Wheaton's entering the last year of his contract, but unless he gives the new coaching staff reason for optimism that he'll improve, he easily could find himself in an uphill battle to make the team. He certainly had opportunity to carve out a role in an offense that was pretty much devoid of playmakers at wide receiver, but he was targeted just 17 times over 11 games. Although he had a pair of reasonably productive seasons in 2014 and 2015, he's posted just 102 yards in 14 games since that time, and he'll need to have an impressive training camp to merit a spot on most fantasy teams in 2018.
When the Bears fell behind by double digits in the second half, they frequently played in offensive sets with multiple wide receivers, which allowed Wheaton to see plenty of playing time. He was targeted four times, and each of his receptions went for at least 20 yards as he took advantage of the Lions playing a prevent defense . With just 51 yards of offense on the season, he'll be a very risky fantasy option in the last two weeks of the season.
Wheaton was not targeted in Sunday's 15-14 loss to the 49ers.
Despite being active in five games this season, Wheaton's caught just one pass for nine yards on the season. He's little more than a depth option on the Chicago roster, with no increase in role expected in the near future.
Wheaton is expected to play a bigger role at receiver in Sunday's game against the Lions, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Wheaton only saw two snaps in the Bears' Week 10 loss to the Packers after coming off a three-game absence due to injury. However, head coach John Fox indicated there is "no doubt" Wheaton is more prepared to contribute in Week 11 after another week of practice under his belt. Still, the 26-year-old is fourth on the Bears' receiving depth chart, and the team figures to rely on their ground game going forward.
Wheaton (groin) practiced in full Thursday, Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune reports.
Considering his practice reps weren't impacted for the first time since Week 5, Wheaton is on pace to suit up Sunday against the Packers. Since joining the Bears in the offseason, he's made nary an impact in the box score, corralling one of nine passes for nine yards across three appearances. Working with rookie signal caller Mitchell Trubisky likely won't result in much attention for Wheaton, but the Bears' dearth of talent likely ensures that he'll be in store for a high snap share in Week 10.