3) Zach Miller, Trubiskyís only truly trustworthy target,
destroyed his knee.
Since last season ended, the Bears hired a new head coach, the
more offensive minded Matt Nagy, who oversaw the rise of Tyreek Hill and the Chiefsí passing attack; Meredith should be
back and healthy this season; and now Trubisky has Allen Robinson
and Trey Burton to catch passes. The Bears are the most likely
bad team to have a complete turnaround this season but just because
itís obvious doesnít mean it isnít true.
No one is doubting Robinsonís talent or that he is capable
of being a top receiver in the league. We saw it in 2015, where
he posted 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns with the abomination that
is Blake Bortles at quarterback. I am in the camp that believes
in Trubisky as one of the best QB prospects in recent memory.
The go-to comparison is that the 2018 Bears will be the 2017 Rams.
There are a lot of similarities: sophomore quarterback after a
dreadful rookie season where he had no receiving weapons and a
horrible coach.Trubisky has elite level upside and Robinson makes
Trubisky better and vice versa. Trubisky can help ARob return
to WR1 status.
As for Burton, heís a no brainer TE1. When Burton stepped
in for Zach Ertz as the primary tight end, he excelled. He went
5-71-2 without Ertz in Week 14 last season. In 2016, he had two
games filling in for Ertz and he went 5-49-1 and 2-19. He also
had two games playing alongside Ertz where he saw 19 targets across
two weeks for a combined 12-118 line. Burtonís claim to
fame may be his touchdown pass to Nick Foles in the Super Bowl,
but heís really a Jordan Reed like talent at the position
and should immediately step into the main tight end role. Look
for the Bears to run a fair amount of two TE sets with Burton
and Adam Shaheen to go along with Robinson and Meredith. Burton
will be on the field a lot.
Bearsí quaterbacks only attempted 470 passes in 2017. That
number is going to increase significantly. While Robinson is unlikely
to duplicate the 151 targets he saw in 2015 and 2016, his efficiency
will improve immensely upon his embarrassing 50.6% catch rate
over those two seasons. Even if Robinson only sees 130 targets,
if we assume a bump up to a 60% catch rate, weíre looking
at a near 80-catch season.
Meredith enthusiasts like myself wonít be pleased with
the Bearsí adding Robinson and Burton in free agency, but
for redraft purposes, itís really not a bad thing. Meredith
is an undrafted free agent that broke out in 2016 and had his
2017 ascendant campaign derailed before it could even begin. His
value will be severely depressed in drafts as people not only
forget about him, but become more focused on Robinson and Burton.
Meredith is extremely talented and although his ceiling is capped
due to the talent around him, his cost could drop into the double-digit
rounds, making him a screaming value.
While it is difficult to imagine that the Bears could have six
fantasy relevant players: Trubisky, Robinson, Meredith, Burton,
Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen, if you think about the best offenses
in the league, they are all capable of supporting a number of
fantasy weapons. If Trubisky is as good as I think he is, he can
make two WRs and a TE work while Howard and Cohen both have value
as more teams in the league employ RBBC. The Bears offense, from
a fantasy perspective, could look a lot like the 2017 Vikings
with Case Keenum, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Jerick McKinnon, and Latavius Murray all possessing fantasy value.
2017 was a down year for pass attempts. If we project Trubisky
to attempt a modest 525 throws in 2018, we can easily find 130
for Robinson, 100 for Meredith, and 80 for Burton, which are all
tepid predictions. Those numbers would give all three fantasy
value while still leaving 315 targets for the running backs and
the role players. Itís honestly probably too many. The reality
is, the path to sustained fantasy value for Robinson, Meredith,
and Burton is not that difficult to see. The 2018 Bears should
be the type of team that relies heavily on their top two WRs and
their TE in the passing game, leaving scraps for everyone else.
To summarize, Robinsonís fantasy value increases, Trubiskyís
fantasy value increases, Burtonís fantasy value increases
substantially, and Meredithís fantasy value decreases, but
it will be offset by what I think will be an overreaction in draft
price making Meredith actually become a value once again. The
arrow is firmly pointed towards the sky for the 2018 Bears.