Bears

FanDuel Friday: Raiders, Bears provide great DFS value

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FanDuel Friday: Raiders, Bears provide great DFS value

Week 4 means bye weeks have finally returned to the NFL but it also welcomes our first London game of the year!

The game is already pretty exciting considering we've had Leonard Williams fall asleep in a meeting with a sleep therapist and the Jets bring 350 (!) rolls of toilet paper with them. 

After hearing the news, we added British toilet paper to our sit list in our Start/Sit for the week. 

But while fantasy owners will miss Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski this week, there are actually a lot of juicy matchups of high-powered offenses going up against weaker defenses.

[MORE: Fantasy Football Start/Sit for Week 4

One particular matchup that has caught the eyes of CSN Fantasy is the one right at home in Chicago as the Bears welcome the Raiders, who sport a suddenly electric offense. 

Check out our lineups for the week down below and as always, good luck.

John "The Professor" Paschall

Carr is clicking with his receivers and the Bears defense is reeling. Not like Jared Allen and Jon Bostic were big pieces to the defense, but taking those guys out certainly doesn't help that unit that already gives up a ton of points through the air. 

Conversely, whether it is Jay Cutler or Jimmy Clausen starting for the Bears, expect them to run the ball a lot with Forte. The Raiders are also pretty bad at covering running backs out of the backfield. 

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Football coverage here]

Williams has an ideal scenario heading into Sunday with the Bills backfield all to himself. In his short time in the lineup, he's impressed immensely and should do well against an average Giants defense. 

I explained in the video above why I'm high on Jones (who isn't) and Ginn Jr. this week, and Ginn Jr.'s price tag allows me to go after another big target like Green.

I'm not sure why Bennett is priced as low as he is because he's a steal at $5,500. The Raiders are well-known to be awful at covering tight ends. 

Michael Smith

I really like the Packers offense this week against a 49ers defense which is ranked in the bottom third of the league in most defensive categories. I think you can easily pick either the Packers passing or running game to spend up on, but I chose to target the passing attack because of Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers is locked in right now and should have similar success to Ben Roethlisberger and Carson Palmer the past two weeks. I like pairing up Rodgers with Randall Cobb, who plays the slot position where Larry Fitzgerald caught two touchdowns last week. Davante Adams is expected to miss this game, so James Jones should see a high volume of targets as he did on Monday night versus the Chiefs. My other wideout is DeAndre Hopkins who is averaging 13 targets a game, and will be depended on heavily to keep pace with Julio Jones and the Falcons.

Last week was another example of why you don’t have to spend up on running backs to win a big tournament, which is a strategy I copied this week. LeSean McCoy is expected to be out, which leaves impressive rookie Karlos Williams with a lot of carries and little depth behind him. And finally, what lineup would be complete without somehow finding a way to take advantage of the dismal Chicago Bears. The Raiders finally decided to feature Latavius Murray with a career high 26 carries for 139 yards with a touchdown rushing and receiving. I think those numbers are very achievable against a Bears defense which is in the middle of a yard sale.

Tony Andracki

A lot of times, I start my daily football lineups in sort of a reverse order - going defense, kicker and tight end first. It helps me feel a lot better about going over-budget with the skill position players. On this team, I found a great bargain in the Colts defense, which saves me $900 over the top D/ST (Seattle) and the Colts have a great matchup at home against the Jags. For kicker, McManus is near the top, but I trust in the Broncos offense to move the ball, but not necessarily get in the end zone against a solid Vikings D. I'm banking on Peyton and Co. having to settle for a lot of field goals. At tight end, Bennett might be the top steal out there at only $5,500, as I profiled his fantastic matchup against the Raiders in this week's Start/Sit. 
 
I also found a price-saver in Derek Carr and a solid matchup against the Bears after back-to-back weeks of 300+ yards and multiple TDs for the sophomore. Those savings helped me go big with WR, securing ODB and Randall Cobb. Pierre Garcon is cheap ($6,100) and even if DeSean Jackson plays, Garcon is still a solid option. Gore and Murray are middle of the road in terms of price tag and both should have good games against some shaky defenses. 

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 Bears position grades: Inside Linebacker

2017 grade: B+

Level of need: Low

Decisions to be made on: Christian Jones (free agent), John Timu (free agent), Jonathan Anderson (free agent); Jerrell Freeman has reportedly been cut

Possible free agent targets: Demario Davis, Preston Brown, Anthony Hitchens, Avery Williamson, Navorro Bowman, Derrick Johnson

How the Bears rate Nick Kwiatkoski will be the key to figuring out what this unit will look like in 2018. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio thought Kwiatkoski finished last season strong, but strong enough to rely on him in 2018 as the starter next to Danny Trevathan?

