The Chicago Bears’ 2019 season did not go at all as anyone remotely involved with the franchise had hoped. Mitchell Trubisky confirmed his bust status, and rookie David Montgomery put himself right behind Trubisky on that path to bustdom. They went out and got Nick Foles in a trade because a journeyman career backup on his fith team (sixth if you count his two stints with Philadelphia as separate teams) is exactly what a team needs to cure what ails it. It will be a rough season in Chicago, but they’re still worth diving into to determine their sleeper, breakout and bust for 2020 fantasy football.
Sleeper – Anthony Miller, Wide Receiver (WR56, 150 overall)
The Chicago Bears have waited two seasons for Anthony Miller to be healthy enough to get excited about what he might be able to do something remotely resembling WR2 numbers. The Bears winnowed their receiving corps down significantly, turning to Ted Ginn Jr. and Cordarrelle Patterson for their WR3 and WR4 slots. That signals a lot of targets funneling upward to Allen Robinson and Miller. Miller has flashed some productivity in his career, namely when the Chicago Bears did not have current free agent Taylor Gabriel available. With Gabriel out of the lineup, Miller averages four receptions for 53 yards per game, which puts him as a backend WR3 in twelve-team leagues. When the Bears have had a healthy Miller and Taylor Gabriel, he was nigh-on useless (32 yards per game on 2.5 catches a contest).
Breakout – Tarik Cohen, Running Back (RB46, 124 overall)
Over the last two seasons, only three running backs have a year with at least 10 yards per reception on at least 50 targets. Austin Ekeler did it in both 2018 and 2019, Miles Sanders did it in 2019, and Tarik Cohen did it in 2018. Over the last two seasons, only two running backs have a year with at least 50 targets and a yards-per-reception under 6. Royce Freeman did it in 2019 and so did… Tarik Cohen. It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. It’s worth noting that even with his disastrous 2019 campaign, Tarik Cohen still ranks #2 in running back receiving yards over the last couple of years.
A Tarik Cohen bounceback is something that’s pretty easy to buy into. And by that I mean, he’s going in the double-digit rounds, so if he sucks out loud to start the year, it’s not painful to cut him. We’re only one year removed from Cohen going for 1,169 yards on just 170 touches, a yards-per-touch rate that was nearly cut in third in 2019. You have to ask yourself who the real Tarik Cohen is, and even if the answer is somewhere in the middle of 2019 and 2020, he’s still worth a shot given his price point.
Bust – David Montgomery, Running Back (RB25, 62 overall)
David Montgomery sure did turn in a 1,000-yard season last year. He absolutely did that on more than 260 touches. Those are immutable facts. Do with that information what you will. David Montgomery is the poster boy for the 1,000-yard threshold not being a signifier of a quality season. Montgomery did that on 267 touches and was exceptionally inefficient with those touches. 26 players had at least 1,000 yards last year, and only three guys did that with a yards-per-touch under 4.2: Sony Michel, Le’Veon Bell, and David Montgomery.
Now fast-forward to 2020, and you have some people (read: me) predicting a bounce-back season from Tarik Cohen, turning Montgomery into a two-down banger running behind a seriously suspect offensive line (fourth-worst run-blocking line in 2019 per Football Outsiders). On a team with what promises to have a mess of a quarterback room that inherently limits the offense’s upside. 2020 David Montgomery promises to be more of the same from 2019 David Montgomery: Split down work on a bad offense, where do I sign up?