Bears

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5

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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 5

It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows for everyone in Week 4.

Joe Philbin lost his job after the London Laugher, Pittsburgh tried in every single way to lose their game against the Ravens and also cut short Antonio Brown's five catches for 50 yards streak and, maybe most painfully, Rashad Jennings went crashing back down to Earth in a very painful manner thanks to Mario Williams.

Ouch. 

Week 5 brings some unfortunate bye weeks (no Brandon Marshall, Chris Ivory or Adrian Peterson) so people are scrambling to get their lineups together for the upcoming slate of games. 

Luckily for you, we have some answers on start/sit dilemmas you may be facing.

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

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

Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT (@ SD) - Initially, I wasn't a fan of Bryant this week since Big Ben is out. But the more I think about the strengths of Michael Vick, the more I think it should mesh perfectly with Bryant. Vick still has a heck of an arm and can toss it up to Bryant all game long against a weak and banged up Chargers secondary. Bryant is fresh coming off his suspension as are the Steelers who last played in last Thursday night's game. The patience with Bryant will pay off for fantasy owners on Monday night. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Antonio Gates, TE, SD (vs. PIT) - Sticking with the Monday Night Football theme, Gates returns from a four-game suspension and gets a matchup against an average Steelers defense. While that means big things for Keenan Allen, Gates' fresh legs and bromance with Philip Rivers should mean good things. Ladarius Green is no slouch, and I've been really impressed with him this season, but Gates is still top dog and is a solid play this week if you flopped on your tight end on draft day or are dealing with bye weeks. (Mark Strotman)

Todd Gurley, RB, STL (@ GB) - Gurley has arrived. After owners were anxiously looking at the Rams injury report every week (don't deny it, I did too), he finally got the clearance to play in Week 3 and didn't do a whole lot. The start of Week 4 against a stingy Cardinals defense started out the same way until he was UNLEASHED in the second half. You don't have to worry about guys like Tre Mason stealing carries from him. Gurley will be fed a lot against the Packers and should continue to roll. (Paschall)

Leonard Hankerson, WR, ATL (vs. WSH) - I love revenge games and this may be an underrated one. Hankerson never amounted to much with the Redskins but is starting to emerge with the Falcons. He's turning into Julio Jones' Robin (sorry, Roddy) and isn't looking back. At home against his former team, which has a very shaky pass defense is a recipe for success for Hankerson. (Paschall)

Ronnie Hillman, RB, DEN (@ OAK) - If I were a C.J. Anderson owner I'd be getting very worried right about now. Anderson rushed for a lowly season-high of 43 yards in a Week 4 win, meanwhile Hillman earned 11 carries for 103 yards, helped by a 72-yard touchdown scamper. As each week goes by, it's starting to appear as if Denver's backfield will eventually run through Hillman. Head coach Gary Kubiak continues to rave about Hillman, which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the starting nod against the Raiders. Oakland has been better against the run as of late, but they're still susceptible to giving up a big-gainer, and with the Broncos' offensive line getting stronger each game, I feel confident with Hillman as a Week 5 flex play. (Scott Krinch)

Richard Rodgers, TE, GB (vs. STL) - File this one under a gut feeling, but after watching Aaron Rodgers run for his life last week in San Francisco I feel Richard Rodgers is going to get a lot of quick-pass looks this week. The Rams' vaunted defensive line has helped St. Louis rack up 17 sacks, second most in the NFL, and when things broke down last week it was Rodgers who benefitted. He saw a season-high five targets, catching four of them for 45 yards and a touchdown. In a season that has been expectedly difficult to predict for tight ends, I like having Rodgers, especially with Davante Adams still battling an ankle injury. This is a good plug-and-play with TE1 upside. (Strotman)

Terrance Williams, DAL, WR (vs. NE) - I don't necessarily like Williams' matchup this week against a terrific Patriots defense, but this is a classic volume play. Williams racked up 10 targets in last week's crushing overtime loss to the Saints, and while he only caught three passes (thanks a lot, Weeden) he still managed a 24-yard score - his second TD in four games. Expect the Cowboys to be trailing from the get-go in this one, meaning Air Weeden is going to need to throw to someone. This is a matchup where Williams could put up plenty of garbage-time numbers, but as we know in fantasy those all count the same. I like Williams as a flex this week. (Strotman)

Kendall Wright, WR, TEN (vs. BUF) - The former first-round pick has been a forgotten man in fantasy circles throughout the last two years. Not anymore, now that Wright has some actual talent throwing him the football at the quarterback position. It's clear that Marcus Mariota and Wright have some chemistry, the duo have connected 13 times for 213 yards and two scores in three games this season. With an extra week to prepare for the Bills, I expect Wright to come out blazing against an overrated Buffalo defense that's ranked 30th to opposing fantasy wideouts this year. (Krinch)

