Fantasy Football Focus: Chicago Bears

Russell IvanacSenior Analyst IJuly 27, 2008

It is no secret that the NFC North is a weak division.

That makes it mean even more when I say that the Chicago Bears will most likely come in last in their division. They have one of the worst offenses in the league, and injuries tore apart their defense last year.

Devin Hester is one of the most electrifying players in the NFL, but heed these words, Hester will not do as well this year. With that warning, Let's look at the rest of the team.



Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton

Neither is a very good option as a starting quarterback and neither will be getting very good protection from their offensive line this season. I'll tell you up front that you shouldn't be looking for anything fantasy-wise from the passing game in Chicago.

Grossman looks like the favorite to win the starting job right now over Orton. He has a stronger arm than Orton and usually passes the ball better. If Hester gets more involved in the passing game, look for Grossman to throw a few long-balls his way.

Orton is considered the better decision maker of the two, but doesn't have a very good completion rate. He is confident, but confidence only gets you so far. In his case it will get him as far as holding a clipboard.



Matt Forte/Kevin Jones

The focus of their offense will be the running backs. They will be looking to run a lot and when they have to pass, they like to throw to their backs coming out of the backfield. Their running backs may not be up to they challenge however.

Forte is a rookie with plenty of upside, but no NFL experience and a bit of an injury history. He is a power back and fits their power running scheme, but don't look for him to break off many long runs. He does get added value for having great hands out of the backfield. He could be a number three back on most fantasy teams.

Jones, on the other hand, has more experience and more of an injury history. He can be an elite running back when healthy, but that is something he has struggled to do since he came into the league.

He needs time to heal and get to 100 percent before taking on too much of a role in the offense. If he isn't rushed back, he could be a decent pick-up late in the season.



Devin Hester/Marty Booker/Desmond Clark/Greg Olsen

Clark and Olsen are probably the best two receivers on the team, which leads me to believe they will be using plenty of two tight end sets this year. Having both tight ends on the field helps the running game and pass protection as well.

Olsen looks to be the better receiving and red-zone threat, as he is more athletic and has a ton of upside. Clark is currently the starter, but might get pushed into more of a blocking role despite his down field ability.

Hester shows the most fantasy promise out of their receiving corps. So why do I think he will have a down year?

Let's look at what has happened so far. He held out for a brief period, came to camp, got hurt, then got a four-year deal. Smells like a let down in the making to me. Coach Lovie Smith has said he wants to get Hester more involved in the offense though, which could mean more individual fantasy value for him than in past year.

Booker will more than likely emerge as the No.1 receiver on the depth chart, but that gives him about as much value as most other third receivers. If you are looking to fill a roster spot with him, you must be desperate. He has a little speed left, but not much else.



Robbie Gould

Let's start out with two quick facts. He has never made a kick over 50 yards and he has never missed a kick under 30 yards in his NFL career. Don't look at his stats from 2006 and expect him to put up similar numbers. This offense is declining and taking Gould's fantasy value with it. Don't overestimate him.



Let's get this out of the way first. Chicago has a very talented defense. That said, I would advise against treating them like a top-five fantasy unit. Why? They have a fast paced offense that will have plenty of "three and outs," which means the defense will be on the field a lot.

Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs lead what could be the best linebacking group in the league. Their safeties on the other hand are a point of weakness outside of SS Mike Brown. Injuries plagued the defense last year, and if that happens again the Bears won't be winning very often.

Hester will still be the premier return man of the NFL, but he won't put up the same numbers he did last year. The also Bears lost some of their special team players that helped give Hester clear lanes to run through, including Brendon Ayanbadejo, who made the pro-bowl the last two years as a blocking a coverage specialist.


Top Five Chicago Bears Fantasy Players

1. Bears D/ST

2. Robbie Gould

3. Matt Forte

4. Greg Olsen

5. Devin Hester

Bye Week: 8



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