Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Chicago Bears

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Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Chicago Bears

chicago bears
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears caught a tough break last season as they were the only 10-win team to miss out on the playoffs. There individual players, however, helped many fantasy owners reach the playoffs in their leagues.

The Bears were led by wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was monster all season and ended the year as one of the top-ranked receivers in fantasy. He produced every week despite constant double-teams, and both the Bears and fantasy owners will be expecting him to repeat last season’s terrific performance.

One the ground, star running back Matt Forte was banged up at various points in the season, but he still turned in a solid campaign as both a runner and a receiver. However, his health is a question mark that fantasy owners everywhere will be wrestling with as they attempt to determine whether or not to draft him Forte.

The Bears have added some pieces to their offensive unit in the hopes of making it more than just the Marshall and Forte show. New head coach Marc Trestman is offensive-minded, and expect him to find creative ways to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers.

Owners must consider their league’s depth and scoring format before drafting, because not all leagues are created equal and a player’s value can change significantly depending on the structure of the league. These five players should have good value in most leagues, and the players at the top of the list are among the best at their positions.

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5. Jay Cutler

cutler
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler did not have his best season last year, throwing for only 3,033 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was extremely turnover-prone, throwing 14 interceptions and fumbling eight times. Not all of this is Cutler’s fault however, as he was being protected by a horrendous offensive line. The Bears allowed 44 sacks last season, and Cutler was pressured beyond the point of effectiveness on countless other occasions.

The Bears went out and signed Jermon Bushrod and drafted Kyle Long this offseason to correct their pass protection issues, and not having to worry so much about his blindside will help Cutler tremendously. Trestman is renowned quarterback teacher, and he will work to develop Cutler’s skills and put him in the best position to succeed.

The addition of Martellus Bennett and the development of Alshon Jeffrey will go a long way for Cutler as well this season. However, even if all these things go right, Cutler is still a backup in all but the deepest leagues. He should improve on all his passing numbers and will be a good pick for owners with an injury risk as a starting QB, but Cutler is unlikely to be a fantasy star.

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4. Defense/Special Teams

hester
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears returned to being the Monsters of the Midway on defense last season, and they ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and third in scoring defense. The team accounted for 41 sacks, 24 interceptions, 20 forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns. Those numbers made the Bears one of the best defenses in fantasy.

Repeating those statistics will be difficult this season, but there is reason to believe that the Bears can do it. Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman are two of the elite defenders in the league, and both create turnovers. The Bears also figure rank highly in scoring defense again, which is a huge part of a fantasy defense’s effectiveness.

In the return game, Chicago has decided that Devin Hester will work exclusively as a return man. Hester is the best kick returner in NFL history, and smart money would be on him taking at least two kicks or punts to the house this season. All told, the Bears defense and special teams has a lot to offer, and should be one of the first units off the board in drafts.

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3. Martellus Bennett

bennett
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Bennett blossomed as a receiver with the New York Giants last season, catching 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns. Bennett is an absolute freak athlete, and he has the potential to cause huge mismatch advantages for the Bears’ offense.

The Bears need someone to take the pressure off Brandon Marshall, and Bennett will be that guy. Expect Cutler to target him heavily, and Bennett could become a force in the redzone. He will probably not put up huge yardage totals, so his value will be somewhat tied to his touchdown production.

Bennett is a high-upside option at tight end, and he should be considered a low-end starter in most leagues. Bennett is someone who will likely be available towards the end of your draft, and if he continues to develop, he could be a steal.

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2. Matt Forte

forte
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte is one of the top dual-threat running backs in football, and he could be primed for a big bounce-back season. Forte seemed to be perpetually banged up last season, and his injuries left him ineffective in several games. If he can maintain his health, he could have a monster season.

The Bears have tried to improve their offensive line this offseason, and if is in fact improved, then Forte will be the primary beneficiary. Forte will get the lion’s share of the carries in Chicago, and he should be good for at least 50 receptions as well. All of those touches should lead to Forte posting big yardage numbers.

The issue with Forte is his backup, Michael Bush. Bush is the Bears’ goal line back, and that is not going to change. Forte will lose touchdowns to Bush, and that hurts his value quite a bit. Still, Forte should be considered a strong RB2 in just about every format, and an RB1 in deep leagues and PPR formats.

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1. Brandon Marshall

marshall
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears traded for Brandon Marshall last offseason, and man did it pay off. Marshall finished second in the NFL in targets and receptions, third in yards and fourth in touchdowns. His final stat line was 118 receptions for 1,508 yards and 11 TDs, making him the best fantasy receiver not named Calvin Johnson.

Marshall did all this in spite of constant double-teams and a quarterback who barely had any time to throw the ball. If Bennett and Jeffery can take some pressure off Marshall and the line can protect Cutler better, he could be in for an even better season.

Marshall is top of line as far as receivers go. He is a top-5 player at the position and a likely second-round pick in every league. Expect him to replicate last season’s big numbers, and make sure that Marshall is on your radar when you are looking for your first wide receiver.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google

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Top 5 2013 Fantasy Football Players: Chicago Bears

chicago bears
Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Bears caught a tough break last season as they were the only 10-win team to miss out on the playoffs. There individual players, however, helped many fantasy owners reach the playoffs in their leagues.

