Bears

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4

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Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4

Why are all the quarterbacks getting hurt?

That's a question we've heard several times over the last 8-10 days and to be honest: we don't have an answer. It seems like an epidemic with Ben Roethlisberg, Drew Brees and Tony Romo - all Top 10 QBs - sidelined. Mix in Jay Cutler's injury and the inefectiveness of some top QB options like Andrew Luck, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewter and the quarterback position is an absolute mess.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Football coverage here]

That's why we have five QBs to target on the waiver wire heading into Week 4.

Remember: This is also the first week teams are on a bye.

1. Karlos Williams, RB, BUF

Williams has a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points in every game as a pro. What's not to like? The rookie certainly looks like a steal for the Bills as a fifth-round pick and he could be a steal for your fantasy team, as well. LeSean McCoy is clearly not healthy and there's talk of the Bills shutting him down for at least one week to get his hamstring healed. If that happens in Week 4, Williams suddenly becomes a borderline Top 10 running back with a great matchup against the Giants. Either way, he's absolutely worth owning in just about any format for his upside and situation. (Tony Andracki)

2. Tyrod Taylor, QB, BUF

How this guy is owned in only 44 percent of ESPN leagues is beyond me. I don't get it. He's currently the fifth-ranked fantasy QB, putting up back-to-back 24+ point games. Everybody knew he could run and now he's showing he can pass, too, with seven tuddies through the air in three games. He's not necessarily a must-start in every league and every format each week, but he's absolutely worth owning as at least a backup or a matchup play, especially with all the QBs out injured. (Andracki)

3. Joe Flacco, QB, BAL

Flacco has never been a top tier fantasy quarterback, but there's no reason why he should currently be sitting on the waiver wire in your league, especially with a plethora of injuries to starting quarterbacks and bye weeks upon us. Flacco has put together consecutive 20-point games and draws a brutal Steelers defense in Week 4. He's a must-start in Week 4. (Scott Krinch)

4. Andy Dalton, QB, CIN

I can't believe I'm hopping on the Dalton train but I am. There are a lot of injured quarterbacks out there and Dalton may be the best quarterback available on waivers. He's on fire to start the season, recording multi-TD games in all three starts so far. He's got his dominant receiver in AJ Green going and Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard are guys that have benefited from Dalton's success. While he may not go for almost 400 yards every week like he did last week he should be a quality QB2 option for you for the rest of the year. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

5. Rishard Matthews, WR, MIA

Sure, I may not have added him in a lot of my leagues last week but at least I told YOU to do that. Matthews already leads the Dolphins in touchdowns with three while guys like Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller and Jordan Cameron have zero. He's been the one surprising bright spot in an underwhelming Dolphins offense so far. For whatever reason, Ryan Tannehill looks to Matthews in the red zone and though he's second on the team in targets to Landry, he averages 16.4 YPC compared to Landry's 9.6. If you have a banged up receiver group, Matthews is a great pickup. (Paschall)

6. Derek Carr, QB, OAK

Here's another guy who absolutely needs to be owned, at least as a bye week fill-in or injury replacement. Carr has two straight games of multiple TDs, 300+ yards and 20+ fantasy points. Now he draws a great matchup against the Bears in Week 4. Keep in mind, you won't want to start him Week 5 against the awesome Broncos pass defense and the Raiders are on a bye in Week 6, so that is two weeks in a row where he can't help you. (Andracki)

[MORE - Fantasy Football: 12 waiver wire targets for Week 3]

7. Michael Vick, QB, PIT

OK, so his trial run didn't go so well on Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a nasty-looking injury in the third quarter. Vick entered the game, went 5-6 for 38 yards and fumbled once. Now he's got a short week to get ready for the 0-3 Ravens on Thursday, which doesn't make him a stellar fantasy play in Week 4. But look at the weapons Vick, 35, has around him. Le'Veon Bell is back, Antonio Brown hasn't slowed down one bit, Martavis Bryant will return from his suspension and the Steelers defense has been atrocious, giving the Pitt offense more time on the field. Vick has to stay out of his own way and let his weapons do what they do and he's going to return borderline-QB1 value the next four-to-six weeks with Big Ben out. Pick him up now to start him Week 5 on Monday night against the Chargers. (Mark Strotman)

