The Monsters of the Midway is one of the coolest nicknames in football. It's right up there with the Steel Curtain and the Purple People Eaters.
For years, it has described the fear felt by offensive coordinators when facing the Chicago Bears' opportunistic defense. Lately, however, the defense has been more frightening for its inability to make stops.
Is it time to cut ties with this defense on your fantasy football team?
The Bears enter Week 8 ranked 26th in total defense with 391 yards allowed per game. They haven't even been a bend-but-don't-break unit, as they rank 28th in scoring defense with 29.4 points per game allowed.
The only teams yielding more points are the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars. Not exactly a who's who of defensive powerhouses.
Unless you own them, you might not even realize how much they have struggled. They aren't making up for it with quarterback sacks. Julius Peppers has just one sack on the year. As a team, the Bears have just nine sacks through seven games.
The Bears' trademark on defense in recent years has been their ability to force turnovers. That is one area in which they have excelled. The Bears have 10 interceptions and eight fumble recoveries. Only the Kansas City Chiefs and the Seattle Seahawks have more takeaways.
The amount of total points on defense is bloated by the squad's return touchdowns. That has been another trademark for the Bears. They have four touchdowns on defense and one on a punt return. They have made a living on return touchdowns, but with the way things have been going, you're in trouble if they don't take one to the house.
Things won't get any easier with Lance Briggs sidelined for at least a month with a shoulder injury. He's the heart and soul of the defense and will be missed. Briggs already had 64 tackles and was tied for the team lead with two sacks.
The Bears have a couple of tough matchups coming out of the bye, as they'll face the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions. I wouldn't recommend using them in either spot.
Those games are followed by matchups with the Baltimore Ravens, St. Louis Rams and Minnesota Vikings, which should be favorable.
The matchup with the Cleveland Browns is another good one in Week 15, but it's sandwiched between the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles in Weeks 14 and 16, respectively. If you play the season out, the Bears close with the Packers.
The Bears are worthy of being released from fantasy football rosters, but there is a risk they will get snatched back up. You won't use them again until Week 11 or 12, depending on whether you think the Baltimore Ravens can turn it around. If you think you can get them back, it's not a bad play.
If you'd rather play it safe and hold onto them, that's fine too. Just make sure you have an alternative for their tough games.
Also check out Lester's Legends Week 8 Fantasy Football Rankings.