Kendall Wright, Kevin White, Markus Wheaton and Victor Cruz are the four main contenders for targets at wide receiver. White conceivably has the most upside, but it's all theoretical at this point. He has not inspired confidence in the preseason.
Kendall Wright and Victor Cruz haven't been good for years, but there's something about Wright's past that makes him more intriguing than Cruz. It's that his career year in 2013 came in Dowell Loggains' only year as offensive coordinator for the Tennessee Titans.
Of course, the loss of Meredith won't solely impact the wide receivers. Zach Miller and the tight ends could see more targets. Jordan Howard could see less daylight. Here are my updated expectations for the Bears without Meredith:
*Rankings expressed below are in terms of expected Fantasy points. This is a part of our actual Fantasy Football rankings but not a direct correlation to my rankings. Things like injury risk, upside, etc. factor into rankings but they're not being talked about here. This is simply an expectation as the team is currently constructed.
Breaking down the touches
The Bears, being a bad team, threw the ball a lot more often than they ran it in 2016. I don't expect that will change in 2017.
The bright side for Howard is that he figures to see a high percentage of the carries and there have been reports he could get more involved in the passing game as well.
The key, as it always is, is which receiver gets the lion's share of the targets. I'm going with a slight edge to Wright at this point, but I wouldn't rule White out either. The biggest thing I took out of this exercise is that I'm not sure the Bears have a top 48 wide receiver. The second biggest takeaway was that I needed to move Miller up in my tight end rankings.
- The difference between Howard being a low-end No. 1 back and a top-five option is his role in the passing game. If he catches 45-plus passes, he'll be battling for a spot right behind David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott.
- There are still targets to go around in Chicago, but it's hard to find anyone else to get excited about.
While the pass catchers have underwhelmed in the preseason, Tarik Cohen has definitely caught my eye. He seems to have caught the eye of the coaching staff as well and looks like the handcuff for Jordan Howard. Cohen isn't a traditionally-sized running back, but he has elusiveness and quickness to spare. You don't need to draft him in a standard league, but keep him on your radar if Howard goes down.