Booms, Busts, Breakouts & Bets: Chicago Bears
As the mercury rises and we inch closer to training camp openings, our resident fantasy football aficionados, Brad Evans and Derek Brown, profile their favorite Booms, Busts, Breakouts and Bets for every NFL team. Giddy up, gamers. Today’s topic: The Monsters of the Midway.
Fantasy Football Booms - Bears
Allen Robinson, WR
Robinson is the midway volume monster. Last year he ranked 11th in target share (25.4%), 10th in targets per snap and third in overall targets (151). His share of this passing attack is locked in as Chicago didn't add any pass catchers of note this offseason.
Last year, Robinson was the WR13 in fantasy points per game last season despite dealing with Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. These errant pass masters led to Robinson's 23rd ranking in catchable target rate. Justin Fields and, yes, even Andy Dalton will be an upgrade in accuracy. Among all quarterbacks with 100 or more pass attempts last season, Dalton finished 12th in on-target percentage (78.4%). With improved quarterback play in his back pockets and elite volume, Robinson is a dark-horse candidate to step into the top-five fantasy wide receiver realm in 2021. — Derek Brown
David Montgomery, RB
Featuring the breakout, fantasy title difference maker in this space was unequivocally MANDATORY. Admittedly, Monty is a divisive figure in the gaming community. Draftniks who adhere solely to combine measurements deplore him, citing his unsatisfactory explosiveness and speed. Sensible humans, however, adore him, buying into the across-the-board volume, consistent yards after contact (3.15 YAC/att in ‘20) and missed tackle rates (21.9 MT% in ‘20). Yes, he benefited considerably from a Pillsbury doughboy-soft schedule, but it’s hard denying how well he excelled on stats he alone could control. Here’s another one: He finished RB4 in total yards created. Oh, and he’s also totaled more broken tackles than Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry since 2019, but who’s counting?
Tarik Cohen’s return and Damien Williams’ arrival, to naysayers, signals an inevitable doom for Montgomery. A more difficult slate, too, they say is a major deterrent. However, Matt Nagy and Co. are committed to the third-year rusher as the featured back. Plus, Fields’ inevitable insertion into the starting lineup combined with investments along the offensive line only bolster his potential. Locked into 16-18 touches per game, 1,300-1,400 combined yards with double-digit scores are buyable. It’s asinine his ADP sits at RB21 (39.90 ADP). Disparage him and I’ll meet you at the bike rack promptly after the dismissal bell rings. — Brad Evans
2021 Fantasy Football Busts - Bears
Tarik Cohen, RB
Cohen is every adult toy your easily seduced father purchased at full sticker price only to leave it collecting dust in the garage. The gadget back, who signed an exorbitant three-year, $17.25 million deal with Chicago before blowing out his knee last season in Week 3, adds a thick layer of fog to the Bears’ offensive design. It’s possible wideout Anthony Miller is dealt or outright cut before Week 1, sliding Cohen into the slot. It’s also possible he becomes a J.D. McKissic type, an often-used dumpoff option for Dalton and/or Fields. A Nyheim Hines-like complementary role, however, fits him best.
Due to Montgomery’s emergence and with Damien Williams on roster, it’s highly improbable Cohen sniffs the 79 receptions booked in 2019. Yes, he’s cheap (RB51, 160.43 ADP), but inconsistent returns, especially scoring TDs, are an almost certain outcome. If you’re chasing a depth RB who could rack the receptions, just draft James White nearly a full round later on average. — Brad Evans
Tarik Cohen, RB
The last time we saw Cohen for a full season (2019), he saw the volume we're looking for in drafts with the third-most targets (104) and the fourth-most receptions (79) at the running back position, but the wiggle from "the Human Joystick" was gone. Cohen ranked 58th in evaded tackles and 74th in yards created per touch.
Coming off a major injury, Cohen is a stay-away in drafts. This season he'll have to contend for targets after Allen Robinson with Darnell Mooney, the ascending Cole Kmet, David Montgomery and possibly Damien Williams out of the backfield. And as soon as Justin Fields takes over the dumpoff pass, looks are also going to take a tumble. — Derek Brown
Fantasy football breakouts for the Bears
Cole Kmet, TE
Kmet is primed for a massive breakout in his sophomore season. We saw Kmet assert himself in this passing offense down the stretch last season. In Weeks 12-17, he ran the 11th-most routes among all tight ends. In that same stretch, he played 50.7% of his snaps in the slot or out wide. Yes, I know Jimmy Graham is still there. The dusty corpse of Graham could limit the overall ceiling for Kmet, but that doesn't mean he can't finish as a top-seven tight end with him still on the roster.
Through the first 11 games last season, before Kmet’s ascension, Graham was fifth in red-zone targets (14), and the Bears' run-heavy design took over. Kmet could take over the primary tight-end role for Chicago this year, and if that happens, his current ADP (TE23, 169.1 overall) will be a joke. — Derek Brown
Justin Fields, QB
On par with using your anus as a bottle rocket launchpad, the Chicago coaching staff and front office continue to cling to silly notions that an open QB competition is unnecessary between Dalton and Fields. It’s plain dumb. As the rookie showed repeatedly during his memorable tenure with Ohio State, he owns the cannon arm, touch (87% catchable target rate in ‘20, QB6 among all D-1 college QBs), running ability and huddle command to deliver instant results. He’s a modern quarterback for a modern game.
Inevitably, Dalton, in vintage fashion, will wilt under the primetime spotlight in the Bears’ Sunday night opener in Los Angeles, immediately conjuring a chorus of boos from Chicago. To save his hide and likely the team’s season, inserting Fields into the starting lineup will happen sooner rather than later. Once promoted, the youngster will rocket backers to new dimensions. Think of him as a more accurate version of Jalen Hurts, a top-12 producer after his inevitable call to run the show. Go the extra dollar in drafts and prepare your bankroll for heavy OVER wagers on his weekly rush yards props. — Brad Evans
Best Bets for the Bears 2021
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Justin Fields to win Offensive Rookie of the Year (+700, DraftKings)
The sooner Fields takes over for the Bears, the better. His dual-threat ability at the quarterback position means explosive play opportunities. Over the last 10 years, 50% of the players to take home this award have been quarterbacks. At these odds, yes, I’m putting my money where my mouth is for Fields. — Derek Brown
Darnell Mooney OVER 700.5 receiving yards (-115, PointsBet)
Unshockingly, due to Chicago’s inept QB play a season ago, the fleet-footed wideout ranked WR10 in unrealized air yards and WR71 in catchable pass rate. Pair his speed with Fields’ more accurate Howitzer and Mooney eclipses the 800-yard mark. — Brad Evans