Bears Fantasy News
Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:21pm
Bears RB KaDeem Carey changed directions without breaking stride on separate outside runs during team drills. That’s one reason why he’s tough to tackle. His vision and smooth feet helped him stay at top speed.
Carey is competing for the right to back up Matt Forte.
Monday, July 28, 2014, 8:10pm
In order to win the job and establish himself as the No. 3 receiver behind one of the best duos in the league, all Marquess Wilson has to do is establish the trust of a quarterback who does not exactly hand it out like Halloween candy.
No big deal.
But Wilson put it in simple terms on Monday.
“Shoot, every time he throws it to you, you better catch it,” Wilson said of his quarterback, Jay Cutler. “That’s how you’re going to gain his trust, or just get open and pray he’ll throw it to you. But if you show him you can get open, he’ll throw it to you.”
Wilson is battling with Josh Morgan for the WR3 spot.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 10:49am
Tight end Martellus Bennett wants to be a beast of burden. Bennett has declared this season the ‘‘Year of the YAK,’’ misspelling the acronym for ‘‘yards after catch’’ on purpose. ‘‘I just like the animal — yak — better than the word YAC,’’ he said. Bennett and quarterback Jay Cutler stayed late after the second day of camp Saturday to work on the latter. ‘‘Me and him have a plan this year in camp to constantly work on a different route each day,’’ Bennett said. ‘‘As a tight end, it’s really just about being in rhythm, just him knowing what’s going to happen on certain routes.’’
Bennett could be a nice, late-round get. His ADP is the 13th round and we rank him 11th at the position, but it seems like he has a chance to improve on that. We don't always recommend drafting two TEs if you don't have to, but Bennett looks like a decent TE2 option.
Sunday, July 27, 2014, 9:27am
Bears RB Matt Forte has shown no signs of slowing, even though he's third in the NFL in touches since 2008 with 1,892 (1,551 carries, 341 receptions). His burst is still there. At a position notorious for grinding up players and spitting them out in short order, Forte is still a main cog in an offense that now features big-time options in the passing game. He's meticulous in preparation and works routinely with a physical therapist to keep his body tuned to avoid injuries. "Playing this long, you know what the routine is," Forte said. "You know what to do and how to do it."
Forte is a top RB this year in any format and is going as early as the middle of the first round. He's especially a top PPR RB hauling in 74 catches last season. We predict him for 72 more this season and he's our number-two PPR RB.
Saturday, July 26, 2014, 1:42pm
Question Bears coach Marc Trestman about how Matt Forte can improve during training camp and he practically does a Kennedy impression. Ask not what Matt Forte can do for the Bears. Ask what the Bears can do to help their Pro Bowl running back top the best season of his career. ‘‘We continue to ask ourselves, ‘How can we help him?’ ’’ Trestman said this week at Olivet Nazarene University. ‘‘ ‘How can we find plays that we can allow him to use his talents?’ We’re working in that direction.’’
Forte had his best fantasy season under new coach Marc Trestman, who utilized Forte heavily as a receiver — he caught a career high 74 passes — while also feeding his star back the ball in the running game (289 carries, the second highest total of his career). Expect more of the same in 2014.
Brent Celek is the starter and that's not expected to change this year. In a way, Celek and Zach Ertz are playing two different positions. Kelly explained that Ertz [as well as James Casey] is being used as a "move" tight end in this offense. That is similar to the way Aaron Hernandez was deployed in New England -- as more of a "Joker" that lines up in various spots and is used primarily as a pass-catcher. Celek is more of the traditional "in-line" tight end where blocking is a bigger priority. Celek could very well end up with more snaps, but that doesn't mean that Ertz won't be featured prominently.
Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there.
Philly Mag's Sheil Kapadia... The pressing question: Will Chip Kelly lighten LeSean McCoy’s workload? On his way to setting the franchise record for rushing yards, McCoy led the NFL in carries (314) and touches (366). Only Chicago's Matt Forte played more snaps. The Eagles added Darren Sproles in the offseason. Does that mean they want to give McCoy more of a breather in 2014? The answer, as I see it, is no. McCoy often mentions how his running style lends itself to fewer big hits, and the numbers suggest there could be something to that. In the Eagles' final four regular season games, he piled up 519 yards and averaged 6.3 YPC. In the fourth quarters of games, he led the NFL with 441 yards and averaged 6.0 YPC, according to STATS, Inc. In other words, there were no signs that his production took a hit because of the heavy workload. McCoy is only 26 years old and the focal point of the Eagles' offense. Matching last year's number of touches would be no surprise. Assuming health, he's as close to a lock as there is to finish as one of the top three rushers in the NFL.
