Bears

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4

tyrod-taylor-waiver-week-4-slide.png

Fantasy Football: 10 waiver wire targets for Week 4

Why are all the quarterbacks getting hurt?

That's a question we've heard several times over the last 8-10 days and to be honest: we don't have an answer. It seems like an epidemic with Ben Roethlisberg, Drew Brees and Tony Romo - all Top 10 QBs - sidelined. Mix in Jay Cutler's injury and the inefectiveness of some top QB options like Andrew Luck, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewter and the quarterback position is an absolute mess.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Football coverage here]

That's why we have five QBs to target on the waiver wire heading into Week 4.

Remember: This is also the first week teams are on a bye.

1. Karlos Williams, RB, BUF

Williams has a touchdown and double-digit fantasy points in every game as a pro. What's not to like? The rookie certainly looks like a steal for the Bills as a fifth-round pick and he could be a steal for your fantasy team, as well. LeSean McCoy is clearly not healthy and there's talk of the Bills shutting him down for at least one week to get his hamstring healed. If that happens in Week 4, Williams suddenly becomes a borderline Top 10 running back with a great matchup against the Giants. Either way, he's absolutely worth owning in just about any format for his upside and situation. (Tony Andracki)

2. Tyrod Taylor, QB, BUF

How this guy is owned in only 44 percent of ESPN leagues is beyond me. I don't get it. He's currently the fifth-ranked fantasy QB, putting up back-to-back 24+ point games. Everybody knew he could run and now he's showing he can pass, too, with seven tuddies through the air in three games. He's not necessarily a must-start in every league and every format each week, but he's absolutely worth owning as at least a backup or a matchup play, especially with all the QBs out injured. (Andracki)

3. Joe Flacco, QB, BAL

Flacco has never been a top tier fantasy quarterback, but there's no reason why he should currently be sitting on the waiver wire in your league, especially with a plethora of injuries to starting quarterbacks and bye weeks upon us. Flacco has put together consecutive 20-point games and draws a brutal Steelers defense in Week 4. He's a must-start in Week 4. (Scott Krinch)

4. Andy Dalton, QB, CIN

I can't believe I'm hopping on the Dalton train but I am. There are a lot of injured quarterbacks out there and Dalton may be the best quarterback available on waivers. He's on fire to start the season, recording multi-TD games in all three starts so far. He's got his dominant receiver in AJ Green going and Marvin Jones, Tyler Eifert and Gio Bernard are guys that have benefited from Dalton's success. While he may not go for almost 400 yards every week like he did last week he should be a quality QB2 option for you for the rest of the year. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

5. Rishard Matthews, WR, MIA

Sure, I may not have added him in a lot of my leagues last week but at least I told YOU to do that. Matthews already leads the Dolphins in touchdowns with three while guys like Jarvis Landry, Lamar Miller and Jordan Cameron have zero. He's been the one surprising bright spot in an underwhelming Dolphins offense so far. For whatever reason, Ryan Tannehill looks to Matthews in the red zone and though he's second on the team in targets to Landry, he averages 16.4 YPC compared to Landry's 9.6. If you have a banged up receiver group, Matthews is a great pickup. (Paschall)

6. Derek Carr, QB, OAK

Here's another guy who absolutely needs to be owned, at least as a bye week fill-in or injury replacement. Carr has two straight games of multiple TDs, 300+ yards and 20+ fantasy points. Now he draws a great matchup against the Bears in Week 4. Keep in mind, you won't want to start him Week 5 against the awesome Broncos pass defense and the Raiders are on a bye in Week 6, so that is two weeks in a row where he can't help you. (Andracki)

[MORE - Fantasy Football: 12 waiver wire targets for Week 3]

7. Michael Vick, QB, PIT

OK, so his trial run didn't go so well on Sunday when Ben Roethlisberger suffered a nasty-looking injury in the third quarter. Vick entered the game, went 5-6 for 38 yards and fumbled once. Now he's got a short week to get ready for the 0-3 Ravens on Thursday, which doesn't make him a stellar fantasy play in Week 4. But look at the weapons Vick, 35, has around him. Le'Veon Bell is back, Antonio Brown hasn't slowed down one bit, Martavis Bryant will return from his suspension and the Steelers defense has been atrocious, giving the Pitt offense more time on the field. Vick has to stay out of his own way and let his weapons do what they do and he's going to return borderline-QB1 value the next four-to-six weeks with Big Ben out. Pick him up now to start him Week 5 on Monday night against the Chargers. (Mark Strotman)

