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updated: 10/10/2013 10:44 PM

Jeffery making plenty of people look bad

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  • Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a catch against New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Chicago.

      Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery (17) makes a catch against New Orleans Saints strong safety Kenny Vaccaro (32) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013, in Chicago.
    Associated Press

  • Alshon Jeffery catches a third-quarter touchdown during the Bears' loss to the New Orleans in Week 5.

      Alshon Jeffery catches a third-quarter touchdown during the Bears' loss to the New Orleans in Week 5.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Alshon Jeffery points to the sky after his third-quarter touchdown last week. Jeffery finished with 10 catches for a team-record 218 yards.

      Alshon Jeffery points to the sky after his third-quarter touchdown last week. Jeffery finished with 10 catches for a team-record 218 yards.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Alshon Jeffery points after a first-down catch during their 26-18 loss Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.

      Alshon Jeffery points after a first-down catch during their 26-18 loss Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

  • Alshon Jeffery runs after a long reception against the Saints. Bears WR Brandon Marshall said Jeffery "could be the best (receiver) to ever do it."

      Alshon Jeffery runs after a long reception against the Saints. Bears WR Brandon Marshall said Jeffery "could be the best (receiver) to ever do it."
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

My apologies to Alshon Jeffery. And while we're at it, apologies to fantasy owners of Alshon Jeffery.

The slam-dunk-worst-call-of-the-year award goes to yours truly for placing Jeffery in the Bad Bets section of last week's column.

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Ten catches. Two-hundred and 18 yards. A touchdown.

Doesn't get much worse than that from my standpoint.

Of course, there was plenty of logic behind the pick.

Some of it came from the fact that the Saints are vastly improved on defense.

But a good deal of it probably came from decades of watching mediocre receiver after mediocre receiver come and go through Halas Hall. It seems downright apocalyptic that the Bears could have one -- much less two -- game-changing, off-the-charts, fabulous wideouts on the same team at the same time.

Willie Gault, Dennis McKinnon, Curtis Conway, Jeff Graham, Marcus Robinson, Marty Booker and Muhsin Muhammad all had their moments, but that's exactly what they were -- moments. None of them put together a string of sustained excellence that lasted more than a couple of years (Gault did lead the team in receiving yards from 1983-87 but didn't even have a 900-yard campaign).

So there's plenty of precedence here for not just mediocrity but downright abysmal play from the wide receiver position.

Jeffery has flashed plenty of raw talent in his first season-and-a-third in the NFL. And over the past three games, he's really broken out as defenses double- and triple-team Brandon Marshall.

"I've always said this guy could be the best to ever to it," Marshall said, according to csnchicago.com. "He's probably going to shatter all the Bears' records by the time he's done at the receiver position."

If he stays healthy, that seems like a solid prediction as the Bears' career leader is Johnny Morris with an almost hysterical 5,059 yards.

Coach Marc Trestman noticed plenty of changes as soon as the team began preparing for the 2013 campaign.

"He changed his body," Trestman said Wednesday. "He started to eat the right foods, and he worked out with Brandon to get his body right so he could elevate his game. Then he came here in OTAs and training camp and practiced like it was a game every day."

Heading into Thursday's game against the Giants, Jeffery had 15 catches for 376 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Weeks 3-5. For fantasy purposes, I think many of you are going to find it difficult keep him out of your lineups.

And for the "real" Bears fans out there, hopefully we are witnessing the berth of a truly elite receiver we can all enjoy for many years to come.

Terrible news:

The loss of Falcons WR Julio Jones is a massive blow to many fantasy teams out there. It will have a ripple effect for Matt Ryan, too, as he is unlikely to post QB1 numbers, at least until Roddy White (hamstring) returns, which may not be until Week 8 or 9.

As for replacing Jones, an obvious name is Atlanta's third receiver in the underwhelming Harry Douglas. Other options -- if they are somehow still available -- include the Cowboys' Terrence Williams and the Jaguars' Justin Blackmon.

If it's thin pickings, then it's either time to see what your bench is made of, or to make a gutsy, well-orchestrated trade by dealing from strength among your reserves. Move a quality QB or a good second or third RB and try to obtain a receiver who will get you a consistent 7-10 points a week.

My teams: Despite making one of the biggest fantasy blunders of the season by sitting Tony Romo (59 points) in favor of Cam Newton (9), my regular-league team (2-3) squeaked out a 103-99 victory thanks to James Jones (24 points) and Garrett Hartley (16). My unit-league team (4-1) made it three weeks in a row for high points in an 80-54 victory. In that league, Romo scored over half my points.

Good bets

•Redskins QB Robert Griffin III at Dallas. Detroit and Oakland completely shut down RG3, but with a week off, I like him to bust loose against a suspect Cowboys defense.

•Colts QB Andrew Luck at San Diego. The Raiders' Terrell Pryor was an impressive 18-for-23 for 221 yards and 2 TD passes against the Chargers last week in a 27-17 victory. The guess here is Luck approaches 300 yards and slings 3 TD passes.

•Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray vs. Washington. A consistent RB2, Murray easily hits RB1 numbers this week.

•Texans RBs Arian Foster and Ben Tate vs. St. Louis. Foster's a no-brainer start. Tate is a risky call, but I think he can hit 10 fantasy points in a game where Houston runs the ball 35-40 times.

•Frank Gore vs. Arizona. Some owners might think about sitting Gore when they see Arizona ranks in the top 3 in fantasy points allowed to RBs. The Niners, though, want to run a lot and Gore (80-plus rushing yards last three) is too hot to sit.

•Bucs WR Vincent Jackson vs. Philadelphia. Wide receivers have flat-out abused the Eagles this season. As long as QB Mike Glennon gets time to throw, Jackson's in for a nice afternoon.

•Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon at Denver. Blackmon owners, rejoice! He exploded last week (5-136-1), and now he's got Chad Henne throwing to him because Blaine Gabbert's out with a hamstring injury.

Bad bets

•Lions QB Matthew Stafford at Cleveland. We saw what happened last week when Stafford was without Calvin Johnson (game-time decision, knee). Facing a much tougher defense than Green Bay's, this could be a long afternoon for the Lions if Megatron is out.

•Patriots QB Tom Brady vs. New Orleans. Big-time risky call here, especially with Rob Gronkowski probably coming back. But my guess is Brady ends up outside of the top 8 among QBs.

•Packers RB Eddie Lacy at Baltimore. Only Buffalo's C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson have had any success against the Ravens. Lacy won't go over 65 yards from scrimmage.

•Steelers RB Le'Veon Bell at N.Y. Jets. The Falcons' Jacquizz Rodgers scored twice on Monday Night Football against the Jets, but don't expect Pittsburgh to exploit -- or even see very much of -- a two-deep safety formation that Matt Ryan took advantage of for Atlanta.

•Vikings WRs Greg Jennings and Jerome Simpson vs. Carolina. The Panthers have allowed just 3 passing TDs in four games.

•Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald at San Francisco. Apparently, I was wrong about Carson Palmer. He's been just awful, and Fitzgerald (52 ypg last four) owners are feeling the pain. It won't get any better on the road against one of the league's best defenses.

jdietz@dailyherald.com

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