Projecting Receptions by Position: NFC North

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Chicago Bears

2017 Totals
Mitchell Trubisky: 196 completions on 330 attempts (12 games)
WR Group: 94 Receptions
RB Group: 60 Receptions
TE Group: 42 Receptions

2018 Projections
Mitchell Trubisky: 325 completions on 500 attempts
WR Group: 170 Receptions
RB Group: 80 Receptions
TE Group: 75 Receptions

The Bears might very well have the toughest offense to project for next year. They still have Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen in the backfield. Mitchell Trubisky is obviously still there, although John Fox somehow managed to redshirt him even while he played (seriously, what is this?). After that…Adam Shaheen is still there? On the flip side, Shaheen is now behind new acquisition Trey Burton, all three starting receivers have been newly brought in either through free agency or the draft, oh and John Fox and Dowell Loggains have been replaced by Matt Nagy and Mark Helfrich. One way or another, this isn’t your 2017 Bears offense. For projection purposes though, there is something we can latch onto; Mitchell Trubisky is an accurate passer, and while he is a solid runner he is still a pass-first QB. Sound a bit like the QB Nagy had in KC? What Nagy didn’t have in KC was a solid defense like the Bears. Chicago’s defense probably would have been sniffing the top 5 if the offense could do anything productive to give the defense a rest. They retained Vic Fangio and brought in some fresh blood at LB, so the defense isn’t going anywhere. Between the strong defense, spectacular thunder-and-lightning backfield duo, and Trubisky’s inexperience, I would expect Nagy and Helfrich to keep Trubisky to actual NFL-level low volume instead of the bubble wrap low volume John Fox stuck with. I’m projecting somewhere around 500 pass attempts. Presumably Trubisky’s accuracy comes up significantly while playing in a real NFL offense (receivers who occasionally catch passes thrown their way help too) to around 65%, which comes out to about 325 completions.

The trickiest part is determining how those 325 completions will be divvied up. The RB group deserves some attention; Cohen and Benny Cunningham are both solid receivers out of the backfield. Even Jordan Howard, for all his struggles, managed to tally 23 catches last year. Of course, Chicago is paying Trey Burton big bucks to fill the Travis Kelce role, and sophomore Adam Shaheen is still around. But then we can’t forget about the completely revamped receiving corps; Allen Robinson comes in from Jacksonville to fill the X, Taylor Gabriel left Atlanta to man the Y, and newly drafted Anthony Miller is ideal for the Z. Besides, with Kevin White healthy again it’s like getting an extra first round pick! (I only laugh to hide the pain…) Overall, I think Nagy and Helfrich will have to dial back the aggressive offense they’d like to run until Trubisky gets some real NFL experience, so the RB’s and TE’s should get a bigger slice of the target pie, especially early in the season. By the fantasy playoffs I would expect some combination of Miller or ARob to be a reliable fantasy start, but I just don’t see the volume to support both as high end receivers this year.

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