Despite an up and down season in 2020 without a real quarterback to lead the team, the Chicago Bears made it to the Wild Card game. They lost to the Saints but finished the season a lot better than most would have thought. The Bears have been very average in recent years, never making it past the Wild Card Round. In recent years, they have been carried by their defense as they have yet to find a true quarterback to lead their offense. With the Trubisky experiment over in Chicago, the organization spent their first-round selection on former Ohio State quarterback, Justin Fields. Fields looks to have the skill set of a franchise quarterback. The hope is that Matt Nagy and the organization can take advantage of Fields’ talent.
With the defense being the sole bright spot in recent success and the team not losing any key pieces on that side of the ball, the organization focused heavily on the offensive side of the ball in the draft. The team now has a young core on offense with Justin Fields, Darnell Mooney, David Montgomery, and Cole Kmet. Allen Robinson’s future with the organization is still up in the air, but the addition of Fields might help the situation. Even though Andy Dalton is a presence in the quarterback room, Fields should be the starter sooner than later. This team’s future success really hangs on the head of Justin Fields’ production because if he hits, this team could finally get past the Wild Card hump in the next couple of years.
2021 Fantasy Preview Chicago Bears- Projected Depth Chart
- Allen Robinson: When Robinson has been healthy, he has been a reliable fantasy WR. In the past two seasons, he has been a top 10 WR for fantasy managers, and there is no sign that he will slow down. With the emergence of Darnell Mooney, we could see defenses focus on someone other than Robinson. But regardless, Robinson has been a target hog with over 150 targets in 4 separate seasons of his career. Andy Dalton or Justin Fields should be an improvement over last year. Regardless of who plays quarterback, Robinson is quarterback proof as we have witnessed over his career.
- David Montgomery: This one might be a bit of projecting, but Montgomery finished as the RB4 last season, drastically improving from his rookie year. The offense looks improved with better quarterback play ahead. That signifies more trips to the redzone and more efficient touches for Montgomery. Again, there are no signs that Montgomery is going to falter this year, still only 24 years old. He should be in tow for another RB1 season (probably not top 5 with the return of Tarik Cohen to the offense).
- Justin Fields: The first-round QB has all the makings of a fantasy stud. He brings enough mobility to the position that gives him a slight boost to his fantasy potential. On top of his mobility, he was an extremely accurate quarterback and could be a top-end quarterback sooner than later. At the age of 22, Fields has a lot of potential and could be a great dynasty quarterback. Reports out of camp are that he is nearing the QB1 position for the Bears before the season even starts. Fields can make a case this season to be on the “Studs” list next year.
- Darnell Mooney: Mooney had a nice rookie year where he showed flashes of his potential. He slowly took over a larger and larger role whereby midseason he had a solidified spot in the starting rotation. To start the 2021 season, it will be between Mooney and Kmet to take over as the secondary target in the passing offense behind Robinson. But following the 2021 season, Robinson could be on a different team, leaving much more opportunity for Mooney. He should contribute as a solid WR3 in 2021 and is a great player to stash in dynasty leagues with a potentially expanded role in 2022.
- Cole Kmet: Despite taking a long time to get a solidified role in the offense and being behind Jimmy Graham most of the season, Kmet made strides throughout the season. He showed flashes as well and looks to have the potential to be a reliable fantasy TE. In redraft, he still has a risk to him with Graham still there, but following the bye week in Week 11 in 2020, Kmet was on the field over 75% of the time. He should have a legitimate role in the offense and provide a nice safety blanket for Fields. He is also a solid dynasty investment before he breaks out even more in 2021.
Keep an eye on
- Jimmy Graham: Despite the past success of Jimmy Graham, he is entering the twilight of his career. Mainly he has served as a streaming tight end, generally relying on touchdown upside in recent years. Now in his 2nd year in Chicago, 2nd-year player Cole Kmet appears to have taken over the starting tight end duties. Graham could see some touchdown upside if you need an option in a pinch as he still figures to be involved somewhat in the offense. But he is no longer a reliable week-to-week starter.
- Tarik Cohen: Even though David Montgomery has solidified himself as the top running back for the Bears, Cohen will still have a role in this offense. He provides a great PPR floor for deeper leagues, running back depth, or bye week fill-ins. As long as he stays healthy, his passing game work will give him a low-end RB2/high-end RB3 finish in 2021.
- Anthony Miller: Miller has been an offseason sleeper just about every year since he has been in the league. Now, it appears that Darnell Mooney has solidified a role over Miller and they just drafted another slot receiver in Dazz Newsome. Miller figures to be involved in some capacity this year but will be at best the 4th receiving option on the field. This year is the last year of his contract and a change of scenery might be the best thing for him. If you can in deeper dynasty leagues, keep him at the end of your bench.
- Khalil Herbert: Despite 6th round draft capital, Herbert has some interesting upside. He was a late bloomer in college but provides really good size and solid pass-catching abilities. He is a strong candidate to fill in for Cohen if Cohen misses more time. If Herbert can impress enough, he could make Cohen a cut candidate next year with an out in Cohen’s contract following the 2021 season.
- Dazz Newsome: Newsome was an exciting YAC slot wide receiver for North Carolina last year, and should provide some solid depth for Chicago this year. But in 2022, Anthony Miller should be on his way out, opening up a spot for Newsome to play in the slot. It’s a long shot for Newsome to work out and also for that role to be fantasy relevant with the presence of Kmet, Mooney, and potentially Robinson. He is a deep dynasty stash at the end of benches or on taxi squads.
***Note: All projections and discussions are assuming full PPR formats.***
IDP Analysis With IDPIggy
Desmond Trufant, Mike Pennel, Jeremiah Attaouchu
Fantasy Football Starters
Roquan Smith (LB), Kahlil Mack (DL/ LB), Danny Trevathan (LB), Tashaun Gibson Sr. (DB)
The loss of DB Kyle Fuller will be difficult to overcome, DB Desmond Trufant is a great defensive back, but Fuller is in the upper elite of his position. The secondary will be facing elite quarterback play in their own division. The secondary may not be great but they have arguably one of the best starting LB cores when healthy. LB Roquan Smith could finish as the top IDP in almost any format. LB Kahlil Mack may not be putting up the stats that he did with the Raiders, but he is a threat and serviceable on weeks against bad offensive lines. LB Danny Trevathan is capable of generating sacks and can shut down the run as well, posting 112 tackles in 2020. The defensive line added depth and is led by DL Akiem Hicks. DL Bilal Nicholas, DL Eddie Goldman, DL Mike Pennel, DL Mario Edwards Jr. will have opportunities for big games if K. Mack is double teamed. Without much depth at linebacker or in the secondary the Chicago Bears will need an injury free season, to have a dominate defense. Playing in the NFC North requires great cornerbacks, so the defense evaluation could hinge on DB Jaylon Johnson and DB D. Trufant’s ability to perform at a high level.
2021 Fantasy Preview Chicago Bears- Stat Projections
***Note Player Projections are only fantasy relevant players. Team totals may not add up as we left out players that may not have a significant impact on the season. Projections provided by Rich King and are based on 16 games.***
|Rushing Att||Rushing Yards||Rushing TDs||Passing Att||Passing Yards||Passing TDs||Total Yards||Total TDs|
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Image Credit: Mike DiNovo – USA TODAY Sports