Bears

FanDuel Friday: Will the Force be with Lamar Miller this Sunday?

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FanDuel Friday: Will the Force be with Lamar Miller this Sunday?

The playoffs can be such a depressing time for some fantasy football owners as they play a lot of "what if" scenarios on what could've been this season.

Luckily for all of us, daily fantasy sports allows us to stay locked in to fantasy football regardless of how our season-long teams are doing. 

So let's jump into the holiday spirit and give you gifts of wisdom and maybe you'll be dabbing after Week 15.

Happy Holidays and good luck this week.

[MORE: Start/Sit Week 15]

Tony Andracki

When I'm doing a Tournament for low money (in this case a $1 buy-in with a chance to win up to $25K), I'm all about upside. Picking guys who most other owners won't pick with a chance to have a big game. I leave the safe bets for the 50/50 games.

With that in mind, Eric Ebron still looks like an interesting choice. He's not among the Top 20 tight ends and he's not a focal point of his team's offense just yet. But he's got all the talent in the world and he's going up against a porous Saints defense that allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. At $4,800 why not take a chance? Especially with a Monday night contest, he could go off for a big game and help me pick up ground on all the other owners whose lineups are done playing. The same rule of thumb applies to Stafford, though he's been a pretty solid play of late.

By finding a discount with Ebron, John Brown and Jeremy Maclin (both the Eagles and Ravens give up a TON of points to wide receivers), it allowed me to splurge on Julio Jones (against a weak Jags defense in what should be a rebound game for Julio) and Adrian Peterson (who always plays the Bears well). Lamar Miller is a bonus, as he should be able to carve up the Chargers defense this week.

Graham Gano and the Chiefs D/ST are both money plays of late and they each have another really good matchup this week, so it was a simple decision.

 

John "The Professor" Paschall

Sunday should be a day full of holiday cheer for the Cardinals offense as they face a bad Eagles defense. Carson Palmer is #FireEmoji and has me wanting to spend big on him at quarterback. 

So why didn't I spend on any of his receivers? I'm just too afraid of him spreading the ball around. I don't think there's one receiver option that's better than the others. Everyone is performing well.

Like Tony, I like Miller a lot this week. He didn't get a ton of touches last week but he really made the most of them. The Chargers defense also isn't one to stop a running back from knifing through them. West is a bit of a gamble this week with Spencer Ware possibly returning but I'm willing to take the chance on him.

Receivers are where I love to spend big. Nuk should feast on that ugly Colts secondary, and Megatron is a huge bounce back candidate on MNF. Why Sammy Watkins is so cheap, I don't know but he's Tyrod Taylor's favorite deep threat so he's in store for another big week. 

Miller is a great bargain this week against a Vikings defense that's very banged up. While Matt Hasselback is starting instead of Chaz Whitehurst (seriously the worst news of the week), I'm still thinking the Texans defense will clamp down on the Colts offense. 

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.