FanTav 2017 Fantasy Rankings: #29 Bears

The Bears need a Hurricane Ditka to have a chance this season.

2016 Review: The Chicago Bears 2016 campaign was as shitty as expected; however, the road to mediocrity was paved much differently than expected. Injuries to their QB, starting HB, primary WR, and TE made them pretty useless in the fantasy world. Despite this, Da Bears surprisingly produced the 15th best offense in total yards from scrimmage. But in classic Bears fashion, they finished in the bottom tier of points scored averaging 17.4 points/game. The only silver lining to the Bears season was rookie and waiver wire gem, Jordan Howard, who scampered for the second most yards rushing of any running back.

2017 Changes: The Bears easily had the most interesting offseason of any NFL franchise. After releasing Jay Cutler, they signed Mike Glennon to a $45 million dollar deal only to then (mind-bogglingly) trade away a few very high picks to move up a single spot in the draft to select Mitchell Trubisky. The Red Giraffe is now a $15 million per year stopgap until the North Carolina prospect is ready to go. Da Bears also allowed Alshon Jeffrey to walk over to the Eagles on a one year deal meaning that they are now relying on Cameron Meredith and a group of underachieving WRs to pull their weight.

2017 Outlook: The Bears are certainly a work in progress that will have many moving parts going forward this season. This is never desirable for a fantasy owner that wants consistent production out of their players. Jordan Howard is one of the few feature backs left in the league that should see around 20 touches per game, but teams will obviously key on him considering he’s the only known weapon they possess. With a questionable yet athletically-gifted lottery pick QB likely to play at least the second half of the season, the Bears are a risky proposition to own through the air.

Most Reliable Fantasy Star: Cameron Meredith was a nice waiver snag last year producing start-worthy numbers in a large portion of games. Although Meredith can’t be relied upon to be a Week 1 starting WR2 or even WR3 (considering we don’t know who is throwing him the ball), he does possess an enticing predraft ranking of 40th on Yahoo at the WR position. Sure the Bears brought in many several respectable options in the passing game (Kendall Wright, Victor Cruz, Marcus Wheaton, Rueben Randle), but Meredith has the recent history and opportunity to be the primary WR out of the gate and you have to love that draft value.

Biggest Potential Bust: Jordan Howard was excellent last season and was one of the most productive backs from scrimmage in the league. Despite not getting the touches early in the year, Howard still managed 15 or more carries in 11 games last season. With that being said, a late first round pick seems a bit high to spend on a player on a terrible team that has a small supporting cast. If I’m drafting an elite rusher, I want a player on an elite team (or at least a solid team). Howard shouldn’t be considered a top tier RB1 or first round draft pick heading into this year considering all the question marks on the depth chart. 

Best Sleeper: Zach Miller has quietly produced low end TE1 numbers when healthy, but he’s rarely healthy for an entire season. With two QB projects taking snaps, the checkdown option should be Miller considering Howard only had a few games in which he caught over 3 passes. Miller should be available in deep leagues nearing the end of the draft and is a fine second option for a TE needy team.

Overrated Sleeper: Victor Cruz was great….like six years ago. Somebody will get sentimental and snag him late in the draft or Marcus Wheaton. Neither has been a worthy investment in recent memory. Kendall Wright is intriguing though and could take over the passing attack.

One Interesting Fantasy Stat: Did you that prior to Zach Miller’s Week 10 injury against the Giants he was on pace for over 75 catches in 2016? 

One Thing I Was Right About (Last Year): I thought Jeremy Langford was garbage heading into last season and was happy to see other fantasy managers draft him in the 5th or 6th round. I really liked Jordan Howard, but lacked the stones to draft him in leagues. Oh, and I’ve never liked that Jeffrey fella.

One Thing I Was Wrong About: (Whispers) I actually thought Jay Cutler had a little fantasy value heading into last season as a deep sleeper.

Best Porn Name: Kyle Long is too obvious, so I’ll go with the guy starting right next to him on the line in Cody Whitehair. Sounds like an elderly pornstar. He’s putting the lemon party in Jack Lemon. 

Final Thought: We will miss…Mrs. Cutler as an active NFL WAG (oh wait, she’s active again!). Her husband is a douche though.