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Fantasy camp battles: Mitchell Trubisky vs. Nick Foles

The Bears have not seen progress from Mitchell Trubisky, and so they traded a fourth round pick to the Jaguars for Nick Foles. Who will win out?

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles greets Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky after a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Soldier Field. Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Update September 4: Nagy changed his mind about naming a starter before Week 1, and Trubisky has won the job, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Foles will start the 2020 season on the bench, but don’t be surprised if he gets a shot at the starting job if Trubisky doesn’t live up to expectations.

Update August 31: Coach Nagy says he won’t name a Week 1 starter ahead of the season opener against the Detroit Lions. This indicates that neither signal caller has stood out at camp. There’s a real possibility that Chicago will take a quarterback-by-committee approach, so it seems like it’s best to stay away from both quarterbacks in season-long fantasy leagues.


Update August 24: Bears coach Matt Nagy says that a resolution to the Trubisky/Foles battle for the starting job “It’s not going to happen soon,” per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. The Bears would have been playing in their third preseason game this weekend, which is usually when a starter is announced in a situation like this. If they don’t have it sorted by then, preparations for the Lions in Week 1 will get trickier.


In this series we will look at the most important fantasy football position battles for each NFL team. Opportunity is king in fantasy, as you can’t produce fantasy statistics without getting on the field. So, the first step when looking for value plays is to project, correctly, which players will win training camp battles.

For the Chicago Bears, it comes down to the most important position on the field. Mitchell Trubisky took a step forward in 2018 after an up-and-down rookie season, but struggled in 2019. He struggled enough that Chicago elected to decline his fifth year option and also trade a fourth round pick to the Jacksonville Jaguars for Nick Foles.

Trubisky has said all the right things this offseason about it pushing him and being a good thing, but the whole situation has grown more complicated due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Teams are beginning to report to training camp after having no in-person work during the offseason workout program. There will be no preseason games, so all camp battles will be exclusively what happens on the practice field. That’s not necessarily a bad thing given coaches have more control over practice than game situations, but it removes the opportunity to play Trubisky and Foles against opposing first unit defenses.

Bears reporter J.J. Stankevitz reported way back in May that Trubisky would get the first snap of training camp practice. However, Stankevitz expects Foles to overtake Trubisky and become the Week 1 starter.

In late June, recently signed wide receiver Ted Ginn discussed the Bears situation, and said at that point he believed Trubisky would be the starter. He signed in Chicago this year and has no history with either quarterback, so it strikes us as notable he would seem confident in that choice.

All that being said, neither Ginn or Stankevitz are making the QB decision. Matt Nagy will have final say. The team invested a decent-sized draft pick in Foles while declining Trubisky’s fifth year option. That does not bode well for Trubisky’s chances of starting in the early going.

Verdict

Foles seems the likely starter candidate, but his injury history and the fact that he hasn’t been a great full-season starting option suggests we have not seen the last of Trubisky as the Bears quarterback. That being said, from a fantasy perspective, you’re better suited staying away from these two unless you’re in a two-QB league.

The bigger question is what any of this means for Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen and Jimmy Graham in the passing game. Foles starting offers a little more upside to the Bears’ pass catchers. It’s not a sizable upgrade, but given what we saw of Trubisky last season, it’s an upgrade.