Call me a homer. When my unnamed starting fantasy quarterback had a knee boo boo to start the fantasy playoffs, there was one name on the
waiver free agent wire that my eye couldn’t avoid going back to.
Since there’s actual stakes in my work fantasy league, I decided to consult the first handful of experts I happened by after a web search performed on an unnamed internet browser. A couple of unavailable players topped most QB waiver lists: Case Keenum (shouldn’t be available in any leagues) and Jimmy Garoppolo (unavailable in my league).
After that, I couldn’t help being offended by the recommendations that so-called experts were willing to suggest above our Beloved’s rookie breadslinger. Joe Flacco? Ok fine. He has a super bowl ring and he’s playing Cleveland and Indy. Jay Cutler against Buffalo? After a good game? Any Bears fan on the street will happily remind you that Jay Cutler can’t be bothered to play well two weeks in a row.
Nick Foles? Jacoby Brissett against Denver’s “No Fly zone”? Bryce Petty???? A couple years ago, I heard an interview with Bryce Petty where he mentioned that he’s really starting to get the hang of quarterbacking. The evidence he provided was that now when he plays Madden, he doesn’t just call running plays all the time. Now you don’t just call running plays? You’re an NFL quarterback and you used to call running plays in Madden all the time because the passing plays were too complicated??
Clearly, the fantasy hive mind has no respect for Mitchell Trubisky. And why should they? Fantasy is all about the numbers, and the numbers haven’t been impressive. In standard scoring, he has two five point games and another four just around the 10 point mark. His best three games round to 16, 15.5, and 21.5 respectively. If you take these numbers as random data points and try to make a projection of what number will come next, the results aren’t promising no matter how you compute it.
But these aren’t random data points. They are results of game-planning, coaching decisions, match-ups, and variable play from a rookie quarterback who is improving weekly in front of the few pairs of eyes that have bothered to continue focusing in the Bears’ direction. Two of Trubisky’s highest point games were week 11 against the Lions and—of course—just last week.
Last week’s point total was an anomaly, but it wasn’t dumb luck. Trubisky earned each of those points with consistently good decisions and accurate passes. He showed better poise under pressure than ever before, and he consistently read blitzes correctly and dropped the pigskin into the gap the blitzer opened. If you want to bring luck into it, a homer like me can come back and argue that he would have 4 more points from a Tarik Cohen receiving touchdown if it’s weren’t for the dumb luck of a Tom Compton block-in-the-back penalty.
Trubisky is improving, and the play-calling has become more and more favorable to his production. The big risk with Trubisky as a fantasy quarterback—and the reason for many of his low point games—is John Fox. Specifically, whether will decide to put the Biscuit back in his cage and handcuff the offense in the interest of “playing games close” even if ‘close’ means not getting too far ahead.
I don’t think that will happen because the offense worked seamlessly last week and Fox was effusive in his praise of Trubisky. Fox may be stubborn, but he does want to win, he knows his job is
on hanging over the line, and he seems to be realizing his Hail Mary chance of keeping that job is by letting Trubisky shine, winning, and taking credit for it.
And Trubisky’s playoff match-ups are great. The Lions defense has given up an above average fantasy points to Quarterbacks over the season, and they are only getting better at is as the season wears on. Since week 9 they have generously offered 18 points to Bretty Hundley, 24 to Deshone Kizer, 16 to Trubisky, 19 to Flacco, and 17 to Jameis Winston, who has more 5-point territory games than Trubisky this year. Jordan Howard should offer an extra serving of support against the Lions. After running for 125 yards against them week 12, he should either be setting Trubisky up with favorable field and down positions, or the Lions will be setting Trubisky up by selling out to stop Howard.
Week 16 he plays the Browns. I’m tempted to do the lazy thing people do to the Bears all the time and just assume the Browns are bad and this will lead to tons of fantasy points. The Browns have given up the 6th most fantasy points to opposing QBs, and with their offense improving now that Josh Gordon is back in never-left form, I expect more of a shootout than one might guess in what the Browns must certainly view as the most winnable game left on their schedule.
I’m not expecting Trubisky to be a top 10 fantasy quarterback. But if you’re in a 12-team league with teams losing Wentz, McCown, and more-or-less Mariota at the same time, he definitely deserves a spot in the waiver wire discussion. If I’m picking between fantasy bottom dwellers in hopes of grinding out a 15 point game while Julio Jones carries me in PPR against the Bucs, I’ll take the rookie, who’s improved every week, coming off his best game, set to play some seriously mediocre defenses. Especially if he happens to be a Bear.
I am a homer. But at least I put my money where my heart is. Bear down fantasy nerds.
DISCLAIMER: if you start Mitchell Trubisky because of this article and lose. That’s on you. I hereby recuse myself of blame.