Bears

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 10

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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 10

Hey everybody, welcome back to Start/Sit:

It's getting to that make-or-break time of year.

All those teams on the bubble of playoff spots are basically in a must-win situation each week. Anybody sitting at 7-2 or 8-1 should obviously feel confident about their team, but there is no time for let-up with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Sports coverage for the week here]

Which brings us to a simple point - don't run from your studs at this point in the season.

We got a question on Twitter heading into Week 10 asking who this owner should play (two receivers, two running backs, one flex) between Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller, Justin Forsett, Jordan Matthews, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs and Gary Barnidge.

Now's not the time to get too cute.

And if you're one of those teams that's already out of it, don't be a jerk and just forget about your lineup.

You could always play the spoiler role. It's important to dream big:

Anyways, on to this week's start/sit advice:

START

Davante Adams, WR, GB (vs. DET) - One of fantasy football's biggest busts - realistically the hype machine unfairly exploded when Jordy Nelson suffered a torn ACL - this season turned in an encouraging performance last week against the Panthers. His seven-catch, 93-yard performance against one of the league's best pass defenses means big things are in order at home against the Lions. The Packers' run game is a mess right now, meaning Aaron Rodgers will throw early and often. With James Jones' lovely disappearing act, Adams is in line for a solid afternoon. He's a FLEX play with upside. (Mark Strotman)

Antonio Andrews, RB, TEN (vs. CAR) - He's got the ideal situation of being the main back with the Titans but he's just got a brutal matchup against the Panthers. I doubt the Titans offense in general will be able to do much but especially stay away from Andrews, who should watch Marcus Mariota have to throw a lot. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Blake Bortles, QB, JAX (@ BAL) - The guy is one fire and he's got a heck of a matchup this week against the Ravens. It seems like Allen Hurns should be healthy which will help. Bortles put up good fantasy numbers against the Jets defense last week so what's stopping him this week against a much worse Ravens team? He's on a roll and you should keep him in your lineup. (Paschall)

Kirk Cousins, QB, WAS (vs. NO)I wouldn't normally advocate starting the 23rd-ranked fantasy quarterback, but I can't resist Cousins' matchup this week. The Redskins welcome the New Orleans Saints and their woeful pass defense to the nation's capital on Sunday. The Saints have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their last two games and have let quarterbacks accumulate 25.1 fantasy points per game this season. Cousins ain't Aaron Rodgers, but he's the best streaming option you'll find in Week 10. (Scott Krinch) 

Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN (vs. HOU) - It's truly remarkable this late into the season we have to discuss whether a healthy first-round pick should be started, but here we are. Hill's carries have decreased each of the last three weeks, including an eight-carry, 13-yard dud last week against the Seahawks. He'll get one more chance to redeem himself this week against a lackluster Texans defense and in a game that could feature the Bengals leading early. That means more carries for Hill, right? I think? Either way, you've got to run him out there this week. If he craps out again, at least you'll have an easy decision to sit him the next two weeks against Arizona and St. Louis. (Strotman)

Brandon LaFell, WR, NE (@ NYG)The veteran wideout hasn't reached the end zone this season (he missed the first five games due to injury), but he's inching closer to a must-start player for the rest of the season. LaFell turned his five catches in to a respectable 102 yards against the Washington Redskins last weekend. His 24 targets over the past three games is just one fewer than Patriots leading receiver Julian Edelman, a number that clearly shows that Tom Brady has trust in him. The Giants soft pass defense should leave a nice opening for La'Fell's first 2015 touchdown. (Krinch)

Peyton Manning, QB, DEN (vs. KC) - He's been better since the Broncos' Bye and now draws a cushy matchup with the Chiefs, who were giving up the most points to opposing QBs before they cleaned it up the last three weeks (only three TDs). Of course, those last three games came against Teddy Bridgewater, Landry Jones and Matthew Stafford, so not exactly fantastic competition. With so many QBs iffy plays this week either because of Byes (Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck), or bad matchups (Marcus Mariota, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith), Manning is a sneaky play this week. (Tony Andracki)

