The Bears had a very difficult season in 2016. Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley all started games at quarterback. Needless to say, the Bears offense was not churning out fantasy studs. Alshon Jeffery is now a Philadelphia Eagle, leaving 100+ targets up for grabs.
The signing of Mike Glennon and drafting of Mitchell Trubisky makes the Bears offense a difficult one to judge. How many games will Trubisky play in? Questions at the quarterback position are never good for fantasy football owners.
No rookie running back forced more missed tackles on running plays than Jordan Howard in 2016. pic.twitter.com/FqD9mUgEoh
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 26, 2017
The one bright spot for the Bears offense was Jordan Howard. After climbing from third on the depth chart, Howard finished the season with over 1,600 total yards. Howard will be the lead back in the offense and will be drafted as such. Howard is being drafted as RB9, which is the perfect spot for him. He’s not in the elite first tier but he will see the touches to return value for an early pick.
Sleeper: Tarik Cohen
One of the things holding Howard back from being elite, besides playing for the Bears, is his hands. Howard had 8 drops last season. Opening up a role for the Bears fourth round pick, Tarik Cohen. With 98 receptions in college, Cohen is the perfect complement to Howard in the backfield. With elite speed, Cohen will find his way onto the field and could be a potential sleeper in PPR leagues.
After trading Brandon Marshall to the Jets, the Bears have struggled to fill his role in the offense. This offseason they signed a trio of receivers coming off down seasons. All three should be avoided during drafts.
Victor Cruz was able to play in 15 games after a devastating injury during the 2015 season. His production did not return and his contract was too expensive for the Giants.
Kendall Wright on his motivation: "I probably was the best receiver on the Titans roster last year and I was playing like 10 plays a game."
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) June 13, 2017
Kendall Wright was drafted in the first round by the Titans in 2012 but never lived up to the selection. Wright is only 27 and has shown flashes of ability but won’t see enough targets to have fantasy value.
Markus Wheaton had the chance to be a fantasy stud last year but didn’t cash in. With Martavis Bryant suspended, Wheaton was thought to be the man to fill the void. After dealing with drops, Wheaton injured his shoulder and only played in three games.
The two receivers that should find their way onto fantasy rosters are Cameron Meredith and Kevin White.
White was selected in the first round of the 2015 draft, but missed the entire 2015 season due to injury. After playing in only four games last season, White is a risk/reward pick. Watching his college tape, you can see the potential and thats why he is someone to target late in the draft. The Bears will be losing games a lot, and will have to throw the ball. Garbage time points are counted just the same in fantasy football.
Cameron Meredith was low-key a number one WR down the stretch a season ago pic.twitter.com/bzIpTkVWJr
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) June 29, 2017
Bust: Cameron Meredith
Cameron Meredith played 11 games for the Bears in 2015, did you know that? I didn’t. Meredith broke out last season with 888 yards and five touchdowns (1 passing) in 14 games. With Alshon Jeffrey no longer around, Meredith looks to be in line for a big year. Not so fast.
Meredith sprained his thumb during OTAs, with what is being called a “ligament issue”. Reports are that he should be ready for the preseason, but hand injuries for receivers are not good. Meredith’s offseason ADP is WR44 but that will rise as we get closer to the season. If he is your WR3 or WR4 that returns value, counting on him in your lineup every week is too risky.