The Bears were led by wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who was monster all season and ended the year as one of the top-ranked receivers in fantasy. He produced every week despite constant double-teams, and both the Bears and fantasy owners will be expecting him to repeat last season’s terrific performance.

One the ground, star running back Matt Forte was banged up at various points in the season, but he still turned in a solid campaign as both a runner and a receiver. However, his health is a question mark that fantasy owners everywhere will be wrestling with as they attempt to determine whether or not to draft him Forte.

The Bears have added some pieces to their offensive unit in the hopes of making it more than just the Marshall and Forte show. New head coach Marc Trestman is offensive-minded, and expect him to find creative ways to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers.

Owners must consider their league’s depth and scoring format before drafting, because not all leagues are created equal and a player’s value can change significantly depending on the structure of the league. These five players should have good value in most leagues, and the players at the top of the list are among the best at their positions.

2 of 6

5. Jay Cutler

cutler
Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler did not have his best season last year, throwing for only 3,033 yards and 19 touchdowns. He was extremely turnover-prone, throwing 14 interceptions and fumbling eight times. Not all of this is Cutler’s fault however, as he was being protected by a horrendous offensive line. The Bears allowed 44 sacks last season, and Cutler was pressured beyond the point of effectiveness on countless other occasions.

The Bears went out and signed Jermon Bushrod and drafted Kyle Long this offseason to correct their pass protection issues, and not having to worry so much about his blindside will help Cutler tremendously. Trestman is renowned quarterback teacher, and he will work to develop Cutler’s skills and put him in the best position to succeed.

The addition of Martellus Bennett and the development of Alshon Jeffrey will go a long way for Cutler as well this season. However, even if all these things go right, Cutler is still a backup in all but the deepest leagues. He should improve on all his passing numbers and will be a good pick for owners with an injury risk as a starting QB, but Cutler is unlikely to be a fantasy star.

3 of 6

4. Defense/Special Teams

hester
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears returned to being the Monsters of the Midway on defense last season, and they ranked fifth in the NFL in total defense and third in scoring defense. The team accounted for 41 sacks, 24 interceptions, 20 forced fumbles and three defensive touchdowns. Those numbers made the Bears one of the best defenses in fantasy.

Repeating those statistics will be difficult this season, but there is reason to believe that the Bears can do it. Julius Peppers and Charles Tillman are two of the elite defenders in the league, and both create turnovers. The Bears also figure rank highly in scoring defense again, which is a huge part of a fantasy defense’s effectiveness.

In the return game, Chicago has decided that Devin Hester will work exclusively as a return man. Hester is the best kick returner in NFL history, and smart money would be on him taking at least two kicks or punts to the house this season. All told, the Bears defense and special teams has a lot to offer, and should be one of the first units off the board in drafts.

4 of 6

3. Martellus Bennett

bennett
Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Bennett blossomed as a receiver with the New York Giants last season, catching 55 passes for 626 yards and five touchdowns. Bennett is an absolute freak athlete, and he has the potential to cause huge mismatch advantages for the Bears’ offense.

The Bears need someone to take the pressure off Brandon Marshall, and Bennett will be that guy. Expect Cutler to target him heavily, and Bennett could become a force in the redzone. He will probably not put up huge yardage totals, so his value will be somewhat tied to his touchdown production.

Bennett is a high-upside option at tight end, and he should be considered a low-end starter in most leagues. Bennett is someone who will likely be available towards the end of your draft, and if he continues to develop, he could be a steal.

5 of 6

2. Matt Forte

forte
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Forte is one of the top dual-threat running backs in football, and he could be primed for a big bounce-back season. Forte seemed to be perpetually banged up last season, and his injuries left him ineffective in several games. If he can maintain his health, he could have a monster season.

The Bears have tried to improve their offensive line this offseason, and if is in fact improved, then Forte will be the primary beneficiary. Forte will get the lion’s share of the carries in Chicago, and he should be good for at least 50 receptions as well. All of those touches should lead to Forte posting big yardage numbers.

The issue with Forte is his backup, Michael Bush. Bush is the Bears’ goal line back, and that is not going to change. Forte will lose touchdowns to Bush, and that hurts his value quite a bit. Still, Forte should be considered a strong RB2 in just about every format, and an RB1 in deep leagues and PPR formats.

6 of 6

1. Brandon Marshall

marshall
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears traded for Brandon Marshall last offseason, and man did it pay off. Marshall finished second in the NFL in targets and receptions, third in yards and fourth in touchdowns. His final stat line was 118 receptions for 1,508 yards and 11 TDs, making him the best fantasy receiver not named Calvin Johnson.

Marshall did all this in spite of constant double-teams and a quarterback who barely had any time to throw the ball. If Bennett and Jeffery can take some pressure off Marshall and the line can protect Cutler better, he could be in for an even better season.

Marshall is top of line as far as receivers go. He is a top-5 player at the position and a likely second-round pick in every league. Expect him to replicate last season’s big numbers, and make sure that Marshall is on your radar when you are looking for your first wide receiver.

Greg Sulik is a New York Jets writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter at @GregSulik or add him to your network on Google


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