Apart from the odd star here or there, and their defense, Chicago has been a fantasy black hole for years now. Even during their unsuccessful Super Bowl XLI run, there wasn't much on the Bears squad from a fantasy football perspective. Chicago scored 427 points that season and it was their highest total in the last decade.
While the total is impressive, keep in mind that 65 of the points were posted by the defense or special teams. An additional 143 points came off the leg of PK Robbie Gould who led all NFL kickers in scoring during the 2006 season. So the question remains, are the Bears fantasy stars coming out of hibernation? We think they are about to wake up. Let's head to legendary Soldier Field and see if we can dig up some dirt on the Bears' 2012 possible fantasy studs and duds.
Chicago Bears Quarterback Fantasy Options
After auditioning the likes of quarterbacks Rex Grossman, Kyle Orton, and Kordell Stewart for the past decade, the Bears made a big move when they traded away the farm to bring in Jay Cutler from the Denver Broncos. While Denver ended up burning away most of the draft picks they acquired in the trade (on players like Robert DE Ayers, TE Richard Quinn and G Seth Olsen) it still cost the Bears a bundle in terms of future possible players.
Cutler has played 41 games under center for the Bears and he's posted 637.5 total fantasy points – good for a middle of the pack 15.5 points per game. By comparison, hated "Norris" Division rival, QB Aaron Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers, has produced 971.7 fantasy points - good for an average of 23.7 PPG over his last 41 appearances. Drew Brees has produced 883.1 fantasy points (21.5 PPG), and Tom Brady comes in at 876.3 (21.3 PPG) over their last 41 starts.
Bears QB Analysis: Cutler is coming back from a broken thumb to his right throwing hand. He was a product of the system as a Bronco and we're not sure if he was ever on the same page with offensive coordinator Mike Martz. We'll see how he reacts to new OC Mike Tice. The blockbuster addition of Brandon Marshall adds some serious talent to the Bears receiving core. Cutler and Marshall teamed up regularly in Denver - expect that to carry over here. Former Denver QB coach Jeremy Bates is back with Cutler and Marshall as he was hired back in February. Cutler will be a very serviceable middle of the pack starting QB1 in 2012.
Chicago Bears Running Back Fantasy Options
We talked about Matt Forte and his contract situation a few days back. The Bears' bowling ball was taken off IR on February 6, 2012. As was expected, the Bears did in fact slap the franchise tag on their stud running back. From a Fantasy Football perspective, the tag is way better than a long term contract as Forte will be playing for the big money he may (will) receive after a healthy 2012 season.
Fort Knox (not Johnny) is the complete package and he's well on his way to becoming one of the premier backs in the NFL. He can pound through any point of the line, has a knack for getting open over the middle or out in the flats to pass catch (after he's thrown a block at the line), and he will stay in the backfield to protect his QB when asked to. Forte was headed to a 250 plus fantasy point season before suffering a Grade 2 MCL sprain in Week 13 against the Chiefs.
Bears RB Analysis: Forte was healthy enough to head to Hawaii for the 2012 Pro Bowl, so he should be fine moving forward. While it is still way too early to be doing any Top 10 rankings, Forte will be on my top RB list when it's posted later in the year.
Chicago Bears Wide Receiver Fantasy Options
Newly hired Bears GM Phil Emery's inaugural rookie move was a big one as he lured Brandon Marshall out Miami in exchange for two third-round draft picks in 2012 and 2013. At last report, Johnny Knox is in a back brace due to vertebra surgery. We wish him well – dude is fearless!
Earl Bennett missed time in 2011, but caught 14 balls for 251 yards and a TD before fellow former Commodore Jay Cutler thumbed a ride to the injured reserve list. Devin Hester will continue to be a part time "jack of all trades" master of one - which is too much of a risk in standard scoring Fantasy football leagues. Roy E. Williams is washed up and won't be back with the Bears.
Bears WR Analysis: Bears fans are hoping the Pro Bowl was a sign of things to come as Marshall needs to hang on to the ball when he's targeted – which should be a lot. Bennett is in the slot, and if he and Cutler can both stay healthy, the addition of Marshall makes this a fairly dynamic trio. Wait on further reports on the health of Knox and forget about the rest of the Yogi wideouts at this early point in the off-season. It's been reported that Knox is recovering well, so make it a fantastic foursome in the Bears passing game - five alive if your throw in Forte. The NFC North is going to be fun to watch!
Chicago Bears Tight End Fantasy Options
At the time of writing, the Chicago tight end situation is virtually non-existent. Kellen Davis is a free agent and Matt Spaeth is a blocking TE who the Bears won't want to pay $1.875M to retain. Expect them to either re-up with Davis or try to snag one of the many free agent tight ends still strolling the market. Is their room for another Bennett in the Bear's Lair?
Bears TE Analysis: Bears new OC Mike Tice is a former tight end who gained 894 yards with 11 touchdowns in 14 seasons. That's a good thing for who ever bags the starting TE job in Chicago. That said, we can't make an opinion on nothing, so we will monitor the situation and keep you posted.
Yes, it does appear as though the Fantasy Football Bears are about to wake up!