It was not a great weekend for number one receivers. First, Julian Edelman tears his ACL and then Bears’ presumed number one receiver Cameron Meredith does the same (though in a much more gruesome fashion).
With Meredith set now to miss the entire 2017-18 season—and with I myself having no real insight into the Bears and their offense—I called upon our very own Windy City Gridiron’s editor in chief Lester Wiltfong to breakdown how this injury changes the Bears’ offense and some of the fantasy ramifications. Here’s what he had to say:
Q: Who's the top receiving option on the Bears' depth chart?
LW: Out of the wide receivers, it's probably Kevin White, but with only four games under his belt in the last two years, he's a huge unknown. Kendall Wright looks to have the slot job locked down, but the other outside receiver opposite White is up in the air. If Markus Wheaton wasn't injured for all of camp, we'd know more, but he went from appendicitis to a broken pinky, so he's another question mark.
It may be receiving corps by committee in Chicago, and that may benefit tight end Zach Miller (if he can stay healthy).
If Kevin White can stay healthy a full season, this could be his year to finally breakout both in the real world of football but also fantasy.
Q: Any lesser known receivers owners should keep eyes on?
LW: This guy isn't a draftable player in any fantasy format, but UDFA Tanner Gentry has Bears' fans buzzing. I have him making the 53 man roster, and he does have the size and skill set to play the X receiver for the Bears. He also has a bit of a rapport built up with rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, so when the Bears finally let the second overall draft pick play, maybe Gentry gets some run with him.
Someone to possibly keep eyes on in the Bears offense this year. Let’s not forget that Cameron Meredith came out of nowhere last season so who’s to say that Gentry can’t do the same this year? Also how great would it have been if his name was Gendry instead of Gentry? Man, so close.
Q: Do you expect this injury to increase Jordan Howard's work load?
LW: The Bears were already going to be a run first, play action based team, and this won't change anything. Rookie running back Tarik Cohen may get a little more action, as he was lining up as a receiver at times in camp. He's looked really good in camp and in the preseason so far.
As someone who just took Jordan Howard, I would have like to have heard Lester say something to the tune of “Oh yea, John Fox has said they’re running the ball 50 times a game” but alas, you can’t always get what you want. Cohen lining up at receiver is intriguing as it means he might not be limited to a role behind Howard.
Q: Are you as a Bears fan drafting any Bears pass catchers in fantasy?
LW: Hell no!
I just had a draft last night however, and Kevin White and Kendall Wright both went in the later rounds.
Welp, you heard it here first.
I think Kevin White and Kendall Wright are both guys to keep a watch for but by no stretch of the imagination should you be reaching for them. If they fall to you, great. If not, probably even better. Big thanks to Lester for taking the time and providing us with his thoughts.
What do you think? Are you touching any of the Bears’ pass catchers?