Overall outlook: New head coach Marc Trestman hopes to breathe life into the normally mediocre Bears’ offense. Once again, there’s a trio of interesting players here.
Bye week: 8
Quarterback: Jay Cutler
Ranked 23rd with 22.6 FOXSports.com fantasy points in 2012 … Cutler was 24th in passing yards (3,033) and T-21 in touchdowns (19), but since he ranked 24th in attempts (434), we could argue that he didn’t have the opportunity to be a fantasy stud … Trestman’s quick-passing West Coast offense figures to give Cutler more chances to throw, and therefore increase his fantasy value … High-end QB2 sounds about right.
Running back: Matt Forte
Ranked 12th with 177.4 fantasy points despite missing a game and struggling through some others with an ankle injury … Was T-12 with 1,094 rushing yards, and added 44 receptions for 340 yards … Figures to be busier running and catching, with some serious upside, in Trestman’s offense … Low-end RB1.
Running back: Michael Bush
Ranked 40th among running backs with 77.4 fantasy points in 2012 … Ran just 114 times for 411 yards, but scored five times as the Bears’ short-yardage specialist … Could again be a TD vulture who annoys Forte’s fantasy owners.
Wide receiver: Brandon Marshall
Finished a surprisingly close second to Calvin Johnson with 216.6 fantasy points … … Was targeted 194 times – an astounding 44.7 percent of Cutler’s attempts – and caught 118 passes for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns … Elite fantasy wideout who will be gone by the middle of the second round in most drafts.
Wide receiver: Alshon Jeffery
Ranked 90th with 54.7 fantasy points on 24 receptions for 367 yards and three touchdowns … Missed six games with knee and thumb injuries … Seems to be on the WR4/5 bubble in rankings, and has appeared on some sleeper lists … Plenty of talent, and Jay Cutler can’t throw ALL his extra passes to Marshall and Forte, right?
Tight end: Martellus Bennett
Ranked 13th with 92.6 fantasy points in 2012 … Had 55 receptions for 626 yards and five touchdowns with the Giants … Should be at least as busy with the Bears this season, but has been criticized for bad routes in the past (one observer cited Bennett for “route indifference” when he signed with the Giants) … High-end TE2.
Placekicker: Robbie Gould
Ranked 23rd with 106 fantasy points in 2012, but missed the final three games due to a leg injury … Made 21 of 25 field goal attempts, and even a full season wouldn’t have moved him above of the middle of the pack in terms of fantasy opportunity … Fantasy fortunes could improve as the Bears’ offense does, but there’s no need to draft Gould.
Team defense (DST)
Ranked first with 193 fantasy points – 27 more than their nearest competitor … Ranked first in interceptions (24) and touchdowns (10), second in fumble recoveries (10), third in points against (277), fifth in yards allowed (5,050) and eighth in sacks (41) … Before you ask, Devin Hester had ZERO return touchdowns in 2012; this unit’s stellar performance was fueled by the defense and not the special teams … Still regarded as a top-five fantasy DST despite the departures of defensive-minded head coach Lovie Smith and LB Brian Urlacher.