Chicago selected UNC WR Dazz Newsome in Round 6 of the 2021 NFL Draft. Newsome broke out for a 72-1,018-10 line back in 2019, beating Dyami Brown in catches and finishing just behind him in yards and TDs. He took a step back this past year, though, tallying 54 catches for 684 yards and 6 scores. And then he bombed his Pro Day, running a 4.59-second 40-yard dash with bottom-barrel agility scores at 5’10 and 190 pounds. We thought Newsome looked more athletic on tape, especially after the catch. But he’ll likely be pigeonholed as a slot receiver in the NFL. If that holds in Chicago, he could potentially step in early if the Bears trade away Anthony Miller (which has been rumored).
The Bears picked up RB Khalil Herbert in Round 6 of the 2021 NFL Draft. After an underwhelming stint at Kansas, Herbert transferred to Virginia Tech and enjoyed a breakout 2020. As a 22-year-old senior, the Florida native tallied 154-1,182-8 in 11 games. His 7.68 YPC ranked 4th nationally. On film, Herbert excelled both after contact and as a contact-dodger. He also exits college with only 1 career fumble (507 career touches). On the negative side, Herbert is still largely unproven in the receiving game. He at least managed 17.9 YPC on his 10 receptions last season. In Chicago, he could be fighting Damien Williams for a 2021 roster spot.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that Bears HC Matt Nagy wants to have QB Andy Dalton spend this season as the starter, with Justin Fields learning behind him. Nagy, of course, was the Chiefs OC in 2017, when K.C. traded up to 10 to draft Patrick Mahomes and then sat him for a year behind Alex Smith. Overall, history says that Fields is more likely to enter the starting lineup at some point this season. But this report is worth taking seriously for at least current best-ball drafting. Dalton doesn't come close to Fields in upside for either real or fantasy football, but he's pretty similar to what Smith was in 2017. Dalton does throw a lot more INTs, however, than Smith did. He has also posted sub-.500 win-loss records in his past 5 seasons. It's hard to imagine a struggling Bears team not making a switch to Fields. It's also worth noting that Fields enters the league as a more-polished passer than Mahomes did. We'll see if the buzz changes once we get into training camp and preseason.
The Bears traded up from #20 to #11 to snag Ohio State QB Justin Fields. Fields’ career has run parallel with that of Trevor Lawrence since high school. He entered college essentially tied with Lawrence as the nation’s top recruit. After a year at Georgia, Fields starred across 2 Ohio State seasons. He delivered 63 TD passes vs. just 9 INTs while completing 68.4% of his throws at 9.3 yards per attempt. Fields ranked 2nd only to Alabama’s Mac Jones in Pro Football Focus adjusted completion rate among draft-eligible QBs in 2020 (80.8%). Fields adds dynamic running ability, tallying 1,133 yards and 19 TDs on the ground for his college career. Fields hits the NFL with at least as much fantasy upside as Lawrence and the potential to deliver QB1-level numbers right away. It shouldn’t take him long to beat out Andy Dalton for the starting job in Chicago.
The Bears have agreed to a 1-year deal with RB Damien Williams, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. The 29-year-old (as of April 3) spent 2 seasons with the Chiefs before opting out of 2020 over COVID concerns. Williams shined over late-season stretches in both of those years but totaled just 161 regular-season carries and 53 receptions over those 2 campaigns. He previously played under new Bears OC Bill Lazor in Miami but totaled a mere 51 rushes and 60 targets over those 2 shared seasons. Williams will join a Chicago backfield that finds David Montgomery heading into his 3rd season and coming off a torrid fantasy finish to 2020, plus Tarik Cohen coming off a September ACL tear. We'll see how all these pieces fit together, but we don't head toward 2021 with big expectations for the former Chief.
NFL Network reports that the Bears are expected to sign QB Andy Dalton to a 1-year deal worth $10 million, with a $12.5 million max. That sounds like the contract Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting in Washington and points to Dalton likely taking over the starting gig. Dalton is a better option than Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky but doesn't present a big upgrade to the fantasy outlooks of other guys in the Chicago offense.