8. Ty Montgomery, WR, GB

It's almost unfair how Ted Thompson finds wide receivers in the second and third rounds of drafts. He appears to have done it again with the addition of Montgomery, who in the last two games has caught all six of his targets for 51 yards and a score. Not huge numbers, and likely not fantasy-starting numbers, but Davante Adams re-injured his ankle early in Monday night's win over the Chiefs and Eddie Lacy is still banged up. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, it's worth owning as many Packers wide receivers as you can. Montgomery is locked in as the 4th WR on the depth chart, though that could change if Adams misses time. And if he does, Montgomery would be a sneaky WR3 play against an atrocious 49ers defense. To note, Montgomery has also fared well as a kick returner, ranking third in the NFL with a 31.5-yard average. He could break one soon and tally your squad some extra points. (Strotman)

9. Lance Dunbar, RB, DAL

No, he's not going to be stealing carries from Joseph Randle anytime soon, considering he has two carries this season, but if you're in a PPR league Dunbar needs to be on your roster. The fourth year running back out of North Texas hasn't found the end zone yet. However, he has registered 21 catches for 215 yards through three games, making him a Top 12 fantasy running back in 2015. He doesn't need to be a high priority claim on the wire this week, but if he passes through then go get him right away. (Krinch)

10. Thomas Rawls, RB, SEA 

All Rawls is right now is a handcuff to Marshawn Lynch, but a darn good one at that. When Lynch left Sunday's game with a hamstring injury, all the rookie did was carry the ball 16 times for 104 yards, showing that same type of violent running that has made Lynch one of the best running backs in the league. Rawls has surpassed Fred Jackson on the depth chart, and with Lynch set to undergo an MRI, he's somebody you need to keep an eye on if he's available in your fantasy league. (Krinch)

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

0720_aaron_rodgers.jpg
USA TODAY

Could Bears improve and still lose ground? The MMQB's Albert Breer weighs in on tough NFC North

NBC Sports Chicago’s John "Moon" Mullin talked with The MMQB's Albert Breer, who shared his thoughts on where the Bears stand — and if they’ll be able to compete — in a highly competitive NFC North.

Moon: The Bears have made upgrades, but they’re in the NFC North and not many divisions are tougher, given the strength at quarterbacks.

Breer: Yes. You look at the other three teams, and they all very much believe they’re in a window for winning a championship. The Packers are going through some changes, but they’ve gotten Mike Pettine in there as defensive coordinator and a new general manager who was aggressive on draft day. I know that internally they feel that’s going to give them a boost, and bringing Aaron Rodgers back obviously is the biggest thing of all.

Minnesota, all the things they did this offseason, signing (quarterback) Kirk Cousins, (defensive lineman) Sheldon Richardson, and they were knocking on the door last year.

The Lions have been building for two years under (general manager) Bob Quinn and (new coach) Matt Patricia, who lines right up with the general manager — the two of them worked together in New England. They really believe that Matthew Stafford is ready to take the sort of jump that Matt Ryan made in Atlanta a few years ago, where you see that mid-career breakthrough from a quarterback that we see sometimes now.

It’s one of the toughest divisions in football, and every team in the division believes that it’s in the position to contend right now.

Moon: We didn’t see a lot of Mitch Trubisky — 12 games — so it sounds possible that the Bears could improve and still lose ground.

Breer: The Lions were pretty good last year. The Vikings were in the NFC Championship game. And who knows where the Packers would’ve been if Rodgers hadn’t broken his collarbone. The biggest change is that Aaron Rodgers will be back, and that’s the best player in the league. It was a really good division last year, and you’re adding back in a Hall of Fame quarterback.

As far as the Bears, there’s going to be questions where the organization is going. It’s been seven years since they were in the playoffs. I think they certainly got the coach hire right. This is a guy who I know other organizations liked quite a bit and was going to be a head coach sooner or later.

And I think he matches up well with Mitch. I think the Bears are in a good spot, but as you said, they’re competing in a difficult environment, so it may not show up in their record.

Moon: A lot of love for the Vikings after they get to the NFC Championship and then add Kirk Cousins.

Breer: A lot of people look at Minnesota and think Kirk Cousins’ll be a huge improvement. And maybe he will be. I think he’s a very good quarterback, top dozen in the league. But Case Keenum played really, really well last year, so it wasn’t like they weren’t getting anything out of that position last year.

The NFC right now is clearly the strength of the league. If you picked the top 10 teams in the league, you could