Welcome to this weeks’ edition of the Monday Morning Sleeper. Last week I profiled a backup running back playing for the Cowboys, named Darren McFadden, who could be a nice play should Ezekiel Elliott miss any time as a result of off-field incidents. This week I will be profiling a wide receiver who looks to be primed to inherit the number one receiver job in Chicago, after the departure of Alshon Jeffery, who left via free agency to go play for the Philadelphia Eagles.
A Fantasy Football Sleeper is a player that is in a position to play beyond their rankings or expectations, is a relative unknown, and who may provide you with some value at their draft position.
This weeks Monday Morning Sleeper is Cameron Meredith, wide receiver for the Chicago Bears. According to FantasyPros.com Dynasty rankings, Meredith is currently the 50th ranked wide receiver, and is ranked 99th overall. Meredith is sitting at an ADP of 100.7 according to Fantrax.com. In comparison, Kevin White is currently the higher ranked Bears receiver, with a 78th overall ranking, and 41st at wide receiver. I believe that Meredith is the player to own this season, and if this season plays out well for him, maybe for years to come.
Meredith is a 24- year-old receiver playing his third season for the Chicago Bears. He has spent most of his career to this point buried behind Alshon Jeffery on the depth chart. When given the opportunity to start, he didn’t disappoint. In 14 games, he put up 888 yards on 66 receptions, with four touchdowns and four 100-plus yard games. He accomplished this while playing behind Alshon Jeffery for most of the season. Meredith is a fairly large receiver, standing at 6’3″ and 207 pounds, which helps make him a viable Red Zone target for Bears quarterback Mike Glennon.
WHAT ABOUT KEVIN WHITE?
Kevin White is a realistic threat to Meredith’s status as the number one receiver for the Bears. White possesses some draft pedigree, going to the Chicago Bears in the first round, seventh overall, in the 2015 NFL entry draft. His college resume was impressive, particularly his senior season, which saw him gain 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns, on 109 receptions, in 13 games with the West Virginia Mountaineers. His 40-yard time stood out at the combine as well, with White running a 4.35.
Unfortunately, the expectations have yet to turn into reality for White. Having missed his entire rookie season due to stress fracture in his tibia, he played in just four games in 2016, before returning to the IR with another leg injury, only this time it was an ankle sprain and fractured fibula suffered against Detroit, during the Week 4 competition. With his season over, he finished his sophomore season with just 19 receptions for 187 yards, and zero touchdowns.
With his lack of production, and his time away from the field, I believe that Meredith is the stronger bet to lead the offense in receptions for the 2017 season.
WHO’S AT QUARTERBACK?
While it looks like Mike Glennon is going to be the starting quarterback for the Bears, it is important to look at the situation, and options the Bears have behind center. Glennon, who has been named the starter for the 2017 season by coach John Fox, was drafted in the third round, 73rd overall, in the 2013 NFL entry draft. In 21 career games, he has thrown 374 completions, for 4,100 yards and 30 touchdowns, with 15 interceptions. He will be backed up by Mark Sanchez to start the season.
Sanchez has been in the league for quite some time. He was drafted in the first round, fifth overall, in the 2009 NFL entry draft, by the New York Jets. Sanchez has played in 77 career NFL games, where he has completed 1,295 passes for 15,219 yards and 86 touchdowns, However, he has also thrown 86 interceptions. With most of his career seemingly defined by the controversy in New York, should he get called into action, his experience should serve the Bears adequately, if needed.
Finally, we have the rookie Mitchell Trubisky. The Bears drafted Trubisky in the first round, second overall, in the 2017 NFL entry draft. In order to draft Trubisky, the Bears sent a huge package to the San Francisco 49ers, to move up from the third pick in the draft to the second. While many people will be discussing that trade for years to come, for now we only know that the Bears plan for Trubisky to be their franchise quarterback. Trubisky has been having ball control issues early in camp, but that is likely due to nerves more than anything else. In his final season with the University of North Carolina, Trubisky completed 304 passes, for 3,748 yards and 30 touchdowns, in 13 games. It should also be noted that he only threw six interceptions.
Regardless of who is playing quarterback for the Bears, Meredith appears to be in decent hands, and should be for years to come.
FANTASY DRAFT POSITION
I would take Meredith around the sixth or seventh rounds, and ahead of Kevin White. I would also take him ahead of players like Eric Decker, John Brown, and Laquon Treadwell. I would not be surprised if Meredith finished the season as a top 25 wide receiver.
Thank you for reading The Monday Morning Sleeper, and follow me on Twitter, @HaehnelJames
Have an opinion? Let me know in the comments below.