By The Hudsonian, Joshua Hudson
Transaction: The Chicago Bears sign WR Taylor Gabriel to a 4-year deal
2018 Fantasy Outlook: Taylor Gabriel has speed for days. For real. Gabriel ran a 4.40 40 coming out of college in 2014. According to ESPN’s Matt Bowen, he clocks in at 4.20 on game days. Now you see him, now you don’t. He’s used that speed to gain 14.07 yards per reception. After signing Allen Robinson to be their number one receiver, Gabriel will look to stretch the field and get vertical to keep the defenses honest.
Does this move make you need to go out and rush to draft Taylor Gabriel? Not at all. If Mitchell Trubisky progresses the way most of us think he should, Gabriel should have a game or two this year that will make you go out and snag him off waivers. I’d rather save a roster spot for a young guy like Mike Williams, Corey Davis, or one of this year’s rookies to see if they become something more than what they’ve shown. Gabriel has more value in the event Robinson misses any significant time — Gabriel had some great games in 2016 so we know he has talent. What Gabriel’s signing does is make Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen more valuable to us.
Over the last two years, Jordan Howard is second in the NFL with 2,435 rushing yards. In 2016, Alshon Jeffery was their top WR when Howard was 2nd in the NFL in rushing. Last year? Kendall Wright with all of 614 yards receiving. And Howard still rushed for 1,122 yards. If someone like Gabriel forces safeties to play off the line, Howard has more room to run, more yards to gain, and more fantasy points to score. Howard looks to me like a RB that will likely go in the 2nd round that will pay huge dividends in 2018. Cohen is their receiving back, sure, but he’s not going to cut into a huge chunk of Howard’s rushing yards. But he’s going to catch a hell of a lot of passes, which makes me doubt Gabriel’s effectiveness when it comes to our fantasy lineups.