The thing with the Bears’ inside linebackers, though: Trevathan makes whoever is playing next to him better. The problem is Trevathan hasn’t been able to stay on the field — he missed time in 2017 with a calf injury and a one-game suspension, and missed half of 2016 after rupturing his Achilles’. Trevathan hasn’t played a full 16-game season since 2013, so durability is an issue for the soon-to-be 28-year-old.

So that leads to this question: Do the Bears need to find someone in free agency, regardless of how they value Kwiatkoski, who’s also missed time due to injuries in his first two years in the league?

Free agency could provide a few options. Demario Davis had a career high 97 tackles for the New York Jets last year and has never missed a game as a pro. Preston Brown had some decent production in Buffalo and also hasn’t missed a game since being drafted in 2014. Avery Williamson may not be a world-beater but has only missed one game in his four years in the NFL.

The Bears could also opt for someone who fits more of a rotational mold, like Dallas’ Anthony Hitchens, or try to lure a veteran linebacker like Navorro Bowman (who played for Vic Fangio in San Francisco) or Derrick Johnson (who Matt Nagy knows from his Kansas City days) to play next to Trevathan and/or Kwiatkoski.

The Bears could opt to keep the status quo and re-sign Christian Jones and John Timu for depth, and enter 2018 with Kwiatkoski and Trevathan as the team’s starters (Jerrell Freeman, who suffered a season-ending injury and then was hit with his second PED suspension in as many years, was cut on Tuesday). Signing a starting-caliber free agent isn’t out of the question, either, but there is a third option for the Bears if they appear to stand pat in free agency: Draft an inside linebacker in April. If that’s the route they go, Georgia’s Roquan Smith could be the guy. But again, those more pressing needs at other positions could mean the Bears don’t burn a first-round pick on an inside linebacker.

With Josh Sitton on his way out, what’s next for the Bears’ offensive line?

With Josh Sitton on his way out, what’s next for the Bears’ offensive line?

The first major move of Ryan Pace’s 2018 offseason hit on Tuesday, as NFL Network reported the Bears will not exercise Josh Sitton’s $8 million option for 2018. 

The move accomplishes two things for the Bears: 1) It frees up about $8 million in cap space and 2) Removes a veteran from the offensive line and creates a hole to fill, presumably by a younger free agent or draft pick. 

The 31-year-old Sitton signed a three-year deal with the Bears after Green Bay cut him just before the 2016 season, and was a Pro Bowler his first year in Chicago. Sitton played 26 of 32 games in two years with the Bears, but him being on the wrong side of 30 was likely the biggest factor here. If the Bears saw his skills eroding, releasing him now and netting the cap savings while going younger at the position does make sense. 

“Going younger” doesn’t guarantee the Bears will draft Notre Dame brawler Quenton Nelson, though that did become a greater possibility with Tuesday’s move. Nelson might be one of the two or three best offensive players in this year’s draft, and offensive line coach Harry Hiestand knows him well from the four years they spent together at Notre Dame. 

There’s a natural fit there, of course, but a few reasons to slow the Nelson-to-Chicago hype train: Would he even make it to No. 8? Or if he’s there, is taking a guard that high worth it when the Bears have needs at wide receiver, outside linebacker and cornerback? Still, the thought of Nelson — who absolutely dominated at Notre Dame — pairing with Hiestand again is tantalizing, and Nelson very well could step into any team’s starting lineup and be an immediate Pro Bowler as a rookie. 

If the Bears go younger in free agency, Matt Nagy knows 26-year-old guard Zach Fulton (No. 25 in Bleacher Report’s guard rankings) well from their time in Kansas City. Fulton — a Homewood-Flossmoor alum — has the flexibility to play both guard positions and center, which could open the door for Cody Whitehair to be moved to left guard, the position he was initially drafted to play (though the Bears do value him highly as a center, and keeping him at one position would benefit him as opposed to moving him around the line again). There are some other guys out there — like Tennessee’s Josh Kline or New York’s Justin Pugh — that could wind up costing more than Fulton in free agency. 

Or the Bears could look draft an offensive lineman after the first round, perhaps like Ohio State’s Billy Price, Georgia’s Isaiah Wynn or UTEP’s Will Hernandez. How the Bears evaluate guards at the NFL Combine next week will play an important role in how they go about replacing Sitton. 

The trickle-down effect of releasing Sitton will impact more than the offensive line, too. Freeing up his $8 million in cap space -- which wasn't a guarantee, unlike cutting Jerrell Freeman and, at some point, Mike Glennon -- could go toward paying Kyle Fuller, or another top cornerback, or a top wide receiver, or some combination of players at those positions (as well as outside linebacker). The Bears were already in a healthy place cap-wise; that just got healthier on Tuesday.