2016 was an awful season for Chicago, thus they tore it down and have begun a rebuild. They enter 2017 with two new quarterbacks – both of whom they have a lot invested in. Positively at least, they welcome back the league’s second leading rusher in Jordan Howard…
Fantasy MVP: Jordan Howard
This was a rather easy decision, as Howard is the returning starter and coming off a rookie season in which he finished second in the NFL in rushing yards. The Bears figure to stink once again in 2017, but with much of the offensive identity remaining the same – save for a couple of new quarterbacks – they are likely to ride Howard even harder, which should only bode well for his fantasy prospects.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Adam Shaheen
Shaheen is a deep sleeper pick this year, as he is a relative unknown to most football fans, yet he possesses an incredible combination of size and talent. For reference, Shaheen is 6-foot-7, 278 lbs. and possesses legitimate separation speed. Sure he has a couple of guys ahead of him on the depth chart at the moment, but if things start to go south for this team early on, chances are that the rookie will get some serious burn. Once on the field, Shaheen will prove himself – I have that much faith in what I saw in his college tape.
Most Improved Fantasy Player: Kevin White
This was another easy pick because with Alshon Jeffery out of town, the Bears have no one else to turn to as a legitimate number one option. It appears that White is finally healthy, and with now two seasons of practice and film sessions, he should be totally acclimated to the NFL game. On talent alone, the sky is the limit for White, so now it’s just time for him to put it all together – no more mistakes, no more injuries.
Biggest Fantasy Disappointment: Markus Wheaton
Wheaton offers limited size and a really inconsistent motor. His concentration over the years has also been known to wane, which is a fantasy kiss of death as far as I’m concerned. Combine all of that with the fact that he just got paid, and you’ve got the makings for a disappointing season. Oh, and let us not forget that Wheaton is also coming off a injury riddled season in which he only played in three games. Avoid Wheaton.
The Lions just narrowly made the playoffs last season and it was on the strength of their starting quarterback. Matthew Stafford made the talent around him better last season and this offseason the front office has reciprocated by adding more talent overall to the roster. With the offensive line looking more formidable than it has in years, the Lions will be looking to improve upon their nine win 2016.
Fantasy MVP: Matthew Stafford
With limited weapons in 2016, Stafford still managed to bump his QBR to over 70 – a new career high, up his yards per game, and yards per completion, while lowering his interceptions to a career low of 10. With players coming back healthy, and through the help of a revamped offensive line, the belief is that Stafford should only improve in 2017 on what was an awesome 2016 season.