The dynamic duo leading the newfound, high-flying Chicago Bears passing game might have sleeper status now, but that’s not going to last much longer if they can keep up this production.
NFL.com writer Adam Rank offers up 11 sleepers who need to be on your fantasy football radar for Week 7, including a pair of Bears players. Mitch Trubisky is one of three quarterbacks to catch Rank’s eye and show up on his sleeper list, while Taylor Gabriel is one of four wide receivers to make the cut. Both players are showing signs of breaking out for the Bears offense and could benefit your fantasy team as soon as this Sunday.
Trubisky has stacked back-to-back 300-yard passing games in his last two outings and has nine touchdowns in a little more than eight quarters. And while prior results don’t necessarily predict future success, how Trubisky is putting up these numbers is encouraging.
With improved scheming, game-planning, and play-calling, Trubisky has been showing a willingness to throw deep more often and it’s paying off to the tune of some big numbers. He has improved his average yards per attempt from 6.6 in his rookie year to 7.8 as a second-year player. In his last two games, Trubisky’s average yard per attempt is 11.8, while his adjusted average per attempt is 14.1. The ability to cash in on these chunk plays have made Trubisky look more like someone worthy of being touted as the best quarterback of his draft class and less like the signal caller he was in an offense last year that didn’t stretch the field vertically.
Patrick Finley of the Sun-Times explored how Gabriel is using his speed to help form a bond with Trubisky, with the speedy receiver saying his quarterback “throws a real good deep ball – a lot of touch on it.” Being complimentary of one’s deep-ball prowess is one way to get the ball.
But Gabriel is doing work because of what he’s been able to do to shake defenders and get open. Check out Gabriel’s route trees from Games 4 and 5, via NFL’s NextGen Stats:
Someone was bound to benefit from Trubisky’s recently discovered confidence in the deep ball, but few could have envisioned Gabriel being the guy to emerge as the favorite deep-pass target. And it’s not like Week 6 was a one-time thing. If you look at what we’ve seen in from Gabriel’s last three games, there is certainly a trend on our hands. One that figures to continue until defenses make an adjustment back to Gabriel.
But as long as Gabriel is sent on deep routes and Allen Robinson’s presence on the other side of the field soaks up extra attention and a team’s top cornerback, Gabriel’s opportunities to shine should continue.