismatches all over the field, especially in the red zone. The Philadelphia Eagles could use all of the help they can get in that area, ranking 24th in the league in terms of red zone efficiency in 2016. Jeffery's production in the red zone was also down in 2016, only scoring two touchdowns. This stemmed from a combination of inconsistent quarterback play and a lack of red zone targets. Alshon saw just 12 red zone targets last season, 62 players were targeted more. He will also give Wentz more confidence to take shots down field knowing that Jeffery will come down with 50-50 balls more often than not. He will also look to benefit from an increase in targets as the Eagles offense ranked 6th in passing attempts in 2016 compared to the 22nd ranked Chicago Bears.
If Jeffery can stay on the field all season (or at least for the majority of it) he could end up being one of the bigger steals of the 2017 fantasy season depending on how far he falls in drafts based off his injury history. Alshon showed what he is capable of when he plays all 16 games in 2013 and 2014. In those years he averaged 87 receptions, 1,277 yards, and 8.5 touchdowns. Don't be surprised if Jeffery ends up being a top-10 wide receiver in 2017.
There are still a lot of unknowns when it comes to how this Eagles squad will look by the start of the season but Alshon Jeffery was a great weapon to add to the mix. When healthy, Alshon Jeffery is as good of a talent at the wide receiver position as any. The injury concerns are valid for a player that has missed 11 games over the past two seasons. Those concerns also might contribute to a knock on his draft stock among your league members come draft day, capitalize on that!
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