Bears

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 11

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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 11

Can you believe it? We're only three weeks away from the fantasy football playoffs.

If you picked up this guy on the waiver-wire last month you're probably well on your way to the playoffs.

And if you didn't? Well, you're probably feeling a little like Russell Westbrook did when he was big-timed by Norris Cole.

Ouch. 

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

START

Davante Adams, WR, GB (@ MIN) - Look, the Packers offense hasn't been sexy lately and it's been awful for fantasy owners. But the last two weeks have seen an old face emerge as a solid PPR option. Adams, once thought to have an enormous year in the absence of Jordy Nelson, has finally returned from his injury and has been productive (17 catches 172 yards in two games). Cobb, in comparison, has caught 15 passes in the past three weeks. The Vikings secondary is no joke, especially in Minnesota, but Adams seems to be heating up and is a sneaky good FLEX play this week. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Danny Amendola, WR, NE (vs. BUF) - Julian Edelman gone. Dion Lewis gone. Amendola is the next man up for Tom Brady and the Patriots. The veteran wideout has quietly been a decent flex option in PPR leagues this season, and his numbers are only going to get better as the No. 2 wideout in New England. Amendola has a nice machup against a mediocre Bills pass defense on Monday night, cementing himself as a must-start this week. (Scott Krinch)

Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK (@ DET) - One of the best late-round picks of the year, Crabtree is making himself a lot of money in Oakland. Against a poor Lions defense, there's no reason why he can't keep his comeback season going. He has more touchdowns this year and just as many 100-yard games as Amari Cooper. He's getting just as much love from Derek Carr as Cooper is. Keep him in your lineup this week. (Paschall)

Coby Fleener, TE, IND (@ ATL) - The shakeup with the Colts coaching staff seems to have gotten this offense going (though it's still early). The tight ends, in particular, seem to be in for a bigger role for the rest of the season, hinting at a major breakout coming for Fleener. He's by far the better option than Dwayne Allen and going up against a Falcons defense that has been gashed in the past by tight ends, makes him a start this week in your lineups. (Paschall)

Justin Forsett, RB, BAL (vs. STL) - I really expected more from Forsett this season. Not that his Top 15 running back ranking is bad, but after a breakout 2014 campaign Forsett has only rushed for 100-plus yards in two games this year. Regardless of past performances, Forsett draws a Rams defense which has been gashed by opposing running backs in back-to-back contests. I actually trust offensive coordinator Marc Trestman to get Forsett involved early and often in Week 11. (Krinch) 

Stevie Johnson, WR, SD (vs. KC) - Why not? You might have heard Keenan Allen is done for the season, so Johnson is a safe bet to get a ton of targets and should cash in against a Chiefs team that allows the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers. Johnson is something of a boom-or-bust play because owners don't trust him just yet, but they will after this week. (Tony Andracki)

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (@ MIA) - McFadden has almost no competition now and even when he's not productive, he's still getting a ton of touches (17 carries, four targets despite gaining just 58 total yards). The Dolphins have been absolutely atrocious against running backs since Dan Campbell took over as head coach, allowing 141 fantasy points to RBs in PPR leagues over the last four games. McFadden should be a good bet this week. (Andracki)

[MORE: Complete Fantasy Football coverage at Rotoworld]

Tony Romo, QB, DAL (@ MIA) - In case you couldn't tell, I'm all in on playing guys going up against the Dolphins. Miami's D is pretty awful right now and the Cowboys are in desperation mode, so will need to rely upon Romo's right arm to keep their playoff hopes alive. Expect Romo to throw early and often in his return to the lineup. (Andracki)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (vs. OAK) - Don't look now but Stafford is slowly climbing back into a must-start fantasy quarterback. The much-maligned Lions signal-caller has registered 111 total points in his last four games. Stafford and company welcome to Ford Field a Raiders defense that hasn't been able to slow down opposing quarterbacks lately. Start Stafford with confidence. (Krinch) 

SIT

Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (@ ARI) - The real Andy Dalton showed up last Monday and it wasn't pretty. As J.J. Watt put it, the Texans made the "'Red Rifle' look like a Red Ryder BB gun" as Dalton had his lowest output (10 fantasy points) this season. And it won't get any easier for Dalton against a Top 10 defense in the Arizona Cardinals this weekend. Check your wire (Jay Cutler, Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor) for better options. (Krinch)

Eric Decker, WR, NYJ (@ HOU) - Decker has scored in all but one game this season in which he has taken the field, and in the game he didn't find the endzone, he still finished with six catches for 94 yards. He's been maybe the most consistent wide receiver in the game, but this could be his first "off" week. The Texans defense has been playing well and over the last two games, they've allowed just 21 catches for 189 yards and no scores to receivers. Do you really believe Decker will score every week? Can't happen, won't happen. (Andracki)

Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN (@ ARI) - Eifert has been a stud this season, a bonafide Top 5 tight end who has flashed the potential to be the best fantasy option at the position behind Rob Gronkowski. But his value is almost completely touchdown-driven right now. The 25-year-old is on pace for just 818 yards, but has 9 TDs in 8 games played. The problem is, it's unsustainable. Eifert has caught eight of his nine end zone targets, by far the highest rate in the NFL. That simply can't stay that way. And look what happens when he doesn't score (three catches for 26 yards last week). Throw in the matchup (the Cardinals a Top 5 team at limiting opposing TEs) and I'm staying away from Eifert if I can this week. (Andracki)

T.Y. Hilton, WR, IND (@ ATL) - There are so many things working against Hilton this week. Matt Hasselbeck is starting instead of Andrew Luck. Hilton himself has been completely unreliable in fantasy this season, with really only two good games. And the Falcons have somehow allowed only three TDs to opposing WRs all season. If you have any other options at all, go with them over Hilton. (Andracki)

