Fantasy Implications of Nick Foles in Chicago
In a move that most football fans outside of Chicago or possibly Jacksonville cared very little about, the Jaguars traded Nick Foles to the Bears for a fourth-round compensatory pick several weeks ago.
What does this non-blockbuster trade mean for fantasy football? I’ll dive in and see what implications if any occurred by Foles’ move to the Midwest.
Nick Foles' History
Drafted by the Eagles in 2012, Foles hasn’t played in more than eight regular-season games since 2015, when he was with the then St. Louis Rams. His most complete season came in 2013 as an Eagle, when he threw for a career-high 2,891 yards and 27 touchdowns with just two interceptions in 13 contests.
Not to be forgotten is his second tenure in Philadelphia from 2017-2018, when the NFL journeyman won a Super Bowl that first year and led them to the playoffs again in 2018. Foles parlayed that success into a massive four-year deal worth $88 million with Jacksonville last season but injured his collar bone in Week 1 and managed to only play in four total games. After an underwhelming return in Weeks 11–13 where he finished as QB25 in total fantasy points, Foles was benched for Garner Minshew.
For most of the offseason, the Bears front office peddled their intent on one more chance for Mitch Trubisky as their starting quarterback. It appears as though they’ve warmed up to the idea of an open competition between the fourth-year signal-caller and Foles.
Chicago was 25th in passing yards last season (3,291), dead-last in yards per attempt (6.2) and Trubisky’s passer rating was 24th among NFL quarterbacks in 2019 (83.9). Without the normal amount of offseason work due to facility shutdowns, Trubisky may not get enough work in to see the legitimate improvement needed to win that starting job. And he certainly needs all the reps he can get.
Being on four different NFL teams prior does have its benefits for Foles, as he’s worked with coach Matt Nagy, offensive coordinator Bill Lazor and quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo. They are all familiar with his strengths and weaknesses which could provide an edge here.
Trubisky does provide more versatility in the run game which is probably his only advantage besides age. The 25-year old has amassed 862 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in three seasons.
How Nick Foles Impacts the Bears Pass-Catchers
If deemed the starter, Foles inherits a pair of solid wide receivers in Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. Robinson experienced a rebirth last year, topping 1,000 receiving yards for the first time since 2015 on a career-high 98 receptions. He was WR11 in total half-PPR points and WR4 in total targets, and at just 26-years old has plenty of production left in him with a more consistent quarterback tossing the ball.
Miller surged in the second half of his sophomore season, with the majority of his 656 receiving yards coming from Week 11 on. He was slowly recovering from a shoulder injury, but came on strong, averaging 5.7 catches and 72 yards throughout the Bears final six contests. If he can make the jump under Foles as their WR2, Miller could eclipse the top 30 and is currently being drafted as WR52 in Fanball's best-ball leagues.
Chicago has 10 tight ends currently on their roster and no, that is not a typo. They added Jimmy Graham and Demetrius Harris this offseason advancing general manager Ryan Pace’s love for the position. Foles’ experience with a top-tier tight end in Zach Ertz could aid in a bounce-back year for Graham or possibly getting Trey Burton over that hump in production, but sadly none of the near dozen tight ends are very fantasy-relevant beyond a late-round stab at Graham hoping for some top-15 upside.
Neither Nick Foles nor Mitch Trubisky is a starting fantasy quarterback in 2020, regardless of who wins the job in Chicago. They are ranked as QB35 and QB36 respectively in 4for4’s never-too-early rankings, and are only draftable as a final-round dart in best-ball leagues or as late-rounders in Superflex formats.
Allen Robinson is a solid third-round pick and should benefit from the consistency of Foles under center. Considering he finished just outside the top 10 last year with Trubisky’s fickle play, Robinson has the ability to best 2019’s production. Anthony Miller is a guy who is currently undervalued due to health issues and poor offensive play, but could soar past his ADP in 2020. He’s currently coming off draft boards in the 15th round as WR52, but Miller has the potential to crack the top 30 with a more reliable quarterback at the helm.
And finally, stay away from the Bears tight ends unless you truly like torturing yourself.