Chicago’s Super Bowl hopes came crumbling down last year with a missed kick by Cody Parkey in the Wild Card matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles. Coined as the “double doink,” the ball bounced twice on different parts of the goal post forcing the Bears to lose 15–16. Although a heart-breaking loss that would lead to an uproar from fans, the 2018 season needs to be viewed as a breathe of fresh air for this organization and fan base. The Bears have been competing against the dominance of Aaron Rodgers and a resurgent Minnesota Vikings, keeping them as an afterthought in the NFC North. The 2018 regular season showed improvement from Mitch Trubisky and an insanely dominant defense led by former Oakland Raider, Khalil Mack.
Getting bounced from the playoffs in the Wild Card game is definitely a let down, but 2018 was the Bears first time to the playoffs since 2010. The Bears organization made several great moves to turn their team around, but the best move they did was bringing in Matt Nagy to replace John Fox. The coaching change coupled with Trubisky’s leap forward as a quarterback and Mack’s savagery on defense are big reasons for their success. Another year with this group together should result in a good 2019 season. They made great adjustments to the roster that should keep them as the favorite for the NFC North.
The 2019 off-season was a bit more calm compared to the 2018 off-season. As the new league year approached on March 13, the Bears did not make any big time signings. Instead, a more reasonable approach was taken to address positions of need. While the Bears roster remained mostly intact, the offensive side of the ball had some room for improvement. The Bears finished ninth in scoring, so you ask “where is the room for improvement?” They also finished 21st in yardage.
The first most notable move was trading Jordan Howard to the Philadelphia Eagles. As soon as Nagy arrived, rumors swirled that Howard was not a good fit at all for his system. To address the departure of Howard, the Bears brought in Mike Davis through free agency, signed Cordarrelle Patterson and then drafted David Montgomery. These new additions all have better hands than Howard, which should compliment Trubisky this year.
Another area on the offense that was addressed was the wide receiver group. The group already had Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, and Anthony Miller. To that group, the Bears added Riley Ridley and an un-drafted rookie Emanuel Hall. The Bears find themselves with one of the more faster groups of receivers. Other notable moves for the offense would be along the offensive line by resigning Bobby Massie, Ted Larsen and signing Cornelius Lucas.
Even with some key losses defensively, GM Ryan Pace did a good job filling the holes. The Bears saw Bryce Callahan and Adrian Amos leave the team. But in their place Buster Skrine, draft pick Duke Shelley and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix should make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks. Aaron Lynch re-signed with the Bears, giving them good depth at outside linebacker. Additionally Isaiah Irving, outside linebacker, and Roy Robertson-Harris, defensive end, bolster depth on an already stout defensive unit.
Trubisky could be a huge steal at the quarterback position for the fantasy year. He made a leap forward last year in comparison to his rookie year. He will now be in that same system that made him much better for a second year with mostly the same and arguably upgraded offensive weapons. To cap it off, Trubisky does have some rushing appeal. Last year he rushed for 43 yards five times. He is going very late in drafts, and if you adopt the “draft a quarterback late” approach, he could help you win it all.
This backfield might be a bit of a risk as it does seem quite crowded at the moment. Tarik Cohen, Davis and Montgomery are all likely to see time on the field. Cohen has established himself as a good flex with how fast he is and his ability to catch the ball. Davis or Montgomery could be the guy, however Montgomery has more appeal at this moment in dynasty leagues. Be careful taking these guys, as this backfield likely needs some time to settle. All could be used as viable flex plays, but it is risky.
Bear wide receivers might be very tricky. All these guys seem very fast and it could be hard to pin point just one as the “star.” I think this season if you are drafting Gabriel, Miller or Robinson you are essentially throwing darts at a wide receiver dart board. One week we will see one of these guys blow up, only to kill you with a dangerously low floor the following week. Probably best to avoid these guys as I think these pass catching options benefit only Trubisky.
It is safe to say this Bears defense is probably one of the first to come off the board in most drafts. If they are anything like last year, they are worth taking as the first defense. However, in terms of fantasy defenses are to volatile to take too early. I was fortunate to get them as my last pick in one league last year and reaped the benefits. Taking an early swing at the Bears defense might be tempting, but not advised. Gauge your league, if you know them well enough perhaps you can get this defense in the late rounds without sacrificing good picks for depth.
This team came off an impressive 12–4 regular season with epic defensive performances. They dominated the NFC North for the first time in a long time. It won’t be easy though, as Rodgers still leads the charge for the Green Bay Packers, and the Minnesota Vikings have an all round impressive roster. With only a few adjustments needed this offseason, I think the Bears enter the season as the NFC North favorites, remaining at the top of this division with 11 wins.
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