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Chicago Bears 2013 Fantasy Football Defense Preview

Jeff Hanisch USA TODAY Sports

Last year, the Chicago Bears defense was a Fantasy force to be reckoned with as they lead the league in turnovers with 24 interceptions and 20 fumble recoveries. They turned those 44 opportunities into nine defensive touchdowns.

If there was one area where the Bear’s Defense and Special Teams was a letdown it was on Punt and Kickoff returns. Amazingly the electrifying Devin Hester failed to return a single kick or punt all the way back to the house. Under new Head Coach Mark Trestman, Hester has been removed from his unproductive role on offense and put exclusively on the return game. The change should keep him fresh to put up the kind of big highlight reel plays we all remember from the early part of his career.

An interesting addition to the Special Teams squad is undrafted free agent Michael Ford. He played his college ball at Louisiana State University, where he was second in return yards in the South Eastern Conference last year. Ford is lightning fast and is quite possibly more slippery than Hester. He should push Hester for a chance to return punts but even if he settles for the second spot returning Kickoffs it gives the Bears possibly the two best return men in the league!

In 2013 several Bears starters are in the final year of their contracts. Topping the list are big names like Henry MeltonCharles TillmanTim JenningsD.J. WilliamsMajor WrightJames AndersonCorey Wootton and Devin Hester. Playing in the final year of their contract will motivate these players to hit a big pay day with the Bears brass or put on an audition for prospective suitors in free agency.

Some people will walk into the room on Fantasy Draft Day thinking of the Bears are no longer the top elite unit. Most people will think of them as a defense you can start each week but with loss of Brian Urlacher and the offensive focus of Mark Trestman, they’ll assume their best days are behind them. I contend that the Bear’s defense, with the addition of Jon Bostic has gotten faster and more focused. They are the only defense I would reach for as early as the 10th round of your Fantasy draft.

Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ericbeuning or add him to your network on Google.