[MORE: Complete Fantasy Football coverage at Rotoworld]

Ryan Mathews, RB, PHI (vs. MIA) - Dan Campbell taking over the Dolphins was the best thing to happen to fantasy football this season. Not only because of the increased effectiveness of Miami's offensive players like Lamar Miller, Jarvis Landry and Ryan Tannehill, but also because the Dolphins defense has suddenly become Swiss cheese, allowing 24, 23 and 40 points to opposing running backs the last three weeks. The Eagles have suddenly become the offense we thought they could be earlier in the season, proving both Mathews and DeMarco Murray can be effective at the same time. Expect Mathews to take advantage of his touches again this week. (Andracki)

Jordan Reed, TE, WAS (vs. NO) - Reed moves like a receiver but technically plays tight end for the Redskins (and hopefully your fantasy team). He's been one of Cousins' favorite targets all year long and should thrive again this week against the putrid Saints defense. New Orleans just gave up three touchdowns to Delaine Walker and Anthony Fasano so what's to say they can slow down Jordan Reed? He will continue his roll this week so get him in all of your lineups. (Paschall)

James Starks, RB, GB (vs. DET)Starks has moved ahead of Lacy in the Packers' running back pecking order, which is either Green Bay's way of rewarding Starks for his recent play or it could be their way of trying to motivate Lacy. Regardless, Starks numbers in two of his last three games (25.7 vs. SD, 18.2 vs. CAR) can't be ignored. Even if it becomes a split backfield on Sunday, Starks should have a productive afternoon against the Lions, who are allowing 23.3 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs. (Krinch) 

Charcandrick West, RB, KC (@ DEN) - Charcandrick suddenly looks like a must-play each week just based on situation alone. He's not as good as Jamaal Charles, but in three games since Charles was injured, West has racked up 290 total yards and two scores, including back-to-back games of more than 100 yards and a touchdown. So much is made of the Broncos' defense, but they're right in the middle of the pack against fantasy RBs, so start West with confidence this week. It's not like he's got any true competition for touches with the Chiefs. (Andracki)

SIT

Travis Benjamin, WR, CLE (@ PIT) - Well, it was fun while it lasted. I personally thought we had a breakout star in Benjamin after he caught nine passes for 117 yards against the Broncos in Week 6. Since that game, Benjamin has totaled 10 receptions for 95 yards and no scores; in fact, he hasn't scored since Week 3. Josh McCown under center will help, and he has a nice matchup against the Steelers secondary. But this late in the season you need a confident lineup, and you shouldn't have any in Benjamin producing at this point. Maybe he gets back on track after a Week 11 bye. Or maybe he was a nice flash in the pan. (Strotman)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (vs. MIN) - This one was tough for me. Carr has been a revelation for the Raiders and appears to be a mainstay under center in Oakland. In his last three games, Carr has tossed 11 touchdowns to just one interception, moving into Top 10 fantasy quarterback status. I'm going to guess that streak ends (before he starts a new one in Detroit in Week 11) when the Raiders welcome the Vikings to the Bay Area this weekend. The Vikings are allowing a measly 14.5 points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season. Look for a different option at quarterback this week if you've got Carr on your roster. (Krinch)

Jay Cutler, QB, CHI (@ STL) - We talk a lot about the Broncos and Seahawks pass defense (as you can see in the video above and in my Palmer write-up below), but the Rams get no respect. In eight games this season, St. Louis has allowed five passing TDs. FIVE. That is absolutely nutty. They haven't allowed a tuddie through the air since Week 5 and have forced opposing QBs under 10 fantasy points in three games this season, including two of the last three contests. It doesn't matter how great Jay Cutler is playing for the Bears right now, there's a very slim chance of him having an actual decent fantasy day. (Andracki)

