Chicago State of Mind: Buy or Sell Bears Edition

If I had to have a mindset for when I think about Chicago, it would be: worrisome. Through some of my research, I came up on some disturbing news: the Bears haven’t had a top 36 fantasy wide receiver in the last three years. Now, granted, we can excuse last year when they had Who, Freaking and Cares as their starting receivers. In 2016, however, both Cam Meredith (42) and Alshon Jeffery (57) ranked outside the top 36. Both ended up with 800+ yards/90+ targets but failed to crack the 100 target/1,000 yard threshold. 2015 was no better with only Alshon achieving pretty much what he did in 2016. I’m afraid that we will see an underwhelming Allen Robinson in the same position.

This Has to Be the Year Right?

Knowing that those two are gone now and the whole receiver corps has been retooled, we have to have at least one guy in those 3 tiers right? There should be and here’s why.

The Bears have since hired first year head coach Matt Nagy from the Andy Reid coaching tree. What we know about those offenses is that they don’t Fox things up. He’s worked with a whole lot of Alex Smith in his time as a quarterbacks coach. It gives me hope for sophomore quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who has suffered under the grimy hand of John Fox. A big part of the fantasy community has been predicting that he will have a resurgence similar to when Jeff Fisher left the Rams causing that offense to take off. I see it happening, just not to the extent the Rams had. Trubisky is a more athletic QB than Goff and I believe we will see his rushing numbers increase over last years number of 41 for 248. It’d be crazy if we saw that double because that would be knocking on the door of Cohen’s attempts. I do believe that Trubisky will see an increase in passing numbers too, just not as much as Goff’s.

Because I don’t believe that Trubisky’s passing numbers will balloon as Goff’s did, I don’t think the Bears will have more than one wideout over 800 yards. I think with the way this offense is built, it’ll end up being Allen Robinson, Burton and Cohen atop the target chart. After that tier, I see Gabriel and Howard coming in next.

Growth is the Propane for Change

For such a paltry offense last year, I do see a change on the horizon for this team in 2018. Here’s my outlook for the prominent weapons for fantasy.

Allen Robinson

I like him in the second tier of receiver (13-24) as long as he can stay healthy. He has the tools to become a higher end receiver but it won’t happen this year with a new coach, different scheme and recovery from injury.

Taylor Gabriel

He was used as a gadget player in Atlanta and really similar to the Cohen/Tyreek build. With him and Cohen on the field, it’s going to be really fun to watch. So much elite speed together from the slot and backfield. He’ll end up as the third passing option (barring a Kevin White breakout) behind Robinson and Burton. Gabriel will be most teams’ 4th or 5th receiver drafted but will be worth the roster spot.

Trey Burton

Nagy has already mentioned how he’ll be used like Kelce was and that he will have him everywhere in the offense with Shaheen being more of an in-line blocking tight end. Burton will be able to create mismatches with linebackers on the inside and be the security blanket this young QB needs. I see Trey falling into the 8-12 range for tight ends.

Jordan Howard

I have him as a back end top tier running back (12th). He was 7th in total touches and I don’t see him losing much of that to Trubisky and Cohen. The only reason I won’t rank him higher is due to all of the pass catching work essentially going to Cohen.

Tarik Cohen

I get more excited than a kid at a candy corral with this guy. He was so electrifying last year catching passes and blowing by guys out of the backfield. Another one that Nagy has specifically mentioned having an increased role, I see him landing as a third tier running back with tier two capability. I have him ranked way higher (27) than my cohorts at Top 2 (unranked) and I didn’t realize how big that gap was until today.

Mitchell Trubisky

He embodies what I want in a fantasy QB, dual capability. Scoring normally always favors those types of QBs. He will end up being a great QB2 or streaming candidate depending on how you run your team. Our consensus rank has him at 17.

On the surface, this offense looks ready to take the leap and it resembles the Kansas City offense from last year, but they won’t. It’s going to take some time and we have to be patient. Trubisky possibly has a small scale Gronkowski on his hands in Shaheen (great dynasty asset) and Anthony Miller will be a starter within this offense very soon. Not to mention eyes should be kept on Bennie Fowler, Tanner Gentry (one of my favorites) and Javon Wims who is no slouch either. Don’t sleep on the Bears!

About Chris Nelson

Christopher Nelson is a very avid fantasy football fan and analyst. He loves music and art just as much and tries to find time for all three. Fantasy football has taught him the love of numbers and bolstered his drive for research making it only right that he writes. You can find him @THEffVigilante on Twitter.

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