The Yahoo Fantasy analysts will preview all 32 NFL teams between now and the end of July as training camps open. We’ll tackle pressing season-long fantasy questions, Best Ball tips (new on Yahoo for 2019) and team win totals. Next up, the Chicago Bears.
The Chicago Bears were one of the more exciting teams in 2019, securing their first playoff berth and NFC North title since 2010. The offense was innovative, but their defense was ferocious and arguably the best in the league (and in fantasy) in 2018. The 2019 season will come with a lot of expectations for this young, talented core.
Can Mitch Trubisky continue to grow as a passer? Will a true workhorse emerge in the running game? Can Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller enter the top tier of WR duos?
David Montgomery, who the Bears traded up to acquire in April’s NFL Draft, has already generated a deafening amount of buzz. Will the first-year Bear ROAR or SNORE for fantasy purposes in his kickoff campaign?
Andy: HE WILL ROAR, SPREADING TERROR ACROSS THE NFC NORTH, LEAVING ONLY RUIN AND SUFFERING AND THE SOBBING OF FALLEN PACKERS. FEAR HIM!
That is to say, I think he’s gonna be OK. Montgomery has been a high-buzz player so far, plainly more versatile than Jordan Howard. We should be careful not to overhype him because he’s not an uncommonly flashy runner by NFL standards. I’ll let Brad handle the reckless hype. But Montgomery will almost certainly be a more efficient back than Howard while seeing 250-plus touches. He’s a great bet to deliver 1200 scrimmage yards and a pile of touchdowns.
Brad: When Cam Newton offers you $1,500 in cash to switch seats on a plane, you always accept, or at least negotiate. When Montgomery lands on your lap in Round 5, you do the same. Don’t second guess. Don’t flinch. Take the money and run.
Within the Ursidae family, Montgomery is Short-Faced in variety, a prehistoric mega bear who will ROAR through the NFC North. Mike Davis isn’t a threat, folks. And Tarik Cohen’s role, as he recently expressed, is expected to remain “unchanged.” In all likelihood, the rookie will slide into Jordan Howard’s 270-touch workload (16.8 per game) from 2018. If the case, he’s bound to shred the competition.
Draftniks will shout about Monty’s underwhelming athletic profile, pointed commentary they suggest is reason enough to avoid. But anyone with functional eyes can see how special a skill set he showcases. Deceptively powerful, sure-handed and squirrel-slippery, the youngster is the only RB in the Pro Football Focus era to force 100 missed tackles in a season — and he did it twice. Even more impressive, he accomplished the feat operating behind a below-average Iowa St. offensive line. Throw in his outstanding work ethic plus the fact he made first defenders whiff on 41.4 percent of his attempts last fall and it’s no wonder why he’s already earned much praise from Nagy.
Given Chicago’s elite defense, respectable run-blocking line and likely positive game scripts, Montgomery is sure to be in the conversation for Fantasy Rookie of the Year. A final tally near 1,350 total yards with 7-9 touchdowns is in the cards.
Player Pick ‘Em
Which Bear is the better buy respective to their ADPs: Allen Robinson (59.0, WR26), Tarik Cohen (52.9, RB25) or Trey Burton (113.4, TE12)?
Andy: ROBINSON had some terrific moments last season, including a dominant effort in the crushing postseason loss to Philly (10-143-1). Cohen is obviously a strong PPR play and Burton has a shot at reaching 6-8 touchdowns, but Robinson, to me, is a clear WR2 for fantasy purposes. He should be drafted in the 18-20 range based on talent, history, and situation. If you can get him anywhere near Pick No. 60, it’s a filthy steal.
Liz: ALLEN ROBINSON. It’s been a minute since A-Rob put up an elite fantasy season (1,400 yards and 14 TDs in 2015), but at only 25 years old (he’ll turn 26 in August) and entering his second year in Matt Nagy’s system, the second-round draft pick is poised for a comeback. Still not wholly healthy in 2018, and developing chemistry with greenhorn QB Mitchell Trubisky, Robinson’s 2018 numbers were far from eye-popping. However, there’s no denying that as the season progressed (Andy is 100 percent spot-on to mention Robinson’s 10-143-1 playoff appearance) his efficacy and efficiency improved.
Averaging 4.3 receptions per game and managing a catch rate of nearly 60 percent from Weeks 10 through 16, Robinson improved on his stats from the first half of the season. Furthermore, he remains one of the best contested-catch receivers in the NFL, posting a contested catch rate of 41.7 percent (WR20). Back to health and with a full offseason to study Nagy’s scheme, Robinson could flirt with 1,000 yards. Of course, with so many mouths to feed his lack of volume may be what keeps him below that benchmark. Regardless, his experience and savvy have earned him WR2 fantasy status, which his why he’s the Yahoo consensus WR20.
TRUE or FALSE
Mitchell Trubisky finished QB15 in total fantasy points last year. In his second season with Matt Nagy shouting through the headset, the competitive beer chugger finishes QB17 or better in traditional Yahoo scoring leagues (4 pts/pass TD, 1 pt/25 pass yds).
Liz: This is entirely possible, but QB is so deep that I’m going to say FALSE. Yes, Trubisky has potential AND weapons AND a creative play caller. That’s great. Sure, he also appeared to grow up in front of our eyes during the Bears’ heartbreaking loss to Philly in the postseason. But that sample size is too small to aggressively rank him ahead of a more proven player like Philip Rivers, or an electric upstart like Lamar Jackson. He’s my QB20, just behind Tom Brady and ahead of Kirk Cousins.
Brad: TRUE. Trubisky is still very much a lump of clay. Nagy started to mold and shape the passer last season, but errant throws, misreads and missed opportunities were too common. Overall, he finished outside the top-15 in three different completion percentage categories. His 19.1 fantasy points per game, however, placed him at QB13.
Trubisky’s fantasy performance ultimately boils down to rushing production. Make subtle advancements vertically (e.g. on deep balls), run with similar vim and vigor as he did in 2018 (421 yds, 3 TDs), and he’ll easily tuck inside the position’s top-17. Remember, he ranked QB7 in fantasy points per dropback a season ago. Roughly 3,400 pass yards, 400 rush yards, and 28 total TDs feels right.
Best Ball Bargain Bin
Andy: TREY BURTON is just the sort of TD-or-bust player who’s much easier to roster in best ball than in a standard season-long league. I can’t promise a substantial reception total, but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t top last year’s six TDs.
Liz: ANTHONY MILLER. He’s the NFL’s newest version of Doug Baldwin, a gutty slot receiver who wins contested catches and dominates in the red zone (7 TDs in 2018). Another year into his development and the No. 2 behind Allen Robinson, Miller figures to build on his rookie campaign. Currently being drafted in the double-digit rounds of 12-team exercises, he’s a solid value with easy WR3 fantasy appeal.
Mad Bets (From FanDuel Sportsbook): Chicago 9.5 wins OVER (+110) or UNDER (-130)
Andy: Forget the over, I’m going DOUBLE. That’s right, my friends: 19-0. Book it. Plan the parade.
Brad: The Bears’ division is tough and the overall schedule is the fifth-hardest of any team, but at +110 (Bet $100, win $110), the OVER is one of the best value plays on the board. Slap down a Ben Franklin, or three.
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