8. Ty Montgomery, WR, GB

It's almost unfair how Ted Thompson finds wide receivers in the second and third rounds of drafts. He appears to have done it again with the addition of Montgomery, who in the last two games has caught all six of his targets for 51 yards and a score. Not huge numbers, and likely not fantasy-starting numbers, but Davante Adams re-injured his ankle early in Monday night's win over the Chiefs and Eddie Lacy is still banged up. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, it's worth owning as many Packers wide receivers as you can. Montgomery is locked in as the 4th WR on the depth chart, though that could change if Adams misses time. And if he does, Montgomery would be a sneaky WR3 play against an atrocious 49ers defense. To note, Montgomery has also fared well as a kick returner, ranking third in the NFL with a 31.5-yard average. He could break one soon and tally your squad some extra points. (Strotman)

9. Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL

No, he's not going to be stealing carries from Joseph Randle anytime soon, considering he has two carries this season, but if you're in a PPR league Dunbar needs to be on your roster. The fourth year running back out of North Texas hasn't found the end zone yet. However, he has registered 21 catches for 215 yards through three games, making him a Top 12 fantasy running back in 2015. He doesn't need to be a high priority claim on the wire this week, but if he passes through then go get him right away. (Krinch)

10. Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA 

All Rawls is right now is a handcuff to Marshawn Lynch, but a darn good one at that. When Lynch left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, all the rookie did was carry the ball 16 times for 104 yards, showing that same type of violent running that has made Lynch one of the best running backs in the league. Rawls has surpassed Fred Jackson on the depth chart, and with Lynch set to undergo an MRI, he's somebody you need to keep an eye on if he's available in your fantasy league. (Krinch)

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

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USA TODAY

Report: Bears could be a potential landing spot for Dolphins WR Jarvis Landry

The Bears are looking for an upgrade at wide receiver this offseason, and there may be one available.

The Dolphins used the franchise tag on wide receiver Jarvis Landry on Tuesday, in a move that many believe signals the team's desire to deal him instead of losing him in free agency for nothing.

Landry put up excellent numbers last season, catching 112 passes for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. He led the league in catches and was fourth in touchdown receptions but was just 17th in yards. His yards per reception ranked 108th of 139 qualifying players.

Still, it's no secret he'd be an upgrade for the Bears at wide receiver. Though they'll get Cam Meredith and Kevin White back from injury, the corps largely struggled and didn't give rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky much help.

Luckily, they may be interested in Landry, per NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.

"There are a couple teams that we should keep an eye on as far as a potential Jarvis Landry landing spot......the Chicago Bears are looking for receviers," he said.

Rapoport also mentioned the Titans, Panthers and Saints as options for Landry. The franchise tag will pay Landry about $16 million before he becomes a free agent in 2019 (or has the franchise tag used on him again).

 

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 Bears position grades: Management

2017 grade: D+

For these purposes, “management” encompasses the coaching staff and front office. We don’t need a lengthy re-litigation of the failures of the John Fox era, so briefly: The offense was unimaginative, predictable and unsuccessful; there were too many head-scratching coaching decisions, punctuated by that backfiring challenge flag against Green Bay; the defense was solid but not spectacular; special teams had plenty of highs (three touchdowns) and lows (Marcus Cooper’s gaffe against Pittsburgh, Connor Barth’s missed field goal against Detroit). Fox didn’t win enough games to justify a fourth year, even if he left the Bears in a better place than he found them back in 2015. But that 5-11 record drags the management grade down. 

But the larger thing we’re going to focus on here is the hits and misses for Ryan Pace in the 2017 league year. The hits: 

-- Drafting Mitchell Trubisky. Will this be a long-term success? That’s another question. But Pace hitched his future in Chicago to a quarterback last April. For a franchise that hasn’t had a “franchise” quarterback in ages, what more can you ask for? If Trubisky pans out, nobody should care that Pace traded up one spot -- effectively losing a third-round pick for his conviction in his guy -- to make the move. 

