Insider Trading, Edition #3: Will DeWitt, Chicago Bears
Happy Friday everyone, and welcome back to Insider Trading! Hopefully by now you are familiar with the concept, but for the newbies out there, I’ll give you a quick synopsis. Each week I will interview an insider from a specific NFL franchise. The team will be determined based on the news and notes happening around the league that given week. What better way to find out who to invest in than going straight to the source, and asking the very people that live and breathe the team?
For this week, we didn’t have any major injuries, trades, cuts, or retirements, but we did get our first glimpse at the rookie class. If Week One of the pre-season is any indication of how the rookie QBs are going to play, then we are in for a productive next 15 seasons. Mac Jones ($3.32/share) was better then advertised, and Zac Wilson ($5.96/share) seems to be the real deal, but the belle of the ball might have been Chicago’s very own, Justin Fields ($6.35/share). To learn more, I had to take a trip out to the Windy City and get the 411 on Da Bears. To help me this week, I am pleased to introduce you all to Will DeWitt! Will is the Founder and Host of the ever-popular Chicago Audible podcast. For My Bears fans out there, I am sure you know Will and his co-host Nicholas Moreano, but for the rest of you, I suggest you take note. Will and Nicholas provide listeners with a unique balance of fandom and objective analysis, and if you plan on investing in Bears players this season on PredictionStrike, I suggest you give them a listen! Find The Chicago Audible wherever you get your favorite podcasts, and make sure to give them a follow on Twitter, @ChicagoAudible, and Instagram @chicago_audible. At minimum, get on the socials and give Will a shoutout, because he absolutely nailed the interview! Without further ado, I introduce you all to Will DeWitt!
Alex: Whats up Will! Thank you so much for taking some time to help us out, and teach us a thing or two about your Chicago Bears! Obviously the first question has to be about your new shiny toy, the quarterback. We all saw his performance in pre-season week 1, and the excitement level is rising. First and foremost, when the season finally kicks off, should we expect to see Fields under center, or will we have to endure The Red Rocket, aka Andy Dalton, ($3.99/share) for a couple weeks?
Will: Tremendous question. Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy probably doesn’t even know who he’ll be starting Week 1, but my best guess is that we’ll see Andy Dalton under center for the season opener. The Rams defense is no joke and Chicago’s offensive line has been dealing with numerous injuries already. Rookie tackle Teven Jenkins had back surgery, and they signed 39-year-old Jason Peters to compete for a starting job. Despite flashing his potential, I’d anticipate a cautious approach with Fields even with angst building up within the fan base to see him out on the field.
Alex: Like many, I was shocked to see Field’s using his mobility; rushing out of the pocket, and even scoring a TD with his wheels. I thought coming out of college he was expected to be more of a pocket passer? Am I right, or should we be expecting a dual threat quarterback in Chicago?
Will: Without question. What makes Fields an intriguing (and dynamic) quarterback is his ability to make plays with his legs in addition to his arm talent. He has blazing speed. During his pro day, Fields ran a 4.44 40-yard dash. If that had happened during the NFL Combine (which was canceled this past year) it would have been the second-fastest time ever for a quarterback only behind Robert Griffin III ($1/46/share).
What’s most exciting, however, is Fields’ calmness in the pocket. He didn’t bail the pocket needlessly. Instead, he only used his mobility when he needed to. His threat as a runner also created some nice passing lanes that he was able to take advantage of. So in addition to adding yards as a rusher, expect his legs to only help him be a more effective passer.
Alex: As a D.C. area native, I would be lying if I said I watch Bears games regularly. If it’s not a prime time game, or featured on RedZone, I’m not watching. That being said, Louis Reddick introduced me to Darnell Mooney ($0.94/share) on MNF last season and I was enamored, so much so I wrote a whole piece on him last season in my Blue Chips and Penny Stocks article. Unfortunately, I got burned and lost some money in that investment, but my infatuation for Mooney still burns to this day. I’m relying on you to be my eyes and ears in Chicago. What are you seeing/hearing about Mooney this off-season? Should I be excited and buy more? Or cut my losses and invest elsewhere?
Will: I’m so happy to see Darnell Mooney getting some love outside of Chicago, as it’s very much deserved! I’ve heard nothing but great things about Mooney putting in the work throughout the offseason. He’s looking better as a route runner, and some believe he’s even more explosive than a year ago. Most know he’s a strong deep threat, but an underrated element of his game is making plays after the catch and fighting through contact. With another year in the system, and more competent quarterback play, I would remain high on Mooney. Chicago has brought in other speedy wide receivers like Marquise Goodwin ($1.53/share) and Damiere Byrd ($1.35/share) that should take some of the defensive attention away and open up additional opportunities.
Alex: Tight ends always intrigue me on PredictionStrike because they tend to have lower projections. Low projections, and potential for high totals can create massive stock gains. Saying that, what do you think of Cole Kmet ($1.12/share) going into his second season? Sophomore slump? Or prime for a breakout year?
Will: If history is any indication, we should be looking at a breakout year for Cole Kmet. He really came on in the second half of the season for the Bears. 78% of his catches came Week 10 or later, and his snap count saw a significant increase. He went from roughly 20 snaps per game to over 60 in the final weeks of the season. Throughout camp, Kmet has demonstrated an increased ability to create separation and is running a more dynamic route tree. I’d expect him to be more of a threat down the seam and in the red zone here in Year 2. Just like Mooney, Kmet will benefit from stronger play at quarterback.
Alex: Maybe I am a cynic, but there are a few backfields I just stay away from, both in fantasy, and in PredictionStrike. I don’t know why, but the Bears running backs have been on that list for a while. Maybe Jordan Howard ($6.77/share) burned me one too many times, but I won’t touch them with a ten foot pole. Am I wrong to think that, or do David Montgomery ($0.92/share) and Co. have a chance to make investors some money this season?
Will: It’ll be interesting to see what the Bears will get out of David Montgomery in 2021. The back did a terrific job considering the circumstances of playing behind a poor offensive line and the loss of Tarik Cohen ($3.70/share). In Cohen’s absence, Montgomery proved he can be a capable receiver out of the backfield.
In fact, Montgomery was the only running back in the NFL last season to gain 1,000 yards on the ground and 400 or more receiving.
The only concern I have with Montgomery actually has nothing to do with him at all, but rather, the new talent Chicago added to the backfield. They signed free agent Damien Williams ($7.96/share), who was a surprise cut in Kansas City, and is a very capable dual-threat spell back. The Bears also drafted Khalil Herbert ($1.04/share), who has already assumed the third running back role on the depth chart and is another speedy, shifty, and powerful back Chicago can deploy. And the expectation is Tarik Cohen should return some point this season after starting camp on the PUP list.
So how will all of these affect the workload for Montgomery? That remains one of the biggest questions heading into the season. Nagy has said he wants to give him 20 touches per game, but I’m unsure if he’ll stick to that plan.
Alex: Finally, our reoccurring last question. If you had to risk it all, and invest everything in ONE PredictionStrike stock for the upcoming season, who would it be, and why? Extra points if it’s a Bears player, but feel free to venture out into the entire league.
Will: Justin Fields. I have complete faith in this kid and strongly believe Chicago finally has their long term answer at the most important position in football. I would bet on him 10 times out of 10, without hesitation. He’s proven to have all of the tools and leadership you want in a franchise quarterback.
There we have it folks! If you aren’t sold on Justin Fields, Cole Kmet, and Darnell Mooney now, I don’t know when you will be! And just think, we didn’t even discuss Allen Robinson ($5.90/share)! This offense has a chance to make us investors some serious cash this season, so keep a close eye on them, and invest before everyone else catches on! I want to thank Will DeWitt once again for his help! It was a blast getting to talk football with someone who knows so much about the team he loves! Remember to show some love and give a listen to The Chicago Audible, and follow on the socials! That is all for this week, but be ready for tons of great content in the weeks to come! I’m thinking of the next team to interview already! Until then...