Bears

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 3

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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 3

The fantasy football season is underway, and if you've started the year 0-2 just remember teams like the Seahawks, Colts and Ravens - playoff contenders - are, too.

Then again, so are the Bears.

OK, so 0-2 isn't the best place to be. But an 0-3 start? That'll have you looking at your roster like DeMarco Murray at Sam Bradford:

But that's why we're here to help. If you've been punished by injuries - Dez Bryant and Tony Romo have been the season's earliest casualties - or are still waiting for your early-round picks to show up - C.J. Anderson and Demaryius Thomas can get going whenever they'd like - your starting lineup becomes more important ever. That's why we've picked out 12 players for you to consider getting into your lineup and 12 others who should ride the pine in Week 3.

[RELATED: Fantasy Football Podcast - Week 2 upsets and other disappointments]

If you've got specific questions, drop us a question on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Without further adieu, let's get into it:

START

John Brown, WR, ARI (vs. SF) - Boy, that Cardinals offense is hummin. Fantasy owners are thrilled to see Carson Palmer healthy because he's making the top options in that offense look good on your team. Larry Fitzgerald is coming off a career game and I don't think he can replicate it the next week. Brown should get a lot more looks at home against a 49ers defense and his game-changing speed should attract Palmer's eyes on some big plays. This should be Brown's breakout week. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Charles Clay, TE, BUF (@ MIA) - Call this the revenge game. Every player wants to do well against his former team and Clay will be no different this Sunday. In a week that has a lot of not-so-great tight end matchups or injury situations, Clay is a nice play (yes, I know that rhymes). Give him a spot start against this shaky secondary. (Professor)

Jared Cook, TE, STL (vs. PIT) - Look. He is no Gronk or Travis Kelce, but if you're looking for a plug and play tight end in Week 3, look no further than Cook. Why? The Steelers literally can't cover a tight end. They allowed four combined touchdowns to the Patriots in Week 1 and followed up that weak performance by letting Vernon Davis haul in five passes for 62 yards. If you're chasing a tight end touchdown, Cook is your guy this weekend. (Scott Krinch)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (vs. OAK) - Fantasy relevance in Cleveland? Fantasy relevance in Cleveland. Crowell, who was slept on in most fantasy drafts a few weeks ago, looked good against the Titans in Week 2, racking up 72 yards on just 15 carries and a score. The number of carries weren't great, but they were three more than Duke Johnson, who only rushed for 43 yards on his 12 attempts. Now Josh McCown is back, and against a subpar Raiders rush defense it looks like a good time to roll with Crowell. Johnson is going to hang around for the time being, but this is still Crowell's job to lose. He's a fine flex play this week. (Mark Strotman)

Justin Forsett, RB, BAL (vs. CIN) - The Bengals are susceptible to plenty of fantasy production coming through the air out of the backfield if the first two weeks are any indication. Forsett is a solid receiver and he and the Ravens need to get back on track offensively. I'm betting it comes this week. (Tony Andracki)

Andre Johnson, WR, IND (@ TEN) - This passing offense has to break out at some point, right? Johnson has looked downright awful through two weeks, catching seven of 17 targets for just 51 yards and no scores. The perfect remedy for that? An 0-2 start and a date with the miserable Titans secondary. You'll find it to be a trend in this week's start/sit, but we're really high on the Colts passing attack busting out in a big way. Johnson has 10 touchdowns in 22 career games against the Titans, the most against any opponent he's faced. That trend continues, as the 34-year-old veteran is this week's version of Larry Fitzgerald and has himself a big day. Get him in your lineup as a fine flex play. (Strotman)

[MORE: Get more Fantasy Football coverage here]

David Johnson, RB, ARI (vs. SF) - In the preseason, Johnson was a nice stash. Week 1 he proved to be a true home-run hitter, scampering 55 yards for a score on his first touch in the NFL. In Week 2 we saw even more flashes of brilliance, as he took the opening kick 108 yards for a score and picked up a second touchdown as part of a 42-yard rushing afternoon. With Andre Ellington on the bench for one more week, now's the time to cash in on Johnson's ability to find the end zone. Squaring off against a Niners team that was absolutely gashed in Week 2 against the Steelers, Johnson may not earn the volume numbers, but he has the upside to explode on one or two touches. He's an excellent flex play with RB2 upside this week. This could be his most valuable week the rest of the season. (Strotman)

