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2021 Dynasty Capsule: Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears are up next in our Dynasty Capsule series.

Every year, we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the prior NFL season. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the season, we will not use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you will see below.

Buckle up dynasty fans, because you are about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”

Jim Mora voice: “Playoffs? Playoffs?” Yes, the Chicago Bears made the 2020 playoffs despite finishing the season at .500 (8-8). The exit was an early one, as expected, as the offense failed to score a touchdown until the very last play of their game against the Saints. The Bears only have one quarterback under contract entering 2021.

You can count on a plethora of roster shuffling across the board. If those moves do not pan out, expect sweeping changes across the organization, including the likely termination of head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace. The depth chart data here was collected from Ourlads.

QUARTERBACK

Mitchell Trubisky (ADP 200.17, QB22)

The controversial quarterback is a free agent, but we all know he will not be back with the organization. Nagy all but assured that would be the case with his season-ending press conference. It is for the best. To say it was like an on-again/off-again romantic relationship would be an understatement. No matter. Trusbisky was not coming back anyway.

The biggest problem with all of this is that the “partners” (other quarterbacks) the Bears chose during the off-again times were just as bad, if not worse, than the former third overall pick. Whether it was Mike Glennon, Chase Daniel, or Nick Foles, it has not mattered who the quarterback has been in Chicago. It has been 35-plus years since they have won a Super Bowl or gotten the quarterback position “right.” Expect that trend to continue.

Nick Foles (ADP N/A)

While Foles is the only quarterback currently under contract, no one expects him to be the starter for the Bears in 2021. Chicago has been heavily rumored to be in on the Carson Wentz extravaganza along with the Indianapolis Colts. Part of the deal is supposed to involve a Foles reunion in Philadelphia, thus relieving the Bears of some of the burden of the awful deal they gave the journeyman quarterback just a season ago after the trade from Jacksonville.

Even if the veteran manages to start in Chicago, he has never been a QB1. There is minimal value here, even in superflex leagues where his ADP is QB48. Look for the Bears to make a splash somehow, someway this offseason. Whatever move that is, it is certain to impact the skill position players as well.

RUNNING BACK

David Montgomery (ADP 33.00 RB20)

He is perhaps the only player on the team who would not be impacted one way or another by whoever the quarterback may be. Sure, a top-tier quarterback means lots of fantasy goodness for all involved, but the floor is pretty safe here. Montgomery finished as the RB4 in 2020, after a respectable RB24 in his rookie campaign. Many attribute the high finish to the strength of schedule or lack thereof. Regardless, Montgomery managed to sixth in points per game (minimum of ten games played), ahead of darlings Nick Chubb and Jonathan Taylor.

Getting the prior season’s RB4 at RB20 screams value. Tarik Cohen (up next) may be involved in the trade for Wentz if the rumors are to be believed. Even if Cohen remains, he is coming off of a serious injury and is used only on passing downs and for situational work. Montgomery is one of the few “workload” backs remaining in the league.

Tarik Cohen (ADP 144.17, RB46)

As we just mentioned, the rumors suggest Cohen may well be on his way to Philadelphia with Foles in a trade for Wentz. The smallish back is coming off of a torn ACL suffered in September of 2020. His absence led to Montgomery ranking second in pass routes run by running backs last season. If Cohen sticks around, expect him to resume his regular target workload, which is quite impressive, to be honest.

Entering the 2020 season, the North Carolina A&T product was fourth at the running back position in targets, behind just Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and James White. That has changed post-2020 but is still an impressive stat, and Cohen was the best of the bunch on a per receiving opportunity basis in 2018.

Ryan Nall (ADP N/A)

The soon to be third-year back out of Oregon State did not see the field much more during his sophomore campaign of 2020. This was even with Montgomery missing a game in week ten. That week saw hybrid RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson see 12 rushing attempts to just one for Nall. On the season, the youngster saw just 6% of the offensive snaps. With a healthy Cohen in 2021, expect that number to drop back down to the 1% of snaps played his rookie season. There is not much value here, even if an injury is sustained in the Chicago backfield.

Artavis Pierce (ADP N/A)

An Oregon State backfield mate of Nall, there was a little bit of buzz around Pierce in training camp, but alas, even with the injury to Cohen and Nall not playing great, the rookie saw just 1% (13) on the season and rushed just six times for 34 yards and one touchdown.

The Bears are being mocked in some places to draft a running back. This would impact things down the line, depending on the draft capital invested in said player. This, along with all of the other positions on offense in Chicago, is in a state of flux.