Update: "They told me I was the starter," Dalton said, according to Adam Jahns of The Athletic.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that the Bears are "having trade discussions" with other teams about WR Anthony Miller and that the wideout is "likely to be dealt." Miller has caught just 2.9 receptions and 33.3 yards per game over 3 years with Chicago since arriving in Round 2 of the 2018 draft. He averaged a career-low 9.9 yards per catch last season and has seen his average target depth drop each of the past 2 years. We like the talent on Miller, who has flashed at times with the Bears. A move out of Chicago could be good for his fantasy upside both in 2021 and beyond. He'll turn 27 in October.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports that the Chiefs are releasing RB Damien Williams. The veteran, of course, opted out of the 2020 season for COVID reasons. His departure now creates a potential opportunity for Darwin Thompson to fight for the #2 job. Neither Darrel Williams nor Le'Veon Bell is under contract for 2021, leaving only Thompson and Clyde Edwards-Helaire. We'd bet on the Chiefs adding more either in free agency or the draft. Thompson is a fine shot to take late in best-ball drafts right now, though, in case he reaches the season as K.C.'s 2nd back.
The Bears signed K Cairo Santos to a 5-year, $16 million deal. Santos finally gave Chicago stability at the position last season, drilling 30 of 32 FG tries and 36 of 37 XPs. His job security makes him a fine pick in early fantasy drafts.
The Bears are placing the franchise tag on WR Allen Robinson, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. That means Robinson will remain stuck in Chicago's offense for at least another year rather than getting a chance to hit the open market this month. We'll see who his 2021 QB will be. Robinson, at least, has already proved he can produce strong fantasy numbers with the likes of Blake Bortles, Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. So we're not altering his fantasy outlook.
Bears CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) is inactive for today's game against the Saints. That marks the 4th straight game he has missed. With slot CB Buster Skrine (concussion) previously ruled out, it'll be the 4th straight week that Chicago has missed 2 of its top 3 CBs.
The Bears have downgraded LB Roquan Smith (elbow) to OUT for Sunday's game against the Saints. That leaves no clear full-time replacement behind him. It likely means full or near-full playing time for LB Danny Trevathan, though, making him a better IDP option.
The Bears have downgraded WR Darnell Mooney (ankle) to OUT for Sunday's game against the Saints. That boosts the fantasy football outlook for WR Anthony Miller.
Bears LB Roquan Smith (elbow) is questionable for Sunday's game against the Saints. He missed practice all week after suffering the injury in the 1st quarter of the Week 17 loss to the Packers. Smith didn't return to that game. We'll see whether he's ready to play in this one. CB Jaylon Johnson (shoulder) is also questionable. He returned to a week of limited practices after missing the season's final 3 games. We'll see about his status Sunday.
Bears WR Darnell Mooney (ankle) is listed as questionable for Sunday's game vs. the Saints. The rookie didn't practice all week, so it looks like he's in real danger of missing this one. Mooney has averaged 7 targets from QB Mitchell Trubisky over the last 6 games, so his absence would free up opportunity for Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller and Co.
Bears TE Cole Kmet (shoulder) is active for today’s game against the Packers. The rookie was limited in the final 2 practices of the week, adding some risk to his Week 17 outlook.
Bears TE Cole Kmet (shoulder) is questionable for this weekend’s game vs. the Packers. He was a full-go on Wednesday but limited on Thursday and Friday. We’re expecting Kmet to suit up for this win-and-in game, but check back Sunday to make sure he’s active.
Bears OLB Khalil Mack (shoulder) and DL Akiem Hicks (ankle) are active for today's game against the Jaguars.
Bears WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) is active for today’s game against the Jaguars. He tweaked that hammy in practice this week but was able to return to a limited practice on Friday. There’s a bit more risk here than usual, but Robinson remains a WR1 in the plus matchup.
Bears WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) is expected to play vs. the Jaguars today, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. A-Rob was added to the injury report and sidelined on Thursday but returned to a limited practice on Friday. There's some added risk here, but Robinson remains a WR1 in today's plus matchup.
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