After watching Avengers: Endgame, I couldn’t stop thinking about the multiverse. Then, my mind drifted to the Projection Machine, which acts as a fantasy football time machine. Every little tweak in the timeline of fantasy football can have a wide range of repercussions that echo across the league. So, in this series, I’ll dial up that Projection Machine to examine players who could experience big swings in fantasy value if certain things break the right way.
Matt Nagy’s Tenure
Matt Nagy parlayed his 2017 as Chiefs’ offensive coordinator into a head coaching job for the Chicago Bears. In 2017, KC went 10-6 and Nagy’s offense went with a 58/42 pass-run split. Last year, the Bears went 12-4 and they leaned on the run game. When all was said and done, Chicago ended up with a 52/48 pass-run split in 2018.
Teams that have finished with 11, 12, or 13 wins have passed on 55% of plays, since 2013. The assumption for many was that Nagy would be relatively pass-heavy as a head coach. With the Chiefs, Nagy was a couple of percentage points above expectation for passing plays.1
What Will Probably Happen…
As usual, we’ll set our team level inputs to set our base expectations for the team. We’ll lean toward the Bears numbers from last year.
Nagy sported a more balanced pass/run split and ran more plays as HC compared to his time as a coordinator.2
There are a couple of interesting options on the Chicago roster this year. David Montgomery is in the RB Dead Zone but isn’t a clear avoid, according to Shawn Siegele. Allen Robinson has now played a full season after his ACL injury, and Neil Dutton is calling for a big year.
Depending on how things break, Mitchell Trubisky has an interesting range of outcomes. The base projection we’re starting with has Trubisky scoring 286 points.3 That number is below his 16-game pace from last season. We’ve seen a lot of buzz about mobile quarterbacks but Trubisky’s ADP4 has never been lower. It’s hard to imagine him not returning value if you’re punting the QB position in redraft.
What Could Happen…
There are a couple of avenues for Trubisky to completely smash his ADP. He can potentially see an increase in volume. He could raise his production a bit with his legs while taking a step forward as a passer. Or, in a perfect world, he’d combine the two.
What if last year’s pass-run splits were more of an aberration than an indication of Nagy’s philosophy? If Chicago’s defense sees some regression and their win total comes down, we could see the need to pass more. With a Vegas win total of 9 this season, we’d expect the split to be closer to 56-44. If we keep the number of total plays the same, our team level split looks more like this.
Just by bumping up the volume, Trubisky is now right in line with Drew Brees‘ QB8 season. You’ll notice his completion percentage is at 68% in this projection. I thought this was too high until I realized that he completed two-thirds of his pass attempts last season. Another year to build rapport with his pass-catchers certainly won’t hurt.
Bumping each of his main receivers in TD% and giving him just one extra percent of the rushing market share puts him in some elite company. If we make those minor adjustments and give him approximately the same rushing production that he had last season, he finishes with nearly 330 points.
If you think that sounds like a lot, that’s because it is. That would have placed him at QB5, just a point behind Deshaun Watson. In my 2019 QB rankings, that point total would put him only behind Patrick Mahomes, Watson, and Andrew Luck.5 Waiting for a QB in Trubisky’s range is a well-established strategy, and we can see the benefits here. Buy this 2019 breakout QB, and you’ll be able to load up on other positions in your quest to win the flex.
Image Credit: Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Mitchell Trubisky.
- The Chiefs threw 57% of the time in 2017. (back)
- I adjusted the team level inputs but I’m keeping Dave Caban’s market share splits for this base projection. (back)
- That would’ve put him at QB10 last year. (back)
- He’s currently going as the 18th QB off the board in FFPC Drafts. (back)
- Pending clarity on the current injury (back)