Marshall or Jeffery?
By Thomas J. Harrigan, Fantasy Sports Writer
Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Millions of moms now know who Chicago Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall is after he went on "The View" with his wife Monday morning and signed a three-year contract extension on the air.
Fantasy owners, of course, have been familiar with Marshall for a long time, as he has been one of the best receivers in football since 2007.
However, a case can be made that he's no longer the best receiver on his own team after Alshon Jeffery put up 89 catches, 1,421 yards and seven touchdowns last year.
Fantasy owners are going to have a tough decision to make between Marshall and Jeffery in 2014 drafts.
In standard scoring leagues, Marshall had just 12 more fantasy points than Jeffery in 2013, and Marshall is now 30 years old while Jeffery is only 24.
Jeffery is going into his third season and should continue to progress on the mental side of the game.
Jeffery also averaged three more yards per catch than Marshall and had far more highlight-reel catches.
But the pick is still Marshall because of the man who remains under center for the Bears.
Marshall is Jay Cutler's favorite receiver, and that isn't changing.
To take a line from Rob Schneider's character in "Big Daddy," Cutler and Marshall go together like lamb and tuna fish (or spaghetti and meatballs if you're more comfortable with that analogy).
Marshall is really the only player who can make the perpetually cantankerous Cutler crack a smile.
The quarterback proved that he wasn't quite ready to stray to Jeffery when he returned from an ankle injury in Week 15 last season.
Jeffery had picked up 17 catches for 333 yards and three touchdowns on 24 targets the previous two weeks with Josh McCown throwing to him, but Cutler came back and immediately started gunning the ball to Marshall with reckless abandon.
In the final three games, Cutler targeted Marshall 31 times and Jeffery 23. Marshall had three scores to Jeffery's one in that span.
On the year, Marshall caught 59 of 93 targets for 698 yards from Cutler, while Jeffery saw 90 targets and caught 50 balls for 773 yards with Cutler throwing passes. Pretty close. But Cutler went to Marshall more often in the red zone, hitting him for eight touchdowns and Jeffery for three.
Jeffery also had just three 10-target games when Cutler started to Marshall's seven.
McCown actually targeted Marshall more than Jeffery, 70-60, but Jeffery caught 39 passes for 648 yards and four touchdowns from McCown while Marshall had 41 catches for 597 yards and four scores from the backup QB.
Marshall is the much safer choice, having put up 1,000-plus yards for seven straight seasons and double-digit touchdowns in the past two, while Jeffery has one year of top-level production under his belt.
Jeffery could very well duplicate his numbers from 2013 this season, but if you're choosing between the two Bears wideouts, you want the one the quarterback is looking at, and often throwing to, first, especially when six points are on the line.
05/20 16:55:25 ET