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Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel to Bears - Fantasy Spin

With the frenzy surrounding the NFL's free agency period, the Bears made some big signings to boost the skill position group most suited to helping second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Their two biggest signings thus far have been wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel. Robinson comes in with a three-year $42 million contract while Gabriel signed a four year $26 million deal.

Both wide receivers are expected to line up at the top of the team's depth chart, with Cameron Meredith expected to take on the other starting position after being injured throughout the entire 2017 season. While both have shown that they can produce at the highest level when needed, Gabriel and Robinson each carry risks that should be baked into the expectations surrounding the players.

In terms of a fantasy perspective, Robinson and Gabriel have both shown that they can be elite or week-winning options in the majority of formats. However, the risk is associated with their predicted draft costs. Nevertheless, if the pair can regain their old form with the Jaguars and Falcons, respectively, we could see a very deadly Bears offense spearheaded by the duo, Meredith, Trubisky, and running back Jordan Howard.

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A-Rob Starts Fresh

After stating that he wants to retire as a Bear, Allen Robinson is sure to become a fan favorite if he is able to produce when called upon this season. Robinson was handed a huge deal by the Bears and is expected to take on the role of number one receiver for the team. For the Jaguars, the wide receiver had a breakout 2015 campaign, posting 80 grabs for 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns. However, the 2016 season was much more disappointing for the 6'3'' receiver, as his motivation was called into question and he and the Jaguars underperformed as a whole. While the team performed much better in the 2017 season, Robinson watched the entirety of the season from the sidelines after getting injured one one of the first plays of the very first game. Now, after being injured in a contract year, Robinson has been given a chance to regain his position at the top of the wide receiver talent tree. Whether he does so or not remains to be seen.

With young quarterback Mitchell Trubisky throwing him the ball, Robinson should act as a safety blanket and is expected to be the big-bodied possession receiver who can also make a play down the field. If Robinson consolidates himself as the clear number one target on the team, and there is every reason to think that he will, his ceiling could be among the upper echelons of wide receivers in the league. However, the risk of re-injury has to be baked into his draft cost. Robinson has been pretty durable throughout this career, but there will always be doubts about his durability as a result of his recent injury. This makes Robinson an option with a decent amount of risk.

Furthermore, there is a worst-case scenario in which Robinson is not able to establish himself as the top option on the team or continues to display poor performances that fans and fantasy owners were used to in the 2016 season. This is not outside of the realm of possibility; however, the upside that Robinson possesses should be more than enough to warrant a mid-round draft pick in fantasy drafts this fall. Although we have no idea where Robinson's ADP will end up come draft season, the 24-year-old receiver should be considered a solid number two option with huge upside to produce following a down year for the position as a whole.


Taylor Gabriel Still a Playmaker?

After blowing up with over 600 yards from scrimmage in 2016 and seven all-purpose touchdowns, the ex-Falcons receiver was unable to sustain his form in the 2017 season, only recording 33 receptions for 378 yards and a score across 16 games. With an overall regression of the Falcons offense under Steve Sarkisian, Gabriel fell victim to less-than-stellar quarterback performances from Matt Ryan and a less effective running game than the Freeman-Coleman duo of 2016.

Despite his underachievement in 2017, Gabriel was handed a decently-sized four year deal with the Bears. With this contract comes the expectation that Gabriel will line up as a starting wide receiver for the team under ex-Chiefs offensive coordinator Matt Nagy's new offense. Gabriel is expected to take on a similar role to Tyreek Hill in Nagy's Chiefs offense, lining up outside as a deep threat despite his diminutive size.

Although he will likely play second fiddle to Allen Robinson in the upcoming season and contend with fellow wide receiver Cameron Meredith for snaps, Gabriel has the big-play ability to be a week-winner in any given contest for the team. He definitely will not be the most consistent performer, but the 27 year old wide receiver should be a wildcard play and could rack up significant yardage if he is able to secure a spot on the outside opposite Robinson. Look for Gabriel to be a high-upside flex option with week-winning ability, making him a very attractive pick in the early double-digit rounds ahead of the 2018 season. He profiles as a great value pick in the later rounds of best-ball drafts, where you could benefit from his occasional big game without having to worry about lineup decisions.


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