The 2019 NFL Draft is in the rearview mirror, and it’s time for the next part of the NFL calendar: massive, rampant speculation about guys who have never played in the NFL before or have never played together or both. They will go through drills in shorts, and we will endlessly project and prognosticate on their fantasy football futures. However, there are 78 guys who might have fantasy football relevance after their names were called in Nashville at the end of April. Our goal with our Fantasy Football Rookie Roundup series is to give you a quick hit on every fantasy football-eligible player drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. By the end, you’ll know these guys better than their mother does. Because it’s not like their mothers are necessarily good at fantasy football.
Now that the NFC West is in the bag, let’s make like Jon Snow and turn our attention to The North. The NFC North, that is, and the Chicago Bears. The Chicago Bears had some great fantasy football production last season, with Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen as top-twenty backs, Trey Burton as a top-twelve tight end, and Mitchell Trubisky turning in the highest three-week fantasy football scoring stretch of 2018. They jettisoned Jordan Howard, replaced him through the draft, and shored up the receiving corps as well. The Chicago Bears took three fantasy football position players in the 2019 NFL Draft, but what can you expect from them in the 2019 fantasy football season?
Round 3, Pick 73 Overall – David Montgomery, Running Back, Iowa State
There isn’t a fantasy football rookie getting more buzz in the community than David Montgomery in… *checks notes* …shorts and helmets season. Anyway, not a whole lot of this has to do with David Montgomery. It has everything to do with the, “well someone is going to do it!” theory of fantasy football analysis. Jordan Howard vacated a ton of touches and someone has to fill that hole in the Bears offense. And it’s not going to be Mike Davis.
This is the same theory that got us Torrey Smith as a fantasy football sleeper with Chip Kelly, and Paul “Smash Jackson” Perkins in 2017. That situation was so egregiously terrible that the Giants spent a top-five pick on Saquon Barkley to make us all forget. We thought that position was going to be a fantasy football goldmine because… hey, someone has to do it, right? That’s kind of where we stand with David Montgomery as a sleeper in 2019.
That having been said, worse players could end up in this position. Montgomery’s college tape shows a player who isn’t the most elegant of players, but he is a dude who loves bashing through contact. Montgomery makes something out of nothing a lot, and a lot of it has to do with being good in space with a violent running style. Watching him reminded me of a poor man’s Marshawn Lynch or an extremely rich man’s Chris Carson. Good speed, without a lot of burst. I saw Saquon comparisons about his style, but I’m not quite there yet.
The short: he’s good, and the narrative surrounding him has lured us into much worse players for much stupider reasons in the past. And his only competition for Jordan Howard’s evacuated touches is Mike Freaking Davis.
Round 4, Pick 126 Overall – Riley Ridley, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Ridley is the brother of Falcons sophomore wide receiver, Calvin Ridley. Because of this, and because we are dumb creatures who like to find patterns where there are none, some people like to put Calvin’s skillset onto Riley. That’s not exactly the smartest thing to do here. Riley Ridley fits better not as a deep threat, but as a technician working underneath.
If you love watching great route runners, then you should draw the curtains, get a drink, turn on some Marvin Gaye and watch some Riley Ridley tape. He is a monster, regularly leaving players in the dust. He also, curiously, spends plays running straight at the CB for a reason I can’t quite figure out.
He’s not the fastest guy out there, as his combine scores can indicate (4.58 40-yard dash), but his amazing route running and his good ability to get something after the catch would indicate that he should have a good career ahead of him with the Bears.
Ahead of him is the key phrase there. Like, at some point. Somewhere in the future. Unfortunately for 2019, there are just too many mouths to feed in Chicago to expect anything in fantasy football out of someone who isn’t a dynamic athlete. He could have some value as a chain mover in Chicago if a couple of the big names go down, but he’s buried behind Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, and Taylor Gabriel.
Round 7, Pick 222 – Kerrith Whyte Jr., Running Back, Florida Atlantic
Kerrith Whyte is good at one thing that could be fantasy football relevant, and that’s bouncing the ball outside and zooming for a touchdown. Luckily for the Bears, he’s really good at that one thing. He doesn’t have the best vision, or hands. He loves hitting walls at the line of scrimmage before trying to bounce it outside.
The Bears will likely use him like one would a Percy Harvin or Cordarelle Patterson-type player. Which is odd, since the Bears literally have Cordarelle Patterson. He’ll have some fun highlights, but I’m not counting on him in 2019. He is someone you can safely ignore in 2019 in redraft unless something drastic happenings. However, his home run hitting ability gives him some intriguing upside as a last-round pick in a best ball league, since he could take one carry for 60 yards and a score in any given week.