T.J. Yeldon, RB, JAX (@ TB) - Yeldon finally had a 100-yard game, the first of his career, in last Sunday's loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Yeldon's pure usage, 20-plus touches in two out of his last three games, makes him a valuable fantasy commodity going forward. There isn't much running room behind Jacksonville's porous offensive line, but we saw Denard Robinson go on a mid-season tear last year, which gives me plenty of reason to believe that Yeldon will replicate that, considering he's the far superior talent. Yeldon's has a eye-popping Week 5 matchup against a Buccaneers defense that's given up at least one rushing touchdown in every game this season. Get him in your lineup. (Krinch)

SIT

Anquan Boldin, WR, SF (@ NYG) - Someone HAS to catch passes from Colin Kaepernick...right? But what if Kaepernick's passes are nowhere NEAR any of his receivers? Like, he can't even complete any passes. Boldin is a tough, gritty player that I'd want on my real life NFL team but in fantasy his value is stumped because of his struggling quarterback. (Paschall)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (vs. DEN) - I get it. Four teams on a bye week and injured quarterbacks throughout the league. It's only natural you'd want to start a guy like Carr. Whatever you do, resist the temptation. Most weeks, Carr is a valuable player to have on your roster and even a guy who you would consider starting over any QB1 not named Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson in certain weeks. Week 5 is not one of them. So far the Broncos defense, under coordinator Wade Phillips, looks unstoppable. They've given up just two stinking passing touchdowns through four games and opposing fantasy signal-callers are averaging 7.4 total points against them. Sunday's outlook is not pretty for David's baby bro. (Krinch)

Isaiah Crowell, RB, CLE (@ BAL) - It's not that I dislike Crowell, it's that there isn't really anything exciting about him from a fantasy perspective. He hasn't cracked more than 72 rushing yards and has totaled just 19 career receptions. The only time Crowell holds fantasy value is when he scores/vultures a touchdown, something he has only done once this year. The arrow is pointing down for the second-year back with the emergence of rookie Duke Johnson. If you're still holding out hope for Crowell take a glance at his upcoming schedule: BAL, DEN, STL and ARI. I'd find a taker or cut the cord immediately. (Krinch)

Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (vs. SEA) - I'll preface this by saying if Dalton is your far-and-away best option, keep him in your lineup. Let's not get crazy. But assuming Dalton wasn't the first signal caller you drafted, I'd consider tossing in that guy as he faces a Seahawks defense that's beginning to roll with Kam Chancellor back in the fold. Dalton is still a QB1 because of how damn good he's been in 2015, but some of that could be tempered (he's due for a clunker, right?) this week, and I'd look to your other QB if you can. (Strotman)

Boobie Dixon, RB, BUF (@ TEN) - LeSean McCoy and (probably) Karlos Williams are out this week, paving the way for Dixon to be the lead back for Rex Ryan this week. That doesn't make him a stellar play if you plucked him off the waiver wire, though. He's dealing with a sore calf and faces a Titans defense ranked 5th in the NFL against the rush. Don't try to outsmart yourself by starting a guy just because he's going to get touches. The Bills offense as a whole seems light a nightmare (see below). Move on from Dixon. (Strotman)

Percy Harvin, WR, BUF (@ TEN) - The Tyrod Taylor honeymoon seems to be over and he's bringing down others in the offense with him. Will Sammy Watkins play? It's unclear as of now but even if he does, he won't be near 100 percent. Harvin can't carry the load for the Bills passing game especially when the rushing attack will roll out Boobie Dixon as the starter. Harvin hasn't done a whole lot since his breakout Week 1 performance and he's not on my FLEX radar this week. (Paschall)

Mark Ingram, RB, NO (@ PHI) - It's not pretty in Philly, but I'm still a believer in that run defense that has yet to give up a rushing touchdown this year to a running back. With Spiller back as well, he may cut into some of Ingram's touches. My guess is the Eagles will force an injured Drew Brees to beat them by throwing downfield and that's not where Ingram does well. I get starting him if you are strapped with bye week issues but outside of that you may want to find another option. (Paschall)

Joseph Randle, RB, DAL (vs. NE) - If you take away Randle's three-touchdown outburst against the Falcons, his season hasn't been pretty. It's easy for teams to stack the box and let grandpa Weeden throw the ball 40 times a game with Tony Romo and Dez Bryant sidelined. With the Patriots coming to Dallas this weekend, expect the hosts to be trailing most of the game, taking Randle out of the equation considering he doesn't provide much in the passing game. (Krinch)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (vs. ARZ) - So much for building on last season's career year and a "fading" Calvin Johnson, huh? Tate has been invisible in 2015, and he's got as many touchdowns as Jordy Nelson through four weeks. Part of the problem is Matthew Stafford has been downright awful, but Tate is no longer a player to simply trot out as a WR2 and worry about the rest of your lineup. Now he gets a Cardinals secondary with seven interceptions already. No thanks. (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.