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU (vs. NYJ) - This one is more for the DFS players out there because it's pretty impossible to sit one of the top fantasy players at this point in the season. But Hopkins looks to have his bags packed for Revis Island. Not only is Revis a big issue for Hopkins, but having T.J. Yates throw you passes won't help either. Again, he's worth the risk in your standard fantasy leagues but I'm staying far away from him in DFS lineups. (Paschall)

James Jones, WR, GB (@ MIN) - While Adams (as mentioned above) has started to heat up for the Packers, Jones has cooled off dramatically. The past three games, Jones has totaled three catches for 59 yards. It seems like he's seen less looks lately with Adams back in the fold. Jones isn't start worthy this week and is shaky going forward. (Paschall)

Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA (vs. DAL) - Look. If you've got Jarvis Landry on your roster there's a good chance you're going to start him most weeks. But as a Landry owner in a few leagues I'm approaching this match with much caution. The targets may be there, but Landry only has three receiving touchdowns this season. Plus, the Cowboys have allowed just two total touchdowns to opposing receivers since Week 3. Don't expect much if you start Landry. (Krinch)

Doug Martin, RB, TB (@ PHI) - He's had a very nice bounce back year but two things scare me about him this week. Martin has really struggled lately, failing to find the end zone the past three weeks or go over 100 yards rushing. The Eagles defense has only given up one rushing touchdown to a running back this year. It's not going to turn around this week for Martin. (Paschall)

LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF (@ NE) - Despite dealing with multiple injuries, McCoy has surprised me with consecutive 100-yard-plus rushing games. He may not be the "Shady" of old, but he's given his fantasy owners a late season boost. Regardless of his recent success I'm parking McCoy on my bench this week. The Patrots have allowed just one rushing touchdown since Week 2 and will game plan around shutting down the Bills running game. (Krinch)

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive backs

2017 Bears position grades: Defensive backs

2017 grade: B-

Level of need: High

Decisions to be made on: Kyle Fuller (free agent), Prince Amukamara (free agent), Marcus Cooper (contract), Sherrick McManis (free agent), Bryce Callahan (restricted free agent), Quintin Demps (contract)

Possible free agent targets: Trumaine Johnson, Malcolm Butler, Bashaud Breeland, E.J. Gaines, Rashaad Melvin, Robert McClain, Darrelle Revis

There’s a wide spectrum of scenarios for the Bears at cornerback, ranging from keeping the status quo to blowing the whole thing up, and everything in between. Safety is far more stable, with Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson proving to be a reliable pairing, so that’s set for 2018.

Let’s start with one end of that cornerback spectrum: The Bears keep the top of this unit intact. That means, No. 1, retaining Kyle Fuller via the franchise tag and/or a long-term contract. No. 2, it means bringing back Prince Amukamara, who didn’t record an interception and committed a few too many penalties, but otherwise was a fine enough cover corner. No. 3, it means keeping restricted free agent Bryce Callahan as the team’s No. 1 slot corner.

On paper, this doesn’t seem like an altogether bad option. The Bears weren’t spectacular at cornerback in 2017, but the position was a little better than average, which isn’t the worst place to be for a single unit. Couple with solid play from the safeties and the Bears’ defensive backs were overall a decent enough group. Outside of Marcus Cooper -- who is a candidate to be cut for cap savings -- the Bears may not need to make wholesale changes to this group.

That, though, is a rosier look at this unit. The Bears can certainly improve the personnel in it with a healthy amount of cap space and a strong crop of free agent cornerbacks about to hit the market. Keeping Fuller and then signing a top-tier player like Trumaine Johnson or Malcolm Butler would upgrade this group, as would bringing back Fuller and Amukamara but then using a high draft pick on a player like Ohio State’s Denzel Ward.

Unless the Bears sign two big-time cornerbacks -- i.e. Fuller and Johnson, or even a guy like Brashaud Breeland or E.J. Gaines -- it would seem reasonable for them to use a first or second-round pick on a cornerback in an effort to find a longer-term solution at the position. That doesn’t mean the Bears would absolutely have to go that route, especially with other needs at wide receiver, guard and outside linebacker.

But here’s another thought: It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Bears are able to sign a combination of two top cornerbacks in free agency. With plenty of cap space top-end free agents lacking at wide receiver and outside linebacker/edge rusher, could Pace allocate a good chunk of that money to, say, tagging Fuller and making runs at Johnson, Butler and/or Breeland? 2018 looks to be a good year to be aggressive in the free agent cornerback market, and that could play into the Bears’ strategy well.

Before we finish, we should carve out some space for Amos and Jackson. Pro Football Focus isn’t the only outlet that’s given Amos high marks -- Bleacher Report’s NFL1000 ranked him as the No. 1 free safety in the league, too. Jackson came in at No. 19 in B/R’s strong safety rankings, which is pretty solid for a fourth-round rookie.

But the larger point here isn’t exactly where Amos and Jackson are in outside evaluations -- it’s that, tangibly, the pair played well off each other on a consistent basis last year. Seeing as Amos didn’t enter the Bears’ starting lineup until Week 4 -- after Quintin Demps suffered a season-ending broken forearm against Pittsburgh -- how quickly and successfully he and Jackson meshed was one of the more impressive developments for the Bears’ 2017 defense. Amos needs to make more plays on the ball and Jackson has some things to clean up, but the Bears enter the 2018 league year not needing to address their safety position. That’s a good place to be for a team with other significant needs.

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.