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Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 5 and beyond

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USA TODAY

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 5 and beyond

Dalvin Cook, Chris Carson, Derek Carr, Marcus Mariota. The Grim Reaper came for some big names in Week 4.

And we're not really sure how Odell Beckham Jr. survived the Grim Reaper's scythe after looking at this picture.

I give this game everything I got. Ain't no way around it..

A post shared by Odell Beckham Jr (@obj) on

If your team went unscathed in Week 4, hats off to you. If it didn't, don't panic.

We've compiled a list of 10 players who should provide some help in Week 5 and beyond.

1.  Wayne Gallman, RB, NYG

Gallman was inactive for the first three games of 2017, but found himself suiting up for Week 4 and when Paul Perkins went down with injury, Gallman racked up 50 yards and a TD on 13 touches. Nobody has taken the Giants backfield and run with it yet and while it's possible this game was a flash-in-the-pan for the rookie Gallman, he's worth an add just in case. (Tony Andracki)

2. Deshaun Watson, QB, HOU

The rookie set the world on fire in Week 4 with a whopping 307 combined yards and 5 scores. Despite entering the season as the Texans backup to Tom Savage, Watson is already fantasy football's No. 6 quarterback. With his propensity to gain a large chunk of yards on the ground, Watson possesses one of the highest floors among QBs, and should easily be a weekly Top 10 fantasy signal-caller throughout the remainder of the 2017 season. (Scott Krinch)

3. Will Fuller, WR, HOU

Fuller is a big-play wide receiver who scored just 2 TDs in 14 games his rookie season. So of course he finally suits up in Week 4 after an injury and averages just 8.8 yards per catch and immediately finds the endzone twice. He should be up for more big plays in the future and with Watson taking the reins and running with it in the Houston offense, Fuller could be an excellent fantasy option in his sophomore campaign as opposing defense focus on not letting DeAndre Hopkins beat them. (Andracki)

4. Latavius Murray/Jerick McKinnon, RB, MIN

A season-ending ACL injury to star rookie running back Dalvin Cook has now vaulted the Vikings backfield situation to one that the fantasy football community will keep close tabs on going forward. Following Cook's injury in Week 4, Murray out-snapped McKinnon 19/6. While Murray is nowhere near the caliber of player Cook is, he'll still slot in as the Vikings' early-down running back with McKinnon remaining in his role as a third/passing down specialist. Both players should be added to all fantasy rosters, but owners should take a wait-and-see approach when making the decision to insert them into their lineups. (Krinch)

5. Alvin Kamara, RB, NO

Kamara's time is officially here. After seeing only 20 touches in the first three games of the season, the third-round rookie touched the ball 15 times in New Orleans' Week 4 win with five rushes and 10 receptions, totaling 96 yards and a TD. He's clearly ahead of Adrian Peterson in the NO pecking order, but Kamara is also clearly the best pass-catching back in an offense that airs it out. Kamara has improved on his PPR fantasy point totals each week and there's no way he should be owned in only 19.7 percent of leagues. (Andracki)

6. Devin Funchess, WR, CAR

It looks like it's about time to start buying stock in the third-year wide receiver. Funchess had the best game of his career against the New England Patriots on Sunday, hauling in 7 passes for 70 yards and two scores. Funchess has 19 targets in his last two games and is starting to surpass Kelvin Benjamin as Cam Newton's go-to target with Greg Olsen sidelined. Funchess is a must add in all formats. (Krinch)

7. Mitch Trubisky, QB, CHI

If you're looking for a potential game-changer at quarterback, Trubisky probably isn't your guy. Not in his first NFL start in Week 5 against a tough Vikings defense. And not with a shaky supporting cast. But Trubisky could be a matchup play moving forward and provides a new wrinkle in the Bears offense with his mobility. He currently resides outside the Top 20 in terms of fantasy QBs, but his rushing potential alone could make him worthy of a roster spot in deep leagues. (Andracki)

8. Jaron Brown, WR, ARI

We've been waiting for a wide receiver to emerge as Larry Fitzgerald's Robin in Arizona, and if last week was any indication it appears that guy is Jaron Brown. Carson Palmer targeted Brown 12 times against the San Francisco 49ers, which was tops among Cardinals wideouts. If the targets weren't enough proof, Brown played in 95 percent of the offensive snaps in Week 4. On a pass-heavy team like the Cardinals who are without their top offensive weapon in David Johnson, Brown is suddenly a must-own player. (Krinch)

9. J.D. McKissic, RB, SEA

McKissic came from out of nowhere to score 2 TDs on five touches in Week 4 and is owned in just 0.2 percent of ESPN leagues. While that could be enough to warrant a roster spot, we wouldn't recommend wasting a waiver on him, even with Chris Carson nursing a broken ankle. McKissic was filling in for the injured C.J. Prosise and with the latter expected to suit up for Week 5, McKissic could wind back in the lands of fantasy obscurity. Thomas Rawls and Eddie Lacy figure to handle Carson's workload until the rookie returns. (Andracki)

10. Evan Engram, TE, NYG

Engram is debunking the myth that rookie tight ends need time to adjust to the NFL. The Giants' 2017 first-round pick currently ranks first in targets (30) and receptions (19) and third in yards (200) among rookie tight ends through the first four weeks of the season since 2000. Engram has totaled 18 targets while registering 11 receptions for 107 yards throughout the last two weeks. Obviously he doesn't have the upside of somebody like Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce, but Engram is starting to show he's a viable TE1 in a year where finding a serviceable tight end is like somebody at the White House convincing President Trump to delete the Twitter app from his phone. (Krinch)

Bears starting secondary returns intact for ’18 – but is that a good thing?

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USA TODAY

Bears starting secondary returns intact for ’18 – but is that a good thing?

The coach of a woeful college basketball team was asked in a postseason media session if the fact that he had all five of his starters returning was cause for optimism. “The kids tried hard,” the coach pointed out, “but we won two games last year. So having everybody back isn’t necessarily a good thing.”

The Bears approach the 2018 season and training camp returning their entire starting secondary – cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Kyle Fuller on new, multi-year contracts, safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson now being touted as one of the NFL’s top safety tandems.

And continuity is unquestionably a prized element, particularly with offensive lines and defensive backfields. Having the four principle starters back should be a good thing.

The problem is, the Bears tied for 29th in the NFL with eight interceptions, matching a franchise-low for the third straight season. The starting DBs four accounted for just five total interceptions, suggesting that for all the supposed continuity, the whole was somewhat less the some of the parts where the critical turnover ratio is concerned.

The last time the Bears intercepted more passes (19) than their opponents (13) was 2013 – the last time the Bears saw .500.

The importance of one statistic can be overstated, but turnovers, particularly interceptions, are the one measurable with the greatest correlation to winning. The top 11 and 13 of the 14 teams with positive turnover ratios all posted winning records in 2017 (the Bears were 15th, with a zero net differential). And while fumble recoveries obviously also count as takeaways, interceptions are key: The top 10 teams in interceptions all posted positive records and all 14 of the turnover-ratio leaders intercepted more balls than they recovered.

Of the takeaways by those top 14 in turnover ratio, 65.8 percent of their takeaways came on interceptions. The Bears and the bottom half of the NFL turnover gatherers picked up only 55.7 percent of their takeaways on interceptions.

“Well, we hope we’re going to improve there,” said defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. “That takes 11 guys doing it, but we’ll see. That’s obviously going to be an emphasis for us.”

Creating a different mindset

Individual Bears defensive backs had flash moments: Jackson became the first rookie in NFL history with multiple 75-yard defensive touchdowns in a season; Amos returned an interception 90 yards for a score; Fuller was one of only two NFL players with at least 65 tackles and 20 passes defensed.

The Bears self-scouted enough to understand those for what they were – exceptions, bordering the fluke-ish, given the overall. The result was that even during minicamps and OTA’s, there was an edge to the play of the secondary. Mitch Trubisky and his quiver of weapons will have to earn things, beginning against their own teammates.

“We’ve been getting the receivers and the running backs a little mad, but they know that we’re just trying to get better at [takeaways],” Amukamara said. “And just catching the ones that the quarterback throws to you. But if we keep making the most of our opportunities we know that those numbers will go up.”

The numbers could scarcely go anywhere but up.

Amos, who was languishing on the bench and a possible roster bubble before Quintin Demps suffered a forearm fracture in week three, went 2,638 career snaps before collecting his lone career interception last season on a ball deflected to him seven yards away.

Amukamara was signed to a new three-year contract with $18 million of its $27 million guaranteed – this despite a dubious streak that has reached 2,340 snaps and more than two full seasons since his last interception.

The goal is to change that by “just getting to the ball, everybody,” Amos said. “Everybody is making efforts at the ball during camp. It’s just something that we just are emphasizing every day trying to create more takeaways.”

Pro Football Focus rated the Bears’ secondary No. 30 going into the 2017 season, factoring in veteran safety Quintin Demps signed coming off his best NFL season and Fuller coming off a season missed with a knee injury.

That is not a given. Pass defense begins with a pass rush, but roster losses have cost the Bears more than one-third (14.5) of their 2017 sack total (42).

Postcards from Camp: Bears preparing for physical training camp as QB Mitch Trubisky, offense settle in

Postcards from Camp: Bears preparing for physical training camp as QB Mitch Trubisky, offense settle in

BOURBONNAIS, Ill.Dear Mom and Dad:
 
Camp’s finally here, the guys all reporting and I think really ready to get started for real after the camps and OTA’s this spring and summer. Practices start tomorrow (Friday) and fans’ll be able to watch practice starting on Saturday. 
 
I and the other quarterbacks decided to come in Monday with the rookies, kind of to get going but really to connect with the young guys. I know what they’re going through – they were me this time last year. Allen Robinson came in, too, and he says his knee is feeling great and there won’t be any holding back, which is good to hear since Allen is a wide receiver who is great at going up and getting the football.
 
Coach Nagy tells us this’ll be a physical training camp. He says he wants to get his team “calloused.” Akiem Hicks said that physicality wasn’t really a problem in the past but the coaches want to establish an identity from the get-go, and a big part of my job will be to be a leader at setting that.
 
Someone asked whether it was fair that the coaches last year got so much criticism for holding me back. I said that I guess from my point of view I want to just say I was doing what I was asked to do. Last year is definitely different than this year. I’m going to have more responsibility and more, I guess, responsibility to do what I wanna do in the offense. I’ll have more options. Last year, it was what it was. the coaches’ philosophy. I tried to do to the best of my ability what they asked me. this year I’m going to do the same. Whatever they ask me to do I’m gonna do, and just roll with it.
 
Gotta run. Send money. (just kidding).
 
Your quarterback son,
 
Mitch

 
*                          *                          *
 
No Ro’ yet
 
Barring a late contract breakthrough, rookie linebacker Roquan Smith isn’t expected before the start of practices on Friday. Smith is one of more than a dozen No. 1 picks still unsigned, not completely unusual because of details like offset language in the event a player is released before the end of his fourth season and the structure of paying signing bonuses. The Bears are not evincing serious concern at this point, although defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is among those who have acknowledged the impediment that missed time poses to a player’s development.
 
“There's a lot of details that go into these things,” said GM Ryan Pace. “We're optimistic that he's here soon. It's really part of the process and meanwhile we're rolling forward with the guys that are here and you know that chemistry and continuity is important.
 
The Bears are working on contract extensions for a handful of what they deem to be rising talents, as they did this offseason with a four-year contract for cornerback Kyle Fuller. “Obviously we're mindful of the guys in the final years of their contacts,” Pace said. “We've got a handful of them. Obviously those contract [details] we're going to keep internal. Those are really good players and we're mindful of it as we go forward and we'll have a plan in place.”
 
 
*                          *                          *
 
Long-range danger
 
Wide receivers Allen Robinson, Kevin White, Taylor Gabriel and Anthony Miller and tight end Trey Burton have been tasked with bringing a level of firepower that the organization is counting on to be on par with the Martellus Bennett-Matt Forte-Alshon Jeffery-Brandon Marshall cluster of five seasons ago. One key member of this year’s group sees danger for defenses regardless of where the Bears are on the field.
 
“Kevin White brings a lot to the table, as well,” Robinson said. “I think for him being such a big physical specimen, I think he’s at any point on the field and any point in time, I think he’s where we literally can possibly get six points on the board. Maybe off a deep ball. Maybe off a catch-and-fun. Anything like that.
 
“Whenever you’ve got him and Taylor and Anthony and those guys on the field, I mean, to be honest, we can any point in time are six points away.”
 
*                          *                          *
 
How “physical” is too physical? Too soft? Just right?
 
The Bears have grappled with injury demons for too much of the past five seasons, with training-camp intensities ranging from a lighter, get-off-your-feet program under Marc Trestman to a time-tested system under veteran head coach John Fox. Neither approach saved the Bears once the season commenced, and now Matt Nagy has declared “physical” to be the measuring standard. The trick will be balancing full-contact, padded practice sessions with enough near-realistic intensity without risking injury any more than necessary.
 
“It has to be competitive,” said defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. “It has to be where you get out there and a couple days hot, back to back to back, and coach is running you hard and it’s giving us a little test. You need those moments. Those are the moments I look forward to at training camp, where you know it gets a little aggressive out there. I think that builds not only your team confidence but that tenacity, that edge you need to have to play, especially defense.”
 
Training camps before the backing-off occasioned by the strictures of the collective bargaining agreement were notoriously physical, with double-session days in full pads common. They were also longer, as long as the 32-day first camp under new coach Dave Wannstedt in 1993. Camp opened that year on July 14 for a season with a Sept. 5 opening day.
 
This preseason year is in that range. The Bears begin their season Sept. 9 at Green Bay, and are starting now with the extra week of prep for a fifth preseason game on Aug. 2 as part of Hall of Fame ceremonies.
 
“I think it’ll be good to get a chance for our offense to sharpen up what they need to sharpen, our defense to relearn and revisit some of the things we need to revisit.,” Hicks said. “More time together is only beneficial. You just have to make sure you’re taking care of your guys. And I’m sure our coaching staff won’t have a problem doing that.”