Dion Lewis, RB, NE (vs. JAX) - Oh you thought Lewis was going into Bill Belichick's doghouse after fumbling in Week 2? It's cool, I thought the same thing. Luckily for Lewis and his owners, the Patriots coaching staff ignored the turnover and kept feeding him the rock. Through two games, Lewis is the NFL's No. 5 fantasy running back in terms of points scored. He's playing in 85 percent of snaps (even with LeGarrette Blount back) and appears to have enough talent to return, at worst, RB2-type numbers his season. Oh and he's playing the Jaguars on Sunday. Need I say more? (Krinch)

Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI (@ NYJ) - The Eagles have been horrendously disappointing this season in both real life and fantasy. The only thing saving Matthews from being disappointing himself has been garbage time production. But he has been productive and that's all that matters. He should have another good game again this week going up against a Jets team that is only in the middle of the pack at limiting WR fantasy points. Matthews is ranked as the No. 22 WR for Week 3 by ESPN, but he should be higher. (Andracki)

Donte Moncrief, WR, IND (@ TEN) - Moncrief showed the nation how talented he is against the Jets in a game that was pretty ugly all-around for the Colts. Andrew Luck can't afford another bad game and he shouldn't have one against this Titans defense. With T.Y. Hilton not 100 percent after a short week, Moncrief could be the beneficiary of a desperate Colts offense. He's absolutely worth the start. (Professor)

Carson Palmer, QB, ARI (vs. SF) - Yes, we love the Cardinals offense this week. As John and I discussed in studio, Palmer has been underrated, but that needs to change. He's a Top 10 QB this season, he has plenty of weapons and he has another solid matchup this week against a Niners defense that clearly can't find any consistency right now. (Andracki)

Terrance Williams, WR, DAL (vs. ATL) - Would you look at that. In his first game as the Cowboys' No. 1 wideout since Dez Bryant broke a bone in his foot, Williams had five receptions on seven targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. I understand that Brandon Weeden is now his quarterback and that is never good for anybody, but Dallas literally has nobody else at wide receiver right now. In Week 3 Williams draws the Falcons secondary, who are ranked in the middle of the pack against opposing receivers. I'm expecting them to drop down the ranks as the season goes on, especially after Williams torches them. (Krinch)

 

SIT

Keenan Allen, WR, SD (@ MIN) - After a monster Week 1 (15 rec, 166 yds), Allen had just two catches for 16 yards and lost a fumble in Week 2. That kind of inconsistency just kills in fantasy and now Allen goes up against an underrated Vikings defense that is sixth in the league at limiting opposing WRs through the first two weeks (Andracki)

Brandin Cooks, WR, NO (@ CAR) - Have the Saints come marching in yet? I was extremely high on him coming into this year, thinking he could be a low-end WR1 but that hasn't panned out yet. Part of it is Drew Brees being hurt but the other part is teams likely trying to take Cooks out of the equation because he's the best talent the Saints have on offense. The Panthers are really good at taking away your best receiving target and with Brees possibly being out (and certainly nowhere near 100 percent) I'm staying away from Cooks this week. (Professor)

Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL (@DAL) - Hey look! Tevin Coleman is hurt and Freeman has the backfield all to himself. While I'm sure Freeman owners are excited about that, they can't be excited about his matchup against an underrated Cowboys defense. They just don't give up a lot of yards on the ground (ask DeMarco Murray that). The Falcons offensive line also isn't elite enough to open up holes all day for Freeman so unfortunately, he should remain on your bench even though he will get the majority of the touches. (Professor)

