- The Chicago Bears have a lot to be excited about heading into the 2019 season.
- Nick Petro is going to give out his projections for each major position.
Two months until NFL training camps open. We can do it!
For the first time in a long time, the Chicago Bears are heading into a season with high expectations. To prepare for fantasy football and the regular season, I thought it would be a good idea to project some of the major position groups on the Bears.
It’s something that will be fun to look at during the season, in January, and it will keep from going crazy in the meantime.
Today I will take a look at the Bears wide receivers for the 2019 season. Before we jump into my projections for 2019, let’s take a look at what the 2018 squad did.
2018 Bears Wide Receivers
-It’s still hard not to cringe when seeing Kevin White’s name. Oh, what could have been. From there, we see that the Bears spread the ball out on offense, especially between Robinson, Gabriel, and Miller.
-Let’s keep in mind that Anthony Miller played with one good arm during most of the 2018 season. He was also a rookie. Miller should have a breakout season in 2019. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if he doubled or tripled his receptions this season.
-The important thing to note here is that the Bears receiving core has grown in a major way from 2017 to present day. Want to throw up? Check out the Bears group of receivers from 2017 thanks to the great guys at The Chicago Audible.
#Bears 2017 WRs
Tre McBride#Bears 2019 WRs
Javon Wims / Emanuel Hall
Tremendous work by Ryan Pace in two short years!! 🐻⬇️ pic.twitter.com/lMSlOXlpeT
— The Chicago Audible (@ChicagoAudible) May 31, 2019
Let’s get into my 2019 projections.
2018 Allen Robinson was coming off an ACL tear, 2019 Allen Robinson has participated fully in the offseason program and is fully healthy. In 2019, we should see more of 2014-2015 Robinson, which is bad news for the rest of the NFL.
People forget about the versatility of Robinson. While he is known by most as a prototypical outside WR, he can actually play in the slot as well. In fact, Robinson played 33% of his snaps in the slot last season according to PlayerProfiler.com.
I expect Robinson to have more of a role in the red zone in 2019. He saw 12 targets in the red zone last season. His end zone target share, however, was 26.5%. That ranked 33rd in all of the NFL. Robinson managed to score four TDs last season. I believe he will double that number in 2019.
For more on Robinson, check out my thread on him.
🚨🚨Missing football🚨🚨, decided I will do a thread every Sunday on one current or former #Bears player leading up to training camp. This week: Allen Robinson. He’s poised for a big season in 2019. People forget he’s only 25-years-old. ARob has a lot of football ahead of him. pic.twitter.com/Pf6P7Wrr1z
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) May 26, 2019
Taylor Gabriel set a career high in receptions and yards last year. While he was productive, I see his numbers taking a slight dip in 2019. There are now so many options on the Bears’ offense that Gabriel will be more of a deep threat than anything.
He will also still be involved heavily in the short/screen game.
Gabriel’s snap share over the last five weeks actually decreased according to PlayerProfiler.com. That’s a trend that will continue in 2019. That doesn’t mean Gabriel won’t be a vital part of the 2019 Bears.
In 2018, Gabriel had a True Catch Rate of 93.1%. What is True Catch Rate you ask? It is total receptions/catchable targets. Gabriel’s 93.1% True Catch Rate was good for third best in the NFL last season. On offense, you always want a player that can make difficult catches, that player is Taylor Gabriel.
Miller played with basically one good arm in 2018 as a rookie. In 2019, I expect him to take a big step forward and become the No. 2 WR in the Bears’ offense.
Miller should easily double the amount of catches he had in 2019 and will score 10 or more TDs. He scored 7 TDs in his rookie campaign. Again, with one good shoulder. If healthy, Miller could lead the Bears in receiving.
According to PlayerProfiler.com, Miller’s QBs had a rating of 117.5 (13th best in the NFL), when targeting him in 2018. That tells us he’s a reliable target for Mitch Trubisky, who needs to target Miller more in 2019.
For all you fantasy football nerds out there, Miller was also #11 in fantasy football points per target in 2018. I Love him over in Play Draft’s Best Ball Tournament.
Patterson is one of the most difficult players to project for the Bears. He caught over 20 passes last season and that was with the Patriots, who had a very thin receiving core throughout most of the year.
The Bears have a ton of weapons on offense, but I’m not sure Patterson’s usage will increase in 2019.
I’d like to see Patterson get more red zone targets in 2019. Last year, he saw just three red zone targets and one end zone target. Patterson is a weapon and should be used like one. If I were Nagy I would have Patterson out there in the red zone to, at least, be a decoy.
Line up him up in the backfield and have him run a route. He can do just about anything on the football field.
Check out my thread on him below.
🚨🚨Missing football🚨🚨, decided I will do a thread every Sunday on one current or former #Bears player leading up to training camp. This week: Cordarrelle Patterson, my favorite offseason signing made by the #Bears. He will be a weapon on STs and offense. #NFL pic.twitter.com/ZX2y9LG5pI
— Nick Petro (@PetroTLS) June 2, 2019
The Bears are so stacked at WR that Javon Wims could be a roster cut when training camp is all said and done. Wims was solid in the 2018 preseason and the few times he was called upon in the regular seasons.
Without major injuries though, the Bears are going to be too stacked at receiver for Wims to make a major impact. Could he have 2-4 catches a game, almost Josh Bellamy like? Yes, that’s very possible. It just hard to predict right now.
Training camp will be HUGE for the second year Georgia Bulldog.
Riley Ridley, brother of Calvin Ridley, fell to the Bears in the draft. He’s more of an outside threat but has the versatility to play in the slot as well. Like Miller and Wims last season, Ridley may struggle to see targets throughout the year.
He has the talent to pass Wims on the depth chart, however.
Ridley had a contested catch rate of 75% according to PFF. Again, many analysts had a late second round grade on Ridley, so it was surprising to still see him there in the fourth round when the Bears drafted him. Ridley has the upside to eventually replace Allen Robinson.
If you want a great breakdown of Ridley’s game, check out “X’s and Soble.”
#Bears fans – with so many offensive weapons on the team, one may question what Riley Ridley's role will be in 2019.
After examining Matt Nagy's preferred route concepts and tons of Ridley tape, I have an answer. Watch my video film breakdown to find out!https://t.co/doCv9uPAGD
— Jack Soble (@jacksobleTLS) May 4, 2019
Chicago Bears just got Georgia WR Riley Ridley. Why did he last this long? Big in every bulldog game I watched. Tough. Dependable. Feels like a total steal. Best late pick so far IMO.
— Colin Cowherd (@ColinCowherd) April 27, 2019
* Honorable mention Emanuel Hall – Like Wims, camp will be everything for him. Probably a practice squad player early on.
Nick is the editor-in-chief at TheLoopSports.com & owner of TheChalkTLS.com. He is also a fantasy sports junkie, sports bettor, and Bears/Football fanatic. For more fun, follow him on Twitter @PetroTLS.