For the 2018 season, we will explore a 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout (or bounce back), and bust from every NFL team. First, a sleeper can leap into top-tier production at a bargain basement draft day price. A breakout is available in the middle rounds and will return positive value of at least a couple rounds. Bounce backs are normally helpful players coming off a down year or years whom you can acquire for a song. Busts are the worst case scenario: a player who drastically underperforms his draft position. While they may not be a wasted pick, you definitely don’t want them on your team.
We have already completed our tour around the NFC West, so we now turn our attention the NFC North. First up, the Chicago Bears
2018 Fantasy Football Sleeper – Mitchell Trubisky, Quarterback (ADP 153, QB22)
Trubisky will have all the weapons to be a 2018 fantasy football sleeper at his disposal. The OC who turned Alex Smith into a QB1 last season will be on hand as his head coach. He also improves on his Who’s Who of Who? receiving corps last year with fully restocked weaponry to realize Nagy’s plans for Troobs. While the “Bears are the new Rams” helium balloon hit the ADPs of guys like Trey Burton, Allen Robinson, and Tarik Cohen, Trubisky was left in the lurch. This is likely due to the depth of the position and the lack of a need to reach up out of the depths to snag a potential sleeper QB. Trubisky has QB1 upside and is currently undrafted in ten-team leagues.
2018 Fantasy Football Breakout – Trey Burton, Tight End (ADP 97, TE10)
There’s a clear through-line here. Matt Nagy turned Travis Kelce: massive freak of nature, into Travis Kelce: best tight end in the league. The Bears went out and gave a backup tight end a whole pile of money; a tight end who is already familiar with the offense. Andy Reid spread his tendrils out to Philadelphia, where Doug Pederson proselytized for Reid’s offense. This same offense turned Kelce and Zach Ertz into superstars and promises to do the same with Burton.
His ADP is getting a tad high for my tastes, but that is because he represents the last of a breed. After Burton, there be dragons here, as it’s bleak after his selection. This may cause draft stock helium until Burton no longer represents a great value. For now, you could do a whole lot worse than taking Burton in the ninth round of a twelve-team league.
2018 Fantasy Football Bust – Allen Robinson, Wide Receiver (ADP 45, WR18)
Allen Robinson has one (1) productive fantasy football season in his four-year career. Haters will tell you it is because Blake Bortles is an awful quarterback. While they’re not wrong, Bortles being an awful quarterback led to him throwing a ton of passes. The main beneficiary of his comeback antics was Allen Robinson. In 2015 and 2016, Robinson’s 24.5% target share on 302 targets across those two seasons was among the highest in the league, with his target total top-seven. His breakthrough 2015 season, wherein he scored 14 touchdowns, saw A-Rob getting 18 red zone targets, most in the league. He turned these targets into ten of his fourteen scores. In Chicago, there are many more mouths to feed than in his breakout campaign with the Jags.
In Chicago, Robinson will be a productive receiver, but red zone opportunities will go to Jordan Howard, Tarik Cohen, and Trey Burton, as well as Robinson. He’ll also go from a pass-happy offense to one that promises to be more balanced in Chicago. There’s too much working against A-Rob to make him my WR2, as his floor and ceiling both seem limited given his new situation. All this doesn’t even get into the trend of wide receivers struggling in their first year with a new team. Robinson will likely end up as a back-end WR2, so not a total bust, just not someone I’m looking to take at his draft price.
For more 2018 fantasy football sleeper, breakout, and bust looks, check out these: