Bears

FanDuel Friday: Will the Force be with Lamar Miller this Sunday?

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FanDuel Friday: Will the Force be with Lamar Miller this Sunday?

The playoffs can be such a depressing time for some fantasy football owners as they play a lot of "what if" scenarios on what could've been this season.

Luckily for all of us, daily fantasy sports allows us to stay locked in to fantasy football regardless of how our season-long teams are doing. 

So let's jump into the holiday spirit and give you gifts of wisdom and maybe you'll be dabbing after Week 15.

Happy Holidays and good luck this week.

[MORE: Start/Sit Week 15]

Tony Andracki

When I'm doing a Tournament for low money (in this case a $1 buy-in with a chance to win up to $25K), I'm all about upside. Picking guys who most other owners won't pick with a chance to have a big game. I leave the safe bets for the 50/50 games.

With that in mind, Eric Ebron still looks like an interesting choice. He's not among the Top 20 tight ends and he's not a focal point of his team's offense just yet. But he's got all the talent in the world and he's going up against a porous Saints defense that allows the most fantasy points to tight ends. At $4,800 why not take a chance? Especially with a Monday night contest, he could go off for a big game and help me pick up ground on all the other owners whose lineups are done playing. The same rule of thumb applies to Stafford, though he's been a pretty solid play of late.

By finding a discount with Ebron, John Brown and Jeremy Maclin (both the Eagles and Ravens give up a TON of points to wide receivers), it allowed me to splurge on Julio Jones (against a weak Jags defense in what should be a rebound game for Julio) and Adrian Peterson (who always plays the Bears well). Lamar Miller is a bonus, as he should be able to carve up the Chargers defense this week.

Graham Gano and the Chiefs D/ST are both money plays of late and they each have another really good matchup this week, so it was a simple decision.

 

John "The Professor" Paschall

Sunday should be a day full of holiday cheer for the Cardinals offense as they face a bad Eagles defense. Carson Palmer is #FireEmoji and has me wanting to spend big on him at quarterback. 

So why didn't I spend on any of his receivers? I'm just too afraid of him spreading the ball around. I don't think there's one receiver option that's better than the others. Everyone is performing well.

Like Tony, I like Miller a lot this week. He didn't get a ton of touches last week but he really made the most of them. The Chargers defense also isn't one to stop a running back from knifing through them. West is a bit of a gamble this week with Spencer Ware possibly returning but I'm willing to take the chance on him.

Receivers are where I love to spend big. Nuk should feast on that ugly Colts secondary, and Megatron is a huge bounce back candidate on MNF. Why Sammy Watkins is so cheap, I don't know but he's Tyrod Taylor's favorite deep threat so he's in store for another big week. 

Miller is a great bargain this week against a Vikings defense that's very banged up. While Matt Hasselback is starting instead of Chaz Whitehurst (seriously the worst news of the week), I'm still thinking the Texans defense will clamp down on the Colts offense. 

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

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USA Today

Is Jordan Howard underrated in fantasy football?

Jordan Howard has accomplished some pretty amazing things to start his career. Most notably, he's the only running back in Chicago Bears franchise history to finish his first two seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards, including 1,313 yards as a rookie, good for a team rookie record.

Still, Howard has been the target of criticism this offseason because of his questionable set of hands. He was plagued by a case of the drops last season and he's been labeled as a guy who can't catch the ball heading into 2018. Combine that with the player nipping at his heels -- Tarik Cohen -- and the overwhelming theory advanced by analysts is that he'll give way to Cohen on passing downs.

This presumption has made its way into the world of fantasy football, too. Howard is rarely if ever mentioned as one of the first running backs that should be drafted this summer and in a recent player vs. player showdown on Pro Football Focus, 49ers starter Jerick McKinnon was selected as a more appealing fantasy starter in 2018.

It’s close, but I give the nod to Jerick McKinnon. Howard’s troubles in the passing game are very real and it’s clear the Bears want to focus on that more this year. Meanwhile, McKinnon was handed a fat contract and has little competition when it comes to carries.

McKinnon, a career backup, was signed by San Franciso to be Kyle Shanahan's feature running back. He has a real chance to be a stud in fantasy circles, but should he be valued over a guy like Howard who's proven to be a contender for the NFL's rushing crown?

All of this offseason chatter will serve as great motivation for Howard who has to prove, first and foremost, that he can be a three-down back for coach Matt Nagy in the Bears' new offense. If he has a consistent training camp as a receiver and carries that momentum into the preseason and regular season, those fantasy players who draft McKinnon or another less-proven player over Howard will long for a redo.

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

15 Most Important Bears of 2018: No. 8 - Eddie Goldman

Eddie Goldman is entering the final year of his contract this season and in order to cash in on a big payday, he'll need to stay healthy and make good on his top-tier potential. 

If he does, he'll become a very wealthy man and the Bears defense will have an even better year than its top-10 finish a season ago.

Goldman, 24, came to Chicago via the second round of the 2015 NFL draft and quickly became a household name among Bears fans. He started 12 games that season and finished with a surprising 4 1/2 sacks, a total that was more productive than his college scouting report predicted. He was pegged as a breakout star for 2016, but injuries ultimately derailed his second season. He played only six games that year (started five) but still flashed a surprisingly productive set of pass-rush traits; he finished 2016 with 2 1/2 sacks.

This past season represented something of a mixed bag for Goldman. He started 15 games and quieted some of the injury concerns that started bubbling around him, but his production dipped. He managed only 1 1/2 sacks. That said, he set a career-high with 27 tackles, nearly doubling his output as a rookie.

Still, Goldman wasn't a dominant force in 2017. He finished the year ranked 69th among interior defenders with a 76.3 grade from Pro Football Focus. Despite being healthy and available, it was the lowest season grade of his career from PFF.

Nose tackle is arguably the most critical position for any defense running a 3-4 scheme. It's no exception in Chicago. Goldman will set the table for linebackers Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith and the more bodies he can consume or attention he can draw from offensive lines, the more room second-level defenders will have to work. It's not just about filling up the stat sheet for Goldman. If he clogs running lanes and collapses the pocket consistently, he'll be worth every penny of a big contract extension despite lacking numbers.

The Bears need Goldman to bring his A-game in 2018, especially as a pass rusher. Chicago resides in arguably the most talented quarterback division in the NFL and for the defense to make those quarterbacks uncomfortable, Goldman has to apply pressure up the middle. He's proven he can do it, as evidenced by his rookie year production. But he's been on a steady decline in this area of his game since then and there's no room for more regression in 2018.

Players entering contract years tend to bring extra motivation to the field and there's no reason to expect anything less from Goldman. If he can combine his rookie year production with last season's availability, he could end up with the most well-rounded year of his career en route to leading the Bears' defensive line on a late-season playoff push.