Frank Gore, RB, IND (@ TEN) - Yes, there are more reasons to have Gore on your bench other than that hilarious goal-line fumble in the third quarter last Monday night. Although that sort of capped off a second straight average performance for Gore, I still like his outlook this season. I'm just not sure it's the right play this week against the Titans. If you read up on Andre Johnson's or Donte Moncrief's "start" write-up, we're predicting Andrew Luck to break out in a big way in Week 3. Simply put, one of the league's best quarterbacks is due for a gigantic performance. It should come against a defense that allowed Johnny Manziel a 133.9 passer rating. That'll mean fewer touches for Gore, who has just three receptions in two games. If you don't have a better option, start Gore. Just be aware Sunday will belong to Luck and the receivers. (Strotman)

Melvin Gordon, RB, SD (@ MIN) - As you can tell, I'm not a big fan of the Chargers this week. The Vikings defense is better than its shown the first two weeks of the season and Gordon has been disappointing thus far. Danny Woodhead is vulturing all kinds of fantasy production from Gordon and as a result, the rookie hasn't been a must-start. You should avoid him this week, too. (Andracki) 

Mark Ingram, RB, NO (@ CAR) - I've been looking for the right time to sit Ingram and Week 3 seems perfect for it. Before the season started I didn't hold back my disdain for the Saints running back. Outside of a three-game stretch in 2014, his numbers have been mediocre at best. Through two games he's averaging just over 10 points per game, which isn't bad for a flex player, but it isn't good for owners who drafted him in the second round. Expect that number to dip after Sunday's game against the Panthers goes final. Carolina hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown in 2015. I'm guessing that trend continues. (Krinch)

Charles Johnson, WR, MIN (vs. SD) - Raise your hand if you reached on Cordarrelle Patterson in 2014. Now raise your hand if you did the same with Johnson in 2015. Maybe you should stay away from any Vikings player not named Adrian Peterson. I know I will. It's not time to drop Johnson yet, but there's definitely a major cause for concern. So far, Johnson has caught just five passes for 37 yards. Teddy Bridgewater isn't looking his way, nor throwing the ball down field, and his outlook doesn't appear any brighter with a dangerous Chargers secondary looming on Sunday. (Krinch)

Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC (@ GB) - I wouldn't say it's been a bad start for Maclin, but it certainly hasn't been Philadelphia-like. Nine receptions for 109 yards and - shocking! - no touchdowns for the Chiefs wide receiver hasn't told the whole story (ahem, Alex Smith), but it's enough to keep him on the bench against a Packers defense that is A) putrid against the run and B) coming off a nice performance against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Wilson threw for 206 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and I'll take the under on those numbers for Alex Smith this week. Jamaal Charles should run free Monday night, but it'll be yet another week until Maclin finally starts hitting homers that win his owners a matchup. (Strotman)

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Doug Martin, RB, TB (@ HOU) - I haven't lost faith on Martin as putting together a successful RB2 season with Jameis Winston under center and two viable wide receivers flanking him. If the offensive line can hold up, Martin should return solid value. But against a stout Texans defense looking to make a statement at home at 0-2, this isn't the week for the Running Back Formerly Known as the Muscle Hamster to get going. Feel good about having him, and maybe buy low on him, but his 130 yards and one lost fumble aren't any kind of reason to start him this week either. It's coming, just not this week. (Strotman)

Lamar Miller, RB, MIA (vs. BUF) - Man, this Dolphins offense is scaring me. It's not moving the ball well at all and is a nightmare for fantasy owners. Miller is having a rough start and I don't see it getting better this week at all. He's not only banged up but he's also going up against a very stout defense. Don't give up on him yet but don't put him in your lineup this week. (Professor)

Rams D/ST (vs. PIT) - The Rams are definitely a unit you want to own. Why? They get to the quarterback and most leagues reward at least one point for every sack. However, with a dangerous Pittsburgh Steelers offense looming, the Arizona Cardinals offensive arsenal on deck and Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in the hole, it's time to park their unit on the bench for the next three weeks if you have an open roster spot. If not, they need to be dropped until a Week 7 matchup against the Cleveland Browns. (Krinch)

Matthew Stafford, QB, DET (vs. DEN) - The Broncos are the best team in the league against the pass. Stafford may be the most frustrating fantasy QB to own given his potential, how often he throws the ball, his weapons and subpar production. Add it all up and this is a classic sit option this week, even if you just had one of the QBs that just went down to injury. (Andracki)

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.