When it comes to fantasy football and the 2013 Chicago Bears, it really comes down to three players who could be the top Bear off the board. Quarterback Jay Cutler, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, or running back Matt Forte.
I suppose a lot depends on how the points in your league are divvied up, but one of these three should benefit the most. Unless you play with Ditkavsworld, because his league rewards 50 points for each successful long snap, and his #1 pick is always Patrick Mannelly.
We'll look at the pros and cons of each player, each player other than Mannelly that is.
B. Marsh was one of the top fantasy players last season with 118 receptions, 1,508 receiving yards, and 11 touchdowns. He was the #2 fantasy WR, and a top 10 overall offensive player.
Marshall has been one of the most productive wide outs in the game, and his comfort level with his QB should ensure he sees his share of balls. He's only missed five games in his seven year career, so you know he'll be out there playing through the minor bumps and bruises. He's had six straight years over a thousand yards.
The Bears will be looking to become less predictable on offense this year, so some of the 181 targets he saw last season will be spread out to the new tight end, to the backs, and to the other wide outs.
Most fantasy footballers will tell you to stock up on running backs, and Forte is usually a good option. Last year he had another 1,400 yards from scrimmage.
It's not unheard of for tailbacks in the West Coast Offense to catch over 80 balls. Forte's career high 63 receptions came in Ron Turner's version of the WCO. So if you are in a Points Per Reception league, grabbing a back that will potentially grab that many receptions would be a boon to your team. Forte has also averaged over 70 yards rushing per game in his career.
Beware the TD Vulture when drafting Matt Forte. His upright running style isn't conducive to pounding it in from the goal line, and he's usually subbed out when ever the Bears are on the doorstep. he only had 6 total TDs last season.
If you want to argue whether Jay Cutler is a top ten QB, then more power to you. A case can be made for him on either side of the argument. But if you want to argue that Cutler is a top ten fantasy option then you really have nothing to work with. His best fantasy season came in 2008 while in Denver's WCO, his lone Pro Bowl year. And his best fantasy year in Chicago came in 2009, while playing in the Turner WCO... So you're saying there's a chance...
Cutler has had success in the West Coast Offense, that fact can't be denied, but how he'll fare in the Marc Trestman version is anyone's guess. The glass half full version says Cutler has arguably his best offensive skill players surrounding him, and the Bears have upgraded his offensive line. With the aforementioned Trestman calling plays in Oakland in 2002, Rich Gannon averaged 293 yards per game, while throwing 26 TDs. Gannon was a top fantasy QB that year, and a top 15 overall player. With an offensive minded head coach, Jay Cutler could do some good things this year.
The pros are relying on his o-line to keep him upright, and at this point we can't predict that will happen. Even though he only missed 1 game last year, he probably wasn't 100% in a few others. He missed six games in '11, and another in '10. The beating he's taken the last few years could be catching up with him.
If he can't grasp the share the ball concept teams will just shade coverage to Marshall even more than last year, and his interception percentage could continue to rise. Until we actually see Jay Cutler put up some great numbers, until we see how the line will do, until we see how he gels with Martellus Bennett and the other receivers, it's all just speculation.
So to all you fantasy football players out there, which Chicago Bears player is highest on your big board?
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