WIDE RECEIVER

Allen Robinson (ADP 39.00, WR17)

Much like battery mate Trubisky, Robinson is a free agent in 2021. Where he lands should not impact his fantasy value much. The former Jacksonville Jaguar has been steady when healthy the past couple of seasons. Robinson has been underrated the past two seasons, as evidenced by his point per game rank versus his ADP and dynasty ranks.

A WR1 three times in his six-year career, the Penn State grad seems to have found his footing in the league. Still just 27, there should be a few years of quality production left from the wideout. The ADP feels just about right given the age and recent production. His landing spot or remaining in Chicago with an upgraded quarterback is likely to create a draft rise or fall in the off-season.

Darnell Mooney (ADP 106.50, WR52)

The rookie from Tulane was one of the few bright spots on the Bears offense not named Montgomery or Robinson. It was a solid campaign from the 23-year-old wideout. Mooney was sixth among all rookies in targets with 98. The youngster turned those 98 targets into 61 catches, 631 yards, and four touchdowns. A more accurate quarterback would have made those numbers look even more impressive. This is exactly the type of player you want to target later in drafts. Grab him with confidence, as he has shown to be able to produce even with poor play at the quarterback position.

Anthony Miller (ADP 174.00, WR80)

The veteran from Memphis is soon to be on the fifth year of his rookie contract. The Bears can release the inconsistent and often-injured wide receiver without much damage being done to the cap. Less than $500k would hit them for dead money and they would save over $1 million in space. The future is cloudy and Miller will likely land on his feet somewhere but is just as his ADP suggests he is, a back-end of the roster type player – especially going on 27 without quite proving himself just yet.

Cordarrelle Patterson (ADP N/A)

A free agent in 2021, Patterson is a much better real-life football player than he is a fantasy player. The former Minnesota Viking excels on special teams and is serviceable as a running back and a fill-in wide receiver. That being said, he carries zero value in dynasty formats.

Javon Wims (ADP N/A)

It was a surprise Wims was not cut immediately after the New Orleans Saints game for getting a boneheaded penalty in a major spot. That is not all. In the Wild Card game, Wims dropped an easy touchdown, totally changing the momentum of a game that ultimately ended up being a Bears loss. Wims is still under contract for 2022. But do not look for him to be around.

Riley Ridley (ADP N/A)

The younger, “other” Ridley is under contract through 2022 as well but just has not caught on in the NFL. Ridley was active for only five regular-season games, seeing just four targets. There is nothing to see here.

Dwayne Harris (ADP N/A)

The veteran free agent is 33 years old and merely provided special teams depth in 2020, playing zero snaps on offense.

DeAndre Carter (ADP N/A)

Another veteran soon to be free agent, Carter saw zero offensive snaps in his brief stint on the Bears. All told, the 28-year-old played 15 offensive snaps between Chicago and Houston.

TIGHT END

Cole Kmet (ADP 124.67, TE14)

The last of the “bright spots” from the season that was the 2020 Chicago Bears is Kmet. The rookie from Notre Dame fared well down the stretch and saw six or more targets in four of the last five games of the regular season. It is easy to see when the transition from Jimmy Graham to the youngster began. Looking at the snap counts, we notice that Kmet took over in week ten and never looked back.

During the five-game stretch to end the season, Kmet was TE19 with 40.9 PPR points. This is better than it sounds. It is just 6.4 points behind the TE12, TJ Hockenson, during that run. An improvement at the quarterback position and a year under his belt maybe all the highly-touted tight end needs to take the next step in 2021.

Jimmy Graham (ADP 235.67, TE36)

Graham is under contract for 2021 but is rumored to be a likely cap casualty. Owed $10 million, Chicago could save $7 million by cutting the veteran tight end before June 1. The move would cost them $3 million in dead cap, but the cash-strapped Bears are in a tough spot and likely have to make this move. The journeyman tight end showed flashes last season, but will be 35 this year and is not going to command many targets, wherever he may wind up. He is an easy pass except in the deepest of leagues.

Demetrius Harris (ADP N/A)

The 6’7” well-traveled Harris did play 20% of the snaps for the Bears on offense in 2020 but is a free agent entering the off-season and has never quite produced to the assumed talent that exists. The ADP N/A is appropriate here.

JP Holtz (ADP N/A)

Holtz is already 28 and has only been in the NFL for two seasons. An ERFA in 2021, look for Chicago to look elsewhere for depth. The Pitt alum was only active for one game in 2020.

Darion Clark (ADP N/A)

The former USC basketball player is under contract through 2023 but is merely a project and practice squad player at this point in his career.

2021 Dynasty Capsule: Chicago Bears
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