You don’t have to wait until 2018 to prepare for the next important football draft.
With the NFL Draft in our rearview mirror, the present provides an opportunity to take a glimpse at the upcoming fantasy football drafts that will grow into focus in the months to come. And if you’re looking for a player to ride who happens to play for the Chicago Bears, look no further than running back Jordan Howard.
Five of NFL.com’s fantasy football experts have released an updated look at the best players for 2017, and each of them rank Howard as a top 20 player in standard scoring leagues. This should come as no surprise after Howard rushed for 1,313 yards on 252 carries. He finished second in total yards and fourth in yards per carry. If he gets more than 18 carries per game, Howard could see a slight up-tick in production this coming season. And for fantasy owners, every yard and every point counts.
And if things go well for the offense, Howard won’t be the only Bears player worth owning in fantasy football this season.
Cameron Meredith has a bit of a sleeper quality to him. He led the Bears in targets (97), receptions (66), and receiving yards (888) in a season where Alshon Jeffery’s suspension and Zach Miller’s continued injury woes thrust Meredith into a position to be the top target for Bears quarterbacks. So with Jeffery (and his 94 targets, 52 catches, and 821 yards) out of the picture for good after signing with the Philadelphia Eagles in free agency, does Meredith have another breakout season ahead of him?
Some fantasy football experts seem to think so, as Meredith is listed as a top-100 player by four different gurus.
James Koh clearly thinks the highest of Meredith’s fantasy future, ranking him 48th overall and 25th among receivers. That ranking would put him in an intriguing group of names such as Tyreek Hill (Chiefs) and Davante Adams (Packers). Adam Rank also puts Meredith high on his board, ranking (no pun intended) him 50th overall and 24th at his position. Two others put Meredith inside their respective top-100 rankings with Alex Gelhar putting him 69th overall (33rd among receivers) and Michael Fabiano placing him 87th overall (36th receiver).
In fact, the only pundit who *doesn’t* have Meredith anywhere in his top 100 is Marcas Grant. He must have missed the memo.
The Bears have another potential sleeper with tight end Zach Miller, whom Fabiano ranks as the 15th best tight end and 166th overall.
In all, the value of any Bears offensive player is going to depend a great deal on how productive new quarterback Mike Glennon is, and how well he holds onto his starting job in the face of QB of the future, Mitch Trubisky.
While I wouldn’t go as far as banking on Bears players to be the saviors of your fantasy team, at minimum, they have some intriguing prospects who might be slept on because they play on a Bears offense that struggled to finish drives with touchdowns in 2016. Even still, there could be some value in a receiver who projects to get a lot of balls thrown his way.