-- Moving quickly to hire Matt Nagy. As with Trubisky, Pace identified his guy and made sure he got him. The Bears hired Nagy just two days after the Kansas City Chiefs’ season ended with that playoff collapse against the Tennessee Titans, and with the Indianapolis Colts -- who eventually got burned by Josh McDaniels -- sniffing around Nagy, Pace made his move to hire a young, energetic, offensive-minded coach to pair with Trubisky. It’s tough to argue with any of the coaching hires made by Nagy, who had a head start on the competition: He retained defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and that entire defensive staff, kept Dave Ragone to be Trubisky’s quarterbacks coach and hired Mark Helfrich to bring some different concepts as offensive coordinator, and hired a special teams coach in Chris Tabor who must’ve been doing something right to survive seven years and a bunch of coaching changes in Cleveland. Like with Trubisky, it’s too early to say if Nagy will or won’t work out long-term, but it stands out that Pace had conviction in getting a franchise quarterback and a head coach who will make or break his tenure in Chicago. 

-- Drafting Tarik Cohen and Eddie Jackson in the fourth round. In Cohen, the Bears found an offensive spark (who was nonetheless under-utilized) who also was a key contributor on special teams. In Jackson, the Bears added a plug-and-play 16-game starter at safety who looks to have some upside after a solid rookie year. Both picks here were a triumph for the Bears’ amateur scouting department: Cohen wasn’t on everyone’s radar (special teams coach Chris Tabor, who previously was with the Browns, said Cohen’s name never came across his desk in Cleveland), while Jackson was coming off a broken leg that prematurely ended a solid career at Alabama. These were assuredly two hits. 

-- Signing Akiem Hicks to a four-year contract extension. The Bears rewarded Hicks a day before the season began; Hicks rewarded them with a Pro Bowl-caliber season (despite him only being a fourth alternate) and was the best player on the team in 2017. 

-- Signing Charles Leno to a four-year contract extension. Leno may not be an elite tackle, and still has some things to clean up in his game, but he’s 26 and his four-year, $37 million contract is the 14th-largest among left tackles (for what it’s worth, Bleacher Report ranked Leno as the 20th best left tackle in the NFL). The Bears believe Leno is still improving, and could turn that contract into a bargain in the future. But this is important to note, too: Players notice when a team rewards one of its own, especially when that guy is a well-respected former seventh-round draft pick. 

-- Signing Mark Sanchez to a one-year deal. This wasn’t a miss, certainly, and while it’s not much of a “hit,” Sanchez was exactly what the Bears wanted: A veteran mentor to Trubisky. While Sanchez was inactive for all 16 games, he and the No. 2 overall pick struck up a good relationship that makes him a candidate to return in 2018 as a true backup. 

-- Releasing Josh Sitton when he did. Whether or not the Bears offensive line is better off in 2018 is a different question, but file cutting Sitton on Feb. 20 -- when the team had until mid-March to make a decision on him -- as one of those things that gets noticed by players around the league. 

-- Announcing the expansion to Halas Hall. The plan has Pace’s fingerprints on it, and should help make the Bears a more attractive destination to free agents in 2018 and beyond. 

And now, for the misses:

-- Signing Mike Glennon. That completely bombed out. While the Bears weren’t hurting for cap space a year ago, and Glennon’s contract essentially was a one-year prove-it deal, his play was so poor that he was benched after only four games -- when the initial plan was for him to start the entire season to give Trubisky time to develop. The wheels came off for Glennon on his seventh pass in Week 2, when after completing his first six he threw the ball right to Tampa Bay’s Kwon Alexander for an interception from which he never seemed to recover. He’ll be cut sometime soon. 

-- Signing Markus Wheaton. After signing a two-year, $11 million deal in the spring, Wheaton struggled to stay healthy, with an appendectomy and finger injury limiting him in training camp and the early part of the season, and then a groin injury knocking out a few weeks in the middle of the season. When Wheaton was healthy, he was ineffective, catching only three of his 17 targets. That places him with eight other players since 1992 who’ve been targeted at least 15 times and and caught fewer than 20 percent of their targets. He’s another one of Pace’s 2017 free agent signings who’s likely to be cut. 

