Making the Case for Mitchell Trubisky in 2019 (Fantasy Football)
Last season under head coach Matt Nagy, Trubisky finished as QB15 in fantasy football by averaging 18.3 fantasy points (11th highest among QBs) in 14 games. If Trubisky played in the two contests he missed from a shoulder injury, Trubisky would have needed an average of just 11.4 points to claim a spot in the top 10 QB ranking. Pretty doable for a guy that put up 11.4 points or more in 10 out of 14 games.
As of today, experts don’t see Trubisky taking the next step in his development with a current ADP of 144 and being taken as QB18 in fantasy drafts. So why is a guy that finished QB15 in 14 games last season being projected three spots lower this season? The argument for his fall in positional ranking could be due to a Jekyll and Hyde type performance last year:
- From Week 4 through Week 10, no player averaged more fantasy points than Trubisky (28.0)
- Mitch finished as QB10 or better in 6 out of 14 games
- Two games (Week 4 and 10) as the #1 ranked QB in fantasy
- One game (Week 7) as the #2 ranked QB
- He finished as QB20 or worse in 5 games averaging 8.96 fantasy points in those contests
- 2nd highest standard deviation (SD) of 11.8 in his fantasy points per game. The only higher SD was that of Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s 12.5. Note: Standard deviations closer to zero indicate more consistent production
Below is a week by week breakdown of Mitch’s up and down fantasy output last season:
So why should we trust that Trubisky will consistently produce and be a valuable fantasy QB option?
Development with Skill Players
In his rookie year under John Fox in 2017, Trubisky didn’t have anything to work with. His wide receivers consisted of Kendall Wright (currently a free agent), Josh Bellamy (special teams player), and Dontrelle Inman (who didn’t make his debut until Week 10 with the Bears). After finishing 30th in offensive yards, the Chicago Bears decided to part ways with John Fox by appointing Matt Nagy as the head coach. GM Ryan Pace went out on a shopping spree for Trubisky and Nagy by re-building the Bear’s weapons via free agency – adding WR Allen Robinson, WR Taylor Gabriel, and TE Trey Burton. They also drafted WR Anthony Miller in the 2nd round, who is a player that Mike Tagliere discussed as a post hype sleeper this upcoming season. In his first year in Nagy’s new offense and with his new group of skilled players, Mitch’s progression was apparent:
|Passer Rating||Rushing Yds
And to think around this time a year ago, Trubisky and the rest of the offense were just learning Nagy’s playbook. Going in to this season after having a full year in the same playbook, Trubisky is looking to make more steps in the right direction. Reports have come out saying Mitch is showing signs of his development. Head coach Matt Nagy stated that Trubisky has graduated to level 202 in QB development. I don’t know how many levels are in Nagy’s school of QB development, but it does sound promising for the Bears signal caller.
Yes, it is still only July and usually around this time all reports are positive, but all signs appear that Trubisky’s confidence and chemistry is building with his pass catching group from last season. Sprinkle in a versatile WR in Cordarrelle Patterson and a physical possession receiver in Riley Ridley, another jump in Mitch’s progression should be expected in this offense.
There has also been an improvement in the running back’s room. Last year, it was no secret the Bears were running the ball when Jordan Howard was in the game. Howard’s lack of catching made play calling predictable for defenses when he was behind Mitch. The Bear’s wound up trading Howard and making additions via free agency (Mike Davis) and the draft to replace his services. The Bears used their first pick in the 3rd round to acquire David Montgomery. Both backs in Davis and Montgomery are well-rounded enough to fill Howard’s shoes but Montgomery should see the majority of the work due to his talent. How talented is Montgomery? In his last two years in college, Montgomery had the most missed tackles with 185 among all RBs from the 2019 draft class. His shiftiness as a runner and pass catching upside opens the play calling for Matt Nagy’s offense. Lets also remember the Bears have Tarik Cohen who can catch, run, and throw. Well, the throwing part doesn’t help Trubisky but gives you an idea of another type of weapon the Bears have. With their new shaped running back room, going by the nickname Run DMC (Davis, Montgomery, Cohen), the group will help Trubisky’s growth and give him more weapons to target.
Speaking of being versatile, Trubisky can not only give fantasy owners production with his arm but on the ground as well. In his 14 games last year, he rushed for the 5th most yards (421) among QBs and added 3 TDs. Mitch’s athleticism gives him the ability to escape the pocket if a play breaks down and gets yards on the ground. As everyone who plays fantasy football knows, having a QB who provides rushing yards is a great bonus.
Strength of Schedule (SOS)
Looking ahead for the 2019 season, the Bears’ rank as the 4th easiest Strength of Schedule2 (SOS) for QBs in the NFL. The Bear’s schedule is more difficult from a team standpoint (T-5 with a SOS of .520), so it will be hard for the Bear’s to rely on their defense to replicate last years production. Last season, for QBs that played 14 or more games, Trubisky had the 2nd lowest amount of passing attempts -mainly due to how dominant there defense was every game. The Bear’s defense will still be very good but its only reasonable to think they may take a slight step backwards. In contests where the Bear’s defense might not control the game the same they did last season, the Bears are going to have to rely on the offense to score more points.
The Chicago Bears come into this season with Super Bowl aspirations. If they want to reach Miami in February, Trubisky is going to need to be the guy the they drafted 2nd overall in 2017. From his growth in his last two years, and what sounds like the right steps he is taking in Nagy’s school of quarterbacks, I think Trubisky finishes as a top 10 QB and well above his current ADP and positional ranking.
1FPTS are based on 4 point passing touchdowns
2SOS Rankings are based on fantasy points allowed by each of a team’s opponents last season (STD scoring). A breakdown of all SOS rankings can be found in the FantasyPros Draft Kit.
Kevin O’Connor is a featured writer at FantasyPros.