Vernon Davis, TE, DEN (vs. KC) - Not just yet. After seeing just one target in his Broncos debut, Davis should see more than the eight snaps he got last week when the Broncos play the Chiefs. But I'm still not confident using him in an important week for playoff contenders. I'm still confident Davis will be a difference maker down the stretch for owners who were smart enough to scoop him up. I just don't think the timing's right yet, anxious as you may be to deploy him. (Strotman)

Chris Johnson, RB, ARI (vs. SEA) - Johnson has been a nice comeback story and one of the better waiver wire pickups of the year for fantasy owners. But just because the Cardinals are coming off a bye doesn't mean that he's in for a big week. The Seahawks defense is known for the "Legion of Boom" but their run defense has been extremely stout this year, only allowing one running back to score a rushing touchdown against them (Jonathan Stewart). They don't exactly allow a lot of 100-yard rushers either. I just don't feel comfortable with Johnson in my lineup unless you're facing a desperate situation on your roster. (Paschall)

Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI (@ STL) - Nice "debut" eh? Yes, it wasn't Langford's first time on a NFL field but in his first extended look, Langford looked great....against the Chargers. Key word in that last sentence: Chargers. San Diego's defense is terrible and Langford did what he had to do against them. The Rams are far from a bad defense. Their defense line is so stout that I'm worried about the Bears being able to run the ball. The other issue is Ka'Deem Carey got more looks than I expected and that got me feeling somewhat uncomfortable about Langford's fantasy value going forward. If you got other options than Langford, go for it. (Paschall)

Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC (@ DEN) - Maclin has been a boom or bust fantasy player thus far in his first season with the Chiefs, which isn't very surprising considering he was the same type of player with the Eagles. Outside of Maclin, the Chiefs literally have zero options at wide receiver. And their Week 10 opponent, the Denver Broncos, have allowed just one touchdown to an opposing wideout this season. Yeah, I'd stay far away from Maclin in this one. (Krinch)

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (@ TB) - I've been wrong about McFadden before, but 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.' I promise if McFadden goes off this weekend I won't list him as a sit the rest of the season. The Cowboys are relying heavily on DMC with Matt Cassel throwing ducks out there. Eventually the volume of carries are going to take a toll on the injury-prone McFadden. If you see the Bucs on the schedule and think it's a great matchup, think again. Tampa Bay hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown since Sept. 27, a string of five games. (Krinch)

Carson Palmer, QB, ARI (@ SEA) - Palmer is still a Top 5 QB in most fantasy formats, even after a Week 9 Bye. But the Seahawks defense is so formidble, even Palmer is a tough start. The Seahawks are already a great pass defense (with zero TD passes allowed last two games and only three tuddies in the last six games), but they're even better at home. In three games in Seattle, the Seahawks have allowed QBs to throw just 535 yards and one TD. Sure, one of those games was the Jimmy Clausen-led disaster in Week 3, but the Seahawks are money no matter who they go up against. (Andracki)

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR (@ TEN) - Did you know in PPR leagues, the Titans boast the third-best defense against opposing running backs? And there's another important factor for why Stewart is on the "Sit" list: He's just not good. I won't even use a qualifier like "that" in front of good. He is not good. Period. End of story. We need to stop acting like Stewart is a must-start each week in fantasy just because of his high volume of carries (at least 20 in four straight games). He has just three touchdowns on the season and is averaging only 3.9 yards a carry. Oh yeah, and he has recorded just eight catches in eight games. Stay away. Far away. (Andracki)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (@ GB) - I'm about done waiting for the Lions offense to return to form. They looked dreadful in London and maybe a bye week does them good but I can't count on them this week. Tate especially worries me because of his numbers against the Packers. Last year in two games, he combined for eight catches, 96 yards but no touchdowns. He's also yet to top 100 yards receiving this year and only has one touchdown. If you have some other sleeper options on your roster, I might go with them over Tate. (Paschall)

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.