-- Signing Marcus Cooper. The Bears thought they were signing an ascending player who picked off four passes in 2016 and would be a better scheme fit in Chicago than he was in Arizona. Instead, Cooper was a liability when he was on the field and didn’t live up to his three-year, $16 million contract (with $8 million guaranteed). Dropping the ball before he got in the end zone Week 3 against Pittsburgh was a lowlight. The Bears can net $4.5 million in cap savings if he’s cut, per Spotrac. 

-- Signing Dion Sims. Sims isn’t as likely to be cut as Glennon and Wheaton, and even Cooper, but his poor production in the passing game (15 catches, 29 targets, 180 yards, one touchdown) puts a spotlight on how the Bears evaluate how he was as a run blocker in 2017. If that grade was high, the Bears could justify keeping him and not garnering a little more than $5.5 million in cap savings. If it was low, and the Bears are confident in Adam Shaheen’s ability to improve, then Sims could be cut as well. 

-- Signing Quintin Demps. The loss here was mitigated by the strong play of Adrian Amos, but Demps didn’t make much of an impact on the field before his Week 3 injury besides getting plowed over by Falcons tight end Austin Hooper in Week 1. He’d be a decent guy to have back as a reserve given his veteran leadership -- he was a captain in 2017 -- but given how well Amos and Eddie Jackson worked together last year, he’s unlikely to get his starting spot back in 2018. 

-- The wide receiver position as a whole. Kendall Wright led the Bears in receptions and yards, but his numbers would’ve looked a lot better had he been surrounded by better players. The cupboard was bare at this position, and after the worst-case scenario happened -- Cameron Meredith tearing his ACL in August, and Kevin White breaking his collarbone in Week 1 -- the Bears were left with an overmatched and underperforming group of receivers. For Trubisky’s sake, Pace has to work to make sure 2018 isn’t a repeat of 2017. 

-- The kicker position as a whole. Since we’re focusing solely on Pace’s 2017 moves, the decision to release Robbie Gould and replace him with Connor Barth doesn’t fall into this grade. But Barth had struggled with consistency prior to this season, and Roberto Aguayo didn’t provide much competition in his short-lived stint in training camp. The Bears eventually released Barth after he missed a game-tying kick against Detroit in November, then replaced him with a guy in Cairo Santos who was coming off an injury and, as it turned out, wasn’t completely healthy yet. So the Bears then had to move on from Santos and sign Mike Nugent to get them through the rest of the season. Better consistency from this position will be important to find in 2018. 

A couple moves fall into the neither hits nor misses category:

-- Drafting Adam Shaheen. Tight ends rarely make a significant impact as rookies, but Shaheen was only targeted 14 times last year. He did catch three touchdowns and flash some good chemistry with Trubisky before suffering an injury against Cincinnati that wound up ending his season. The gains he makes with a year of experience under his belt and during his first full offseason as a pro will be critical in determining his success in Year 2, and whether or not taking him 45th overall was a hit or a miss. 

-- Signing Prince Amukamara. This was neither good nor bad, with Amukamara playing solidly in coverage but not making enough plays on the ball and committing a few too many penalties. 

Pace still has decisions to make on a few other potential cuts, including right tackle Bobby Massie ($5.584 million cap savings per Spotrac) and linebackers Willie Young ($4.5 million cap savings) and Pernell McPhee ($7.075 million cap savings). Whether or not to place the franchise tag on Kyle Fuller and potentially pay him $15 million in 2018 is another call Pace has to make before the official end of the 2017 league year. 

But for Pace, did the hits out-weigh the misses in 2017? The Glennon signing imploded, but Trubisky showed signs of promise during an average season for a rookie quarterback. Cooper was a bust, but Fuller emerged as a potential long-term option to cover for that. The most glaring misses, then, were at wide receiver and tight end where, after injuries sapped those units of Cameron Meredith and Zach Miller, there weren’t reliable targets for Trubisky. 

We’ll probably need more time to determine if Pace’s “hits” on Trubisky and Nagy truly are “hits.” But if they are, the misses of 2017 -- Glennon, Wheaton, Cooper, etc. -- will be nothing more than amusing footnotes to a successful era of Bears football.