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Nick Foles to Bears: Fantasy Impact 

After a fairly brief stint in Jacksonville, journeyman quarterback and Super Bowl LII MVP Nick Foles is heading to the Windy City to play for the Bears as a result of an unexpected trade. As many of you know, the QB will now be playing for the team that he defeated in the playoffs a couple of seasons ago (in an Eagles uniform), which most famously featured the double-doink missed field goal by Chicago.

After winning the Super Bowl with Philadelphia in the 2017 season and leading them in the playoffs again in 2018, Foles was a hot commodity in 2019 free agency. Unfortunately, he suffered a collarbone injury in the Week 1 loss to the Chiefs during his first game with the Jaguars in 2019.

That paved the way for rookie QB Gardner Minshew to unleash his Minshew mania, slowly spelling the end of Foles’ short tenure in Duval County. Now as a member of the Bears, it’s unlikely to expect immediate fantasy results from the 31-year-old. Let’s take a look at what this trade means in fantasy for the Bears.

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Disappointing Jaguars Tenure

The Jaguars rewarded the Texas native with a lush contract (four years, 88 million dollars) due to his stellar performance in the 2017 and 2018 postseason with Philly. Jacksonville made this move in hopes of getting a true franchise QB after splitting with the maligned Blake Bortles. This didn’t pan out as expected because he finished 2019 with 736 passing yards, three touchdowns, two interceptions, and two fumbles.

To put this in perspective, upon joining the Jags as their new starting QB, Foles played Week 1 and then in three games during Weeks 11-13 because a collarbone injury put him on injured reserve. Unfortunately, the small sample size was anything but encouraging.

After returning from the injured reserve, it was clear the QB was struggling as the Jags got beat badly in the three games he played late in the season. For fantasy owners who drafted Foles, he was a major disappointment because he wasn’t on the field and didn’t provide stellar numbers when on it. He finished 43rd among active fantasy QBs.

 

Foles vs. Trubisky

Foles to the Bears is like Ryan Tannehill to the Titans last year. He now provides a great veteran QB presence in the locker room and serves as a reliable backup (for now). The Bears are persistent in starting QB Mitchell Trubisky in 2020, so the former Jags QB will likely get a chance to enter a contest if the starter struggles at any point. However, a QB competition in which the best man gets the job may also be an option the team decides to explore.

At this point, the role for Foles in the Windy City is currently unspecified, it’s only speculated he will be the starter for the Bears at some point. When and for how long remains anyone’s guess as there is no guarantee on how many games Trubisky gets the nod.

This move is huge as it signals the pressure is on for the 2017 second overall pick. Trubisky finished 2019 with 3,138 yards (21st), 17 touchdowns (27th), 10 picks (15th), and a 63.2 completion percentage (25th). Those are below-average numbers when compared to other QBs, but Foles didn’t fare much better during his time in Jacksonville, and even the small sample size spells that. Trubisky also had an 18.4 percentage poor throws per pass attempt rate in 2018 and 2019, another area of concern.

It’s difficult to gauge the fantasy value for Foles compared to other QBs in 2019 due to his incredibly small sample size, but he ranked 36th in passing yards per game (184) among active QBs. Meanwhile, Mitch Trubisky didn’t fare much better, ranking 30th in the category with 209 yards per game. In terms of pass yards per attempt, Foles finished 42nd with 6.3 yards and Trubisky finished at 45th with 6.1 yards.

Not only are fantasy owners currently left in the dark about Foles’ role on the team and his potential fantasy value, but another downside to the QB is the lack of rushing abilities. The journeyman has 390 career rushing yards and five touchdowns, although 221 yards and three touchdowns came in 2013 alone. To summarize, the Super Bowl winner essentially would provide slim to none production on the ground, thus limiting his fantasy potential.

On the other hand, Trubisky provides more rushing prowess, as he has amassed 862 yards rushing and seven touchdowns in three career seasons, including 193 yards and two touchdowns last year. Because of his legs, Mitch is a slightly more versatile player than Foles.

Chicago will likely measure the capacity of both QBs this upcoming season and potentially draft another QB in 2021 if the issues continue, but there is virtually no chance the team decides to pick up another signal-caller now.

 

2020 Fantasy Outlook for Foles and Trubisky

Trubisky’s fantasy value may be threatened, but there is no clear indication yet that he may be benched. However, the North Carolina product is a QB not many fantasy owners would likely seem interested in drafting. Mitch Trubisky ranked 26th among fantasy QBs in 2019, which made him a player with low fantasy value.

When comparing the two QBs in a fair way, it seems both are equally underwhelming based on the last campaign. However, if you absolutely needed to decide which to pick as your fantasy QB (assuming they play all 16 games), Trubisky’s rushing abilities make him the slightly better option to draft.

Nevertheless, it seems unlikely either QB will get to start all 16 games (unless Foles wins a potential training camp battle). The addition of Foles affects Trubisky’s value only if he is benched very early in the season, but that is abstract at this point considering we don’t know if or when the journeyman will start a game for the team in 2020. So, is either QB a good fantasy pickup in drafts this summer?

At this point, both QBs are risky fantasy options in redraft leagues because of the uncertainty regarding the starting role and no clarity on how a potential distribution of playing time will comb out. It seems none of them will get the full 2020 campaign to play and deliver fantasy numbers week in and week out. Though Trubisky is a slightly better fantasy option than Foles, that’s not saying much considering there are plenty of QBs better than them both.

Neither of them has been an elite fantasy starter in recent years considering Trubisky’s struggles and Foles’ lack of playing time during fantasy season on the Eagles and Jaguars. What’s more alarming when looking at the former Jaguar from a fantasy perspective is the fact that he has not started more than 11 games throughout his entire eight-year career.

He has only started double-digit games in two of his eight seasons, thus sparking concerns about whether he can produce for owners consistently, and this remains a hot topic for 2020. Therefore, both QBs are not even worth drafting as a backup QB on your team and remain waiver wire pieces at best unless a breakout occurs at some point during the season.

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