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The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder averaged 63.4 yards per game last season, and figured to see that number rise as the No. 1 target for Mike Glennon and Mitchell Trubisky. His versatility and catch radius, along with his 68 percent catch rate, will be sorely missed.
And now, Meredith's suspected ACL tear puts his season on ice -- and the Bears offense in a very bad spot. The Bears simply don't have another receiver capable of playing as efficiently and consistently.
Not even former first-round pick Kevin White. At last, not based on what we've seen so far from him.
Available for four games last season, White caught 19 of 36 targets for 187 scoreless yards. He averaged a paltry 9.8 yards per catch, an especially disappointing number when you consider just how explosive White was when he came out of West Virginia and posted 13.6 yards per catch over two years.
That college season is about all Fantasy owners have to hang their hats on with White at this point. Leg injuries have seemingly robbed White of his top-end speed, leaving him as a big-bodied receiver without the kind of hands you'd expect from a former top-10 pick.
As big of an injury risk as there is, White can be swiped with a risk-less late-round pick, but expectations must be held in check. Don't be surprised if he finishes with less than 800 yards and five touchdowns.
You must be desperate if you're seriously considering Kendall Wright or Victor Cruz for your Fantasy team. But believe it or not, one of these guys actually offers some hope as a potential replacement for Meredith.
A perennial former Fantasy sleeper, Wright was assumed to lock into the slot role, which is where he made his living before falling out of favor in Tennessee due to injuries and attitude. He still could for the Bears, but he also might be called upon to step up serve as the No. 2 receiver behind White.
Stunningly, Wright averaged 71.7 receptions, 806.7 yards and four scores in the three seasons he's has played while receiving at least 90 targets. He just hasn't come anywhere even close to those numbers since 2014. But it's pretty obvious he'll get a chance to play regularly with the Bears with Meredith out, and seems like a deep sleeper for any Fantasy owner desperate to fill a roster spot. He's not worth drafting in a typical draft that goes 15 or 16 rounds, but isn't the worst waiver-wire option before Week 1.
Cruz hasn't looked the same since tearing his patella tendon in 2014. In 12 games last year, he caught 39 of 72 passes for 586 yards and a touchdown. The 54.2 percent catch rate was a career-low. He might make the Bears roster by default after Meredith's injury, but he shouldn't be on your Fantasy teams.
Want a real sleeper? Adam Shaheen, th Bears rookie tight end, could be forced into a much bigger part of the passing game. Emphasis on the term "bigger."
Shaheen is 6-foot-7, 278 pounds, but runs pretty quick given his size. The Ashland College product has spent time this preseason working with the starters, and could morph into a Gronk-light red-zone threat for the Bears quarterbacks. Like Wright, he's not draftable outside the deepest of leagues, but if the Bears opt to move to more two-tight end sets following the Meredith, injury then you'll see him on the field.
What happens to Jordan Howard now that Meredith is hurt?
Hold on a second. Meredith was good, but was he really good enough to be a positive for Howard in the first place?!
The biggest key to Howard's success is the Bears offensive line, which is not just solid, but deep. The franchise did an incredible job turning that area into a strength over the last calendar year and it should stay that way this year. Anything the Bears quarterbacks can do to help take pressure off of him will be great, but that's necessary no matter who's at receiver.
Unlike pretty much all of Howard's teammates, he's absolutely worth drafting in every league. Round 2 is when you'll find him get taken as a top-10 rusher.