Due to the arrival of Darren Sproles and Jordan Matthews, and the expected emergence of Zach Ertz, we would be surprised if the Eagles didn't lighten McCoy's workload a bit. We currently have him projected for 337 touches, which represents an 8 percent drop in touches. He's still a top 3 RB in both PPR and standard formats.
Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 5:38pm
Eagles beat writer Sheil Kapadia was asked to come up with a couple possible surprises in the team's starting lineup: "It's difficult to come up with a second one, but I'll go with Zach Ertz. I know that won't "shock" anybody, but the TE situation is a fascinating one to monitor. We won't know until the season starts how much the offense misses DeSean Jackson. But if teams continue to play man coverage against the Eagles, and guys don't get open, Kelly will have to feature Ertz more. He's a superior option to Brent Celek in the passing game at this point. "If I'm putting money down, I still say Celek starts and plays more snaps - primarily because he's a much better run blocker. But the TE situation is one to keep an eye on."
For Ertz, snaps may be the only thing standing in the way of a breakout season. Ertz averaged 2.8-32-.56 over the final nine games of the season (including the Eagles' sole playoff game) and that included two goose eggs in Week 10 and Week 14. That equates to 6.6 fantasy points per game, which is what Martellus Bennett averaged as the #10 TE in fantasy football. With Jason Avant and DeSean Jackson gone, Ertz could play a lot in the slot, though the arrival of WR Jordan Matthews may limit Ertz’s snaps there.
Monday, July 14, 2014, 8:29pm
Bears RB Michael Ford must pass protect well and flash on special teams in order to keep his roster spot. He's a candidate to return kickoffs, and he had five special teams tackles last season as an undrafted rookie. On offense, he averaged 3.8 yards on 39 carries last preseason. "He has shown his speed," HC Marc Trestman said. "He has shown his ability to catch the ball. He has shown his ability to run in practices. I think we'll see a lot more as we move on, how he has adapted to our protections."
Monday, July 14, 2014, 8:26pm
Bears RB Matt Forte had 363 touches last season, the second most of his career. It was the first season since 2009 in which he had more than 300. As he approaches his 29th birthday in December, let's see whether the increased contact affects his power, explosiveness and endurance. In training camp and exhibition games, at least, it seems logical for the Bears to get Forte the work he needs but not a touch more. Besides, the backs behind Forte need repetitions to answer many questions. As is the norm with backups, those center on pass protection. RB KaDeem Carey commands the brightest spotlight. GM Phile Emery evaluates two criteria: toughness and reactive instincts for finding the correct defensive rusher. Carey "has shown that repetitively," Emery said after the Bears drafted him.
The Bears RB1 job still belongs to Forte, but it's a good sign Carey is gaining at least a little praise for his pass protection early on. With Michael Bush gone, Carey appears next in line for work if something were to happen to Forte. According to this story, he's considered a roster lock. Tony Fiammetta is considered a good bet while Michael Ford, Shaun Draughn, Jordan Lynch and Senorise Perry are competing for one spot.
Friday, July 11, 2014, 10:14pm
Buccaneers HC Lovie Smith has compared RB Charles Sims – as a type of player – to the Bears' Matt Forte, and draft analyst Rob Rang makes the same link. The author praises Sims' "impressive burst," "hand-eye coordination," "body control" and "soft mitts" and says those traits fit in well with the system new Offensive Coordination Jeff Tedford is installing in Tampa. The reason that Rang believes Sims could contribute significantly early on isn't necessarily positive, but it's a fair point: Josh McCown will need good protection up front to allow his crew of huge pass-catchers to get downfield, and it's not yet known how strong the Bucs' offensive line will be. Rang would not be surprised if Sims, who was seen as something of a head-scratcher of a pick in early May, looks like a steal instead a month or two into the season.
The arrival of Sims has taken a good amount of wind out of Doug Martin's sails, causing his ADP to slip into the 2nd/3rd rounds. This is a new regime, so Martin's role is far from safe, though we still see him as the lead back in Tampa.
Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 10:29am
Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall has rarely had problems on the football field since entering the NFL in 2006. At some points early in his career, though, it looked like there might be off-field issues that would stand in the way of prolonged success. Those have mostly faded into memory since Marshall arrived in Chicago and he told Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com that they won’t be popping up again in the future even though he knows that nothing will ever be perfect. “I found that interesting that there is a thought about me reverting back. But I always tell people that’s just part of the journey, especially for a young man given so much freedom, so much fame, so much fortune,” Marshall said. “That’s part of the journey, to make mistakes. But the problem is you make your mistakes in the public’s eye. People look at me like, ‘Is this an act?’ I know you believe in me, but some people will say, ‘Is it an act?’ or ‘It’s only going to last for so long.’ But I’m actually growing, every single day. This is the new me. This is who I am. So there isn’t any reverting back. But I do make mistakes. I’m pretty much still in the same exact situation. I just look at life differently and my approach is different. There’s some things out there I still need to work on.”
The story goes on to say Marshall has been an advocate for mental health issues in recent years and he’s trying to help former Dolphins teammate Davone Bess after Bess had a series of troubling incidents last year that have derailed his career. Marshall also talked about helping younger members of the Bears make their way into the professional ranks, something that didn’t seem like it would be part of Marshall’s portfolio a few years ago. From a fantasy angle, he's as safe a bet as they come at the position. He's currently ranked fourth among our WRs with an ADP of the early second round. We project him for 100 catches, 1,200-plus yards and 12 TDs.
WR Mike Evans now has just three weeks until the Buccaneers report for preseason training camp, even less until rookies are due back in town, but the first-round pick from Texas A&M is hard at work at getting himself in shape for the 2014 season. "Physically, I'm not in tip-top shape. I'm getting back into my game shape," said Evans, who is training in Miami with a group of players that includes Bears receiver Brandon Marshall. "As far as injury-wise, I feel good. I've been running, and I feel 100 percent." Evans missed much of his first month of practice with the Bucs with a hamstring injury suffered on the first day of voluntary minicamp on May 20. He was able to return in a limited capacity for the team's mandatory minicamp last month, and he expects to be fine when camp starts July 25 at One Buc Place. Evans is training for two weeks in Miami at Fit Speed Athletic Performance, and he said his focus is dropping "7 to 10 pounds" with a goal of playing at about 230 pounds this fall.
Evans looks likely to start opposite Vincent Jackson and could very well turn into a fantasy starter as a rookie, though we are generally less bullish on rookies than other fantasy sites. Still, Evans certainly has the opportunity necessary to make an impact. If he has a healthy and productive training camp, he'll move up our rankings.
Wednesday, July 2, 2014, 6:01pm
Before the draft, Mike Evans got compared to two current NFL wide receivers more than any others. Buccaneers teammate Vincent Jackson and the other was Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall have the same imposing size and impressive athletic ability that Evans showed while he was at Texas A&M, leading many to point to the duo as a sign of what Evans could become once he hit the NFL. Evans got to spend the spring working with Jackson and he’s spending the early part of his summer working with Marshall. Both men are training with Fit Speed Athletic Performance in Florida.
We have Evans ranked 48th, but as is the case with a lot of rookies, his ADP is high for his ranking. It currently sits in the 8th round while others ranked around him like Doug Baldwin, Briant Hartline and Dwayne Bowe, for example, are all the 12th round or later.
Monday, June 30, 2014, 8:34pm
Bears.com writer Larry Mayer answered a question about RB KaDeem Carey: Q: I thought running back KaDeem Carey was a steal in the fourth round of the draft. How many carries do you see him getting this year? A: That’s difficult to say, primarily because starter Matt Forte is such a versatile three-down back who’s capable of running inside and outside as well as catching passes. I know the coaching staff has a hard time taking Forte off the field, and who can blame them? Interestingly, the Bears’ backup running back got 112, 114 and 114 carries in Lovie Smith’s final three seasons as coach, but only 63 last year in Marc Trestman’s first season. With that being said, I think that Carey has the potential to be more productive than predecessors Chester Taylor (267 yards and three touchdowns in 2010), Marion Barber (422 yards and 6 TDs on 2011) and Michael Bush (411 yards and 5 TDs in 2012 and 197 yards and 3 TDs in 2013). But Carey must first prove that he can learn and execute pass-blocking assignments because protecting the quarterback is vital in Trestman’s offense. If you want me to guess, I’ll say that Carey will get 80 carries this season barring a serious injury to Forte, which breaks down to five per game.
It sounds like Mayer thinks Carey has the chance to play more of a role than Bush did last season. Carey seems like a guy to grab later in drafts as a potential handcuff to Forte, especially when you consider Forte will likely be one of the top-five RBs off the board later this summer. Of course there is some risk with drafting handcuffs and Carey may not get all of Forte's workload should Forte get hurt, but it's a situation worth monitoring if you plan to protect or draft Forte.
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