Bears

Fantasy Football: 11 waiver wire targets for Week 2

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Fantasy Football: 11 waiver wire targets for Week 2

The year of the tight end is upon us, you guys.

Tight ends exploded onto the scene in Week 1, with 22 total touchdowns as a position group.

It was so ridiculous that John "The Professor" Paschall (a lover of tight ends since the dawn of time) doesn't even want to talk about them anymore because TEs are "too mainstream."

Of the Top 20 fantasy scorers in Week 1, five (FIVE!!) were tight ends, including: Rob Gronkowski (No. 3), Austin Seferian-Jenkins (5), Tyler Eifert (13), Travis Kelce (14) and Jason Witten (20).

Thirteen different tight ends posted double-digit fantasy outputs and that total jumps to 18 if you look at PPR leagues.

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Heath Miller went for eight catches and 84 yards while Jordan Cameron posted four receptions for 73 yards and yet neither guy were in the Top 12 of TEs. If you told us before each week that our tight end would put up that kind of production, we'd be stoked.

As such, tight ends are dominating our Week 1 waiver pick ups.

Let's let Kelce take it away from here:

1. James Jones, WR, GB

Well that didn't take long, did it? One of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets returned to Green Bay less than a week before the season opener. Six days later he had caught two touchdown passes to go with 51 receiving yards. I don't think Jones' lightning-quick emergence dims the outlook on Randall Cobb (5/38/1) or Davante Adams (4/59/0) but it's apparent Jones is for real. Remember, he led the NFL in TD receptions (14) in 2012. He and Rodgers have chemistry, and the opportunity is clearly there. He should be this week's top waiver claim if you didn't grab him in the final rounds of your draft. - Mark Strotman

2. Terrance Williams, WR, DAL 

Jason Witten can't catch all of Tony Romo's passes. Williams flew under the radar during draft season but now he's in the spotlight with Dez Bryant's injury (which could be more severe than everyone initially believed). Williams will be a big time target machine with Tony Romo and should see a major increase in production. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

3. Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN

How is this guy only owned in 43 percent of leagues?? That's insane. We've been talking up Eifert all preseason and he's ready for his breakout. Talent has never been the question with the former Notre Dame star - it's always been about health and opportunity. Neither of those are an issue this season, as a monster Week 1 proves. He has the potential to be a Top 5 TE in 2015. (Tony Andracki)

4. Carson Palmer, QB, ARI

The Cardinals were so lost without Palmer last year when he went down with a knee injury. It was even worse for fantasy owners with Cardinals wide receivers because guys like Drew Stanton weren't able to take advantage of the talent Arizona had at skill positions. But now with Palmer back and healthy, those receivers should see a bump in production and more importantly so should Palmer. His great game against the Saints in Week 1 was no fluke. He's a solid veteran quarterback with a lot of good weapons around him and a head coach that loves big plays. Get him on your roster as your QB2 now. (Paschall)

5. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, TB

ASJ found his name on several "breakout" lists last season, but it looks like everybody was just year early on this raw, but uber-talented tight end. He was dominant against the Titans in Week 1, serving as really the only Bucs player worth a damn in fantasy. Just check out what he can do. A tight end is a rookie QB's best friend and it certainly looks like ASJ is here to stay. Get him on your rosters and in your lineups. He can easily finish as a Top 10-12 tight end this season. (Andracki)

6. Dion Lewis, RB, NE

It's hard to predict how Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will align his backfield each week, but if Week 1 was any indication then Lewis needs to be on your roster. Lewis gained 69 yards on 15 carries to go along with four receptions for 51 yards. He out-snapped every New England back by a large margin, which plays well into his favor with LeGarrette Blount returning from his one-game suspension in Week 2. Lewis won't get the volume of carries that Blount will receive going forward this season, but all signs point to him playing a similar passing down role that Shane Vereen excelled at during his time with the Patriots. (Scott Krinch)

7. Donte Moncrief, WR, IND

What a nice debut for the Colts' No. 3 wide receiver, who went for 6/46/1 on 11 targets in Indianapolis' loss to the Bills. With TY Hilton banged up Moncrief is in an excellent spot to post start-able numbers against the Jets next week. And even if Hilton weren't injured, Moncrief's Week 1 performance was another sign that first-rounder Phillip Dorsett won't be stealing many snaps from him going forward. He's a nice add, especially if Hilton misses any time the next few weeks. (Strotman)

8. Stevie Johnson, WR, SD

After three straight 1,000-yard receiving seasons from 2010-2012, Johnson sort of fell off the map the last two years. Looking to revive his career, Johnson signed with a pass-happy offense in San Diego this past offseason, and his addition is paying off immediate dividends for the Chargers. Johnson caught six passes (six targets) for 82 yards and a touchdown in San Diego's Week 1 victory. Firmly entrenched as the No. 2 wideout on an offense led by a Top 10 quarterback in Philip Rivers, Johnson is a must-add in all leagues this week. (Krinch)

9. Tyler Lockett, WR, SEA

Lockett displayed a knack for finding the end zone with three touchdowns during the preseason, and proved that he's no fluke by returning a punt 57 yards for a touchdown in Seattle's season opener. And it's not just the return game that Lockett provides value. He also hauled in all four passes thrown his way for 34 yards against the Rams. Lockett is already the No. 3 wideout on the Seahawks as he played in 70 percent of the team's offensive snaps against St. Louis, and with mediocre players like Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse in front of him, it won't be too long before the rookie speedster becomes Russell Wilson's go-to-receiver in Seattle. (Krinch)

10. Jordan Reed, TE, WSH

Targets, targets and more targets. Reed was getting a lot of looks from Kirk Cousins already and now he'll only get more with DeSean Jackson out. He's not a traditional tight end in that he's smaller but has some speed. Somebody has to catch passes from Kirk Cousins and Reed will be that guy. Go get him on the waiver wire. (Paschall)

11. Chris Johnson, RB, ARI

What a country we live in. Left for dead last year and this offseason, Chris Johnson signed with the Cardinals and less than a month later is the lead back. With Andre Ellington sidelined and David Johnson not ready to take on full-time responsibilities, Bruce Arians is ready to go with CJ2K as the lead back in Week 2 against the Bears and a defense still trying to find its identity under Vic Fangio. The Packers offense didn't post gaudy numbers in Chicago, but that was more a product of the Bears controlling time of possession than anything. Johnson will have a chance to run free in what should be another high-scoring game. Feel confident in using him as a flex with RB2 upside. (Strotman)

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.