Chicago’s Relevance in Fantasy Football

Chicago Bears talent can’t rival that of the Philadelphia Eagles. With players like Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Ronnie Brown and a star-studded defense, the Eagles roster looks like a fantasy team. The Bears roster looks more like the team that finishes last in your league year-after-year. There are relevant fantasy players on the Bears team but none that deserve first or second round consideration in 2011.

Jay Cutler (15) quarterbacked the 30th ranked offense in 2010. With a year under his belt in Martz’s offense, Cutler should develop into a top 10 fantasy quarterback. Martz has made Pro Bowlers out of quarterbacks with lesser talent (see Jon Kitna) and, if his offensive line provides adequate protection, Jay could be Honolulu-bound in 2012. With last year’s struggles, Cutler will be available late in the draft. If you trust in the Bears offensive line, focus your draft on talented backs and receivers and take a quarterback like Cutler late.

Matt Forte (11) is by far the highest ranking fantasy player on the Bears. He has looked explosive in training camp and preseason so far. He’ll make a solid number two running back in 10 to 12 team fantasy leagues. Two questions surround Forte going into the year: 1) Will Martz go back to the ‘pass happy’ style which results in very few carries per game for his running backs? and 2) Will Marion Barber steal touchdowns at the goal line? Most people will draft Forte in the late 2nd or early 3rd round this year.

Devin Hester (49), Roy Williams (55) and Johnny Knox (24) are all fantasy question marks this year. Knox had the best year out of the three last season but is now second string behind Roy Williams. That demotion won’t last and I expect Knox will be a respectable 3rd fantasy receiver by mid-season. Hester has the most talent of the three and word is he understands the offense much better than last year. He hasn’t been consistent as a receiver thus far in his career but is worth a late round flier. Roy Williams is no longer a viable fantasy option. Unless someone reaches for him, he should be available on the waiver wire to pick up later in the year. If he gets his way, Mike Martz will run a lot of three and four wide receiver sets so all three should see plenty of time on the field.

Marion Barber (53) will be a late round pick people will handcuff to Matt Forte. He may steal some goal line carries from Forte but not enough to be a consistent starter in a standard two running back league. He has looked good in the preseason and will supplant Chester Taylor as the Bears primary back up running back this year.

Chicago Bears Defense (4) is always a popular pick for fantasy teams. Lovie Smith’s focus on turnovers equates to big points in fantasy football. This year should be no different as the defensive line is better and the safety position is more solid. Once you see defenses coming off the draft board take the Bears defense and consider that position set for the year.

Robbie Gould (14) is one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history. He isn’t a top-tier kicker because of the Chicago winters and Soldier Field’s terrible playing surface. It’s difficult to predict which kickers will have a good year. Pick one from a well ranked offensive team in the last couple rounds and watch the waiver wire for a viable replacement as the season progresses.

Number in parenthesis represents 2010 positional ranking. Rankings based on Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football.

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