I normally don’t comment on only 1-2 players, especially this early before training camps, but this article came across the wire. I felt like I needed to chime in, so chime in I will.
First of all, I’m not sure how Jeffery can be elevated because a top target leaves. Alshon is quite capable of putting up good numbers, but he did it mostly with Brandon as the #1. Jeffery doesn’t have high end speed to get away from speedier defensive backs. He does have height, length and the ability to out-jump many. I think he has some room to grow, but I don’t suddenly see him going into the Calvin Johnson territory. 1,200 yards and 10-12 TDs is probably on target. My fear is that if the Bears don’t get a speedy receiver in the draft, Jeffery could garner more attention, which will make it a lot harder for him to be productive.
As for Brandon? Even with Geno Smith, Marshall should not take that big of a hit. His best asset is: he can catch. Throw the ball in his general direction and he will come down with it more often than not. Brandon is a couple more 1,000 yard seasons away from Hall of Fame consideration. Edwards, Holmes and Decker are nowhere close. Marshall already has 9,771 yards receiving, 773 receptions and 65 TDs. He is almost “Geno proof”. As long as he stays healthy, he should pull down 80-100 receptions, 1,000-1200 yards, and 8-10 TDs, which would put him right around his career averages. Not only that, Eric Decker should have a better year as he will no longer be going up vs the oppositions best DB game in and game out.
You also have the Jay Cutler wildcard. Jay will no doubt be forcing the ball to Alshon. Will Alshon be able to bail him out like Brandon did? Remains to be seen. For that reason alone, I would keep Alshon as a high end WR2. I would downrank Brandon Marshall slightly, but he is still a WR1 in a 10 team league. Alshon is not too far away, I would probably put him in the 13-15 range.