Daily Dr. Roto — July 19, 2018
Chicago Bears Team Preview
Outlook: The Chicago Bears have a new coach in Matt Nagy and a bunch of young, talented players at the skill positions. The question is how quickly they can start putting wins on the board. Success might not happen overnight in Chicago, but it is much closer than Bears fans realize.
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QB: John Fox was loath to start Mitchell Trubisky last season and did so only when he realized that ownership demanded him to. That said, it was good for Trubisky to get into some real games and he showed a good amount of potential for the organization to be excited about him moving forward. A lot of my fellow experts are projecting a breakout year for Trubisky, but I think they might be a year early. The potential is there, no doubt, but he is going to need time in Nagy’s system and to harmonize with new receivers before this offense clicks. Trubisky is very mobile for a young QB, and I think he could be a sneaky source of Fantasy points. So, while he won’t ever be confused with Cam Newton, he can help Fantasy owners with his arm and legs.
RB: The Bears are lucky in that they have two excellent young running backs to lean on. The first is Jordan Howard. Howard is a battering ram who seems to excel the more he touches the football. Howard benefited from playing under John Fox, as Fox gave him all the carries he could ever want in this offense. That won’t be the case this year. Matt Nagy has already said that he will game plan specifically for each opponent, so Howard’s carries could go down about 20%. That said, Howard will be the short yardage and goal line RB, and I expect that he will get about 20 touches a game. He is a 3rd round pick in most Fantasy formats, but I am not sure there is more upside there unless Tarik Cohen gets injured. Speaking of Tarik Cohen, John Fox screwed around with his playing time last season. At first, Cohen was used liberally in the Bears’ offense catching balls out of the backfield. Then as Trubisky came in to lead the team, Fox took Cohen out of the offensive game planning primarily because he wasn’t happy with Cohen’s blocking ability. But by benching Cohen, Fox took away one of the Bears most talented offensive threats. That won’t happen this season. Not only has Cohen put on ten pounds of muscle, but Nagy will also game plan plays specifically for Cohen, much like he did for Tyreek Hill back in Kansas City. Look for Cohen to be taken in the 6th or 7th round of most PPR leagues.
WR: Three out of the four leading receivers for the Bears are new to the team in 2018. This could be one of the reasons that it takes the team time to gel and find its stride. The Bears new WR1 is Allen Robinson, formerly from Jacksonville. ARob is a tremendously talented player who demands a ton of targets—and deserves them. He is a huge target in the red zone (he had 20 TDs in 2015-16 in Jax) and also makes plays in the middle of the field. He will be someone Trubisky can lean on to make a play in crucial situations. The new slot receiver will be 2018 second round draft pick Anthony Miller from Memphis. If you have never heard about Miller before reading this preview, I encourage you to YouTube his highlight reel from college. He was an explosive receiver who made huge plays regularly (including 18 TDs last season). He is an excellent addition in dynasty formats. The WR3 is going to be Taylor Gabriel, formerly from the Falcons. Although I don’t expect Gabriel to replicate what he did during Atlanta’s Super Bowl season, I think he could be a sneaky smart addition to the Bears offense. Gabriel’s speed on the outside will force a safety to cover him, leaving the middle of the field open for either Anthony Miller or a tight end to exploit. The WR4 is former first-round pick Kevin White. White is an unrealized talent who has not been able to stay healthy at the pro level. He is probably undraftable except in best ball formats as he would need an injury to see enough targets to make an impact.
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TE: The Bears signed former Eagles TE Trey Burton as a free agent this offseason to be their ”U” receiver. This is the spot that Travis Kelce plays for the Chiefs. While I am not comparing Burton to Kelce, I do think that Nagy understands how to use the tight end position properly and I think that Burton should see about 60+ receptions. The other tight end is Adam Shaheen. Shaheen is an enormous target with surprisingly good hands. He was an early round pick in the 2017 draft, and a lot of people close to the team were surprised that they went out and got Burton with the way Shaheen has been progressing. That said, it normally takes tight ends about three years to mature into the position and Shaheen as a former basketball player who might need a little more time to adjust. He could end up stealing about 5TDs due to his enormous size in the red zone.
K: With the Bears offense starting to look a little brighter, I think that Cody Parkey could be a very nice late pick for Fantasy owners. Parkey, however, does not possess a huge booming leg, and the turf at Soldier Field is often very dicey to kick on as it gets cold throughout the season.
D: The Bears defense will continue to improve, and for those of you playing in IDP leagues, you will want to own Roquan Smith. Smith was one of the best linebackers I have seen play in the past decade in college, and he should be a Sam Mills-type tacking machine in Chicago.
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