Bears Sign Eddie Royal

Dave Pratt breaks down the fantasy implications of Eddie Royal signing with the Bears.

| 2 years ago

Bears Sign Eddie Royal

Eddie-Royal-e1379559527408-150x150On the second day of free agency, the Bears signed former Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal to a three-year deal. This signing helps fill a void at wide receiver left by the recent trade of Brandon Marshall to the Jets.

The 28-year-old Royal is coming off the two best seasons since his rookie season in 2008. In 2013, he racked up 47 receptions for 631 yards and eight touchdowns. He followed that up with 62 catches for 778 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014.

During his three seasons with the Chargers, Royal proved to be one of Philip Rivers’ most-trusted receivers. In 2014, lining up primarily in the slot position (86.2 percent of his routes ran), he caught 72.1 percent of his targets, averaged 5.9 yards per reception, and had team-high 22 receptions on third down. Moreover, between the numbers, he caught 40 of his 44 targets at short or intermediate distances.

Rivers is not the only quarterback who has ever developed a strong trust in Royal. In 2008, as a rookie playing for the Broncos, Royal caught a considerable 91 passes from Jay Cutler. Now that they are reunited, Royal can provide Cutler with something he has never had while in Chicago: a trustworthy possession slot receiver.

Unfortunately, his value to the Bears offense is not equal to his value in fantasy. In general, slot receivers have minimal value in fantasy—especially in non-PPR formats. They simply do not rack up yards and touchdowns comparable to the outside receivers. Last season’s only exception was Randall Cobb, who was the only receiver that reached 1,000 yards receiving or double-digit touchdowns from the slot position. This reason alone explains why Royal did not finish any higher than 30th among fantasy wide receivers in 2013 or 2014.

In 2015, Royal will continue to see considerable action from the slot in three wide receiver sets, while Alshon Jeffery and Marquess Wilson will line up on the outside. Royal is projected to have 49 receptions for 539 yards and three touchdowns. Jeffery continues to be the only truly fantasy-relevant wide receiver in Chicago.


  • Jason Williams

    47 and 62 receptions is not what the Bears just pushed out the door – they need more like 80-100.

    And does anyone else feel like Wilson is approaching bust territory? I’d rather see the scrappy Josh Bellamy out there.

  • jim

    royal is certainlly an improvement over wilson, or anyone else the bears have tried in the slot. next……replace marshall’s production. i agree with jason below, bellamy looks better than wilson as a backup.

  • eYeDEF

    How is Eddie Royal worth 10 million bucks a years? That is insane money for him and it sounds like the bears had to pay a Bears surtax to get him done.

    • Jordan

      Only $5 mil a year I believe, with 10 mil of his 15 or so being guaranteed. Not the worst price for a quality player at a position we really needed to fill.