Is Mitch Trubisky Capable of Fantasy Football Stardom in Year 3?
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mitch Trubisky
- Mitch Trubisky was a top 10 fantasy football quarterback last season despite his underwhelming passing results.
- Could he be primed for a Year 3 breakout in 2019? Ian Hartitz analyzes whether Trubisky could be a league-winning QB.
We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2019 season; this is part of that series.
The Bears exceeded expectations in 2018, winning their first NFC North crown since 2010. Their offense (No. 9) and defense (No. 1) ranked among the league’s top-10 scoring units behind the leadership of franchise cornerstones Mitch Trubisky and Khalil Mack.
Trubisky will be our focal point in this article. His second NFL season was exceptionally better than his first, although questions still persist regarding whether he’s a true difference-making talent or perhaps a sum-of-parts quarterback.
Let’s breakdown just how good Trubisky was in 2018 as well as whether we should expect real-life and/or fantasy success from him in 2019.
Trubisky Was Playing at a High Level Before Injury
The Bears rolled to a 7-3 start in 2018 thanks in large part to Trubisky’s penchant for mixing in game-changing performances alongside his less-than-stellar outings.
Mitch Trubisky fantasy ranks in 2018 before suffering a shoulder bruise …
Week 1: QB17
Week 2: QB25
Week 3: QB31
Week 4: QB1
Week 6: QB5
Week 7: QB2
Week 8: QB9
Week 9: QB21
Week 10: QB1
Week 11: QB16
Overall Weeks 1-11: QB7
— Ian Hartitz (@Ihartitz) May 3, 2019
Trubisky limped to a QB23 finish in Weeks 14-17 upon returning from injury, but he does deserve credit for at least overcoming the elements when it mattered by clearing 300 passing yards during the Bears’ wild-card loss to the Eagles.
The Bears haven’t really ever had consistent quarterback play, so Trubisky’s progress was mostly welcome with open arms. Still, he’ll need to improve even more to cement his status as an above-average passer.
- Yards per attempt: 7.4 (17th among 32 QBs with at least eight starts in 2018)
- Adjusted yards per attempt: 7.3 (18th)
- Completion rate: 66.6% (13th)
- Touchdown rate: 5.5% (11th)
- Interception rate: 2.8% (23rd)
- QB rating: 95.4 (15th)
The reason why Trubisky was able to function as a top 10 fantasy quarterback despite his underwhelming passing results is because…
Trubisky Is One of the League’s Most Productive Rushing QBs
There was a clear hierarchy among quarterbacks in 2018 when it came to the ability to beat defenses with their legs, as only seven quarterbacks managed to rush for at least 30 yards per game:
- Josh Allen (52.6 rushing yards per game)
- Lamar Jackson (43.4)
- Cam Newton (34.9)
- Deshaun Watson (34.4)
- Tyrod Taylor (31.3)
- Trubisky (30.1)
- Josh Johnson (30)
Overall, Trubisky converted his 68 rush attempts into 421 yards (6.2 yards per carry) and three touchdowns. He consistently displayed the ability to make something happen once the play broke down.
Trubisky has utilized his rushing ability plenty over his two-year career, but he still boasts a middling average release time of 2.5 seconds. To this point, the Bears’ franchise signal-caller has done a great job of not leaning too heavily on his unique athletic skills, and has been accordingly able to give opposing defenses fits.
It’s reasonable to expect Trubisky to continue to find success on the ground considering how many additional weapons the Bears have on offense.
Bears Surround Trubisky with a Strong Supporting Cast
The Bears are bursting at the seams with talented players at essentially every offensive position.
- Running back: Tarik Cohen led the Bears in receptions last season with 71 and ranked third among all running backs with 6.9 yards per touch. He’s joined by talented three-down rookie David Montgomery, ever-elusive free agent signing Mike Davis and generational-talent Cordarrelle Patterson.
- Wide receiver: Allen Robinson flashed a return to alpha status with 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown against the Eagles in the wild-card round. Taylor Gabriel’s game-breaking speed must always be accounted for. Anthony Miller found the end zone seven times as a rookie despite dealing with a severe shoulder injury from Week 2 until the end of the season.
- Tight end: High-priced 2018 free agent pickup Trey Burton ranked 10th among all tight ends in receptions (54), 13th in yards (567) and tied four fourth in touchdowns (6). Backup Adam Shaheen has played just 19 games in two seasons, but the 2017 second-round pick possesses freaky size (6-foot-6 and 278 pounds) and athleticism (78th-percentile SPARQ-x score).
- Offensive line: The Bears ranked seventh in adjusted sack rate last season, although they dipped to 28th in adjusted line yards per rush. They should benefit from further continuity in 2019, as they’re one of only eight teams expected to return all five of their offensive line starters (per Thomas Emerick).
The defense will have to deal with life without longtime defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, but former Colts head coach Chuck Pagano should still be able to piece together a top-10 unit with all the talent the Bears possesses on that side of the ball.
Trubisky’s success in his third NFL season could take the Bears from very good to great in a hurry. Their combination of great defense and above-average skill position players already proved to be fairly lethal in 2018.
Further improvement from their franchise quarterback as a natural passer could make both Trubisky and the Bears league winners sooner than later.