Could Markus Wheaton get enough opportunities to be worth a spot on your 2017 fantasy roster?
The Chicago Bears group of wide receivers are all a rather big question mark. Nobody really knows how the pecking order is going to play out until training camp. If everybody’s healthy, the Bears will run primarily a single back set with Jordan Howard at RB and Zach Miller and Dion Sims rotating in at tight end (there will be plenty of two TE sets as well) Cameron Meredith and Kevin White will be the top two WRs, but potentially the biggest question right now surrounding the Bears is who will handle slot duty in their single TE sets?
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Odds are, that individual will be one of three people. The first is Daniel Braverman, a 2016 draft pick who was all hype and no substance last year. He’s already a fan favorite and if he makes significant strides, he could be a key slot receiver for the Bears. Odds are Braverman won’t be ready for that spot (he may be released or put on the practice squad), and the better money is on Kendall Wright or Markus Wheaton.
Wright was a 1000-yard receiver for the Tennessee Titans in 2013 but has steadily declined since his career year. Meanwhile, Wheaton has flashed potential in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ explosive offense but has never put it all together. Wright hopes a change of scenery will boost his numbers while Wheaton is out to prove it was a lack of opportunity that held him back, not that he was an underachiever in a high-octane offense.
If Wheaton becomes the Bears starting slot receiver (something no one can be certain about until the preseason) he adds another fantasy element in that he may also be a part of the Bears’ return game and if your league gives credit for return yards, Wheaton could be a sneaky late round pick/free agent pickup.
However, in standard scoring leagues, if return yards don’t figure into your points, Wheaton is currently a pass. If he beats Wright as the slot receiver, he will be an injury away (and with Miller and White that’s highly probable) from seeing significant targets, but won’t be worth a roster spot out of the gate. If he loses the job to Wright, he simply won’t be on the field enough to make a fantasy impact. Personally, I like Wright to beat out Wheaton for the job, which makes Wheaton the Bears’ WR4. That means he will have a minimal impact on the field for Chicago and only a negative impact on your fantasy team.
Markus Wheaton Projections: 31 catches, 363 yards, 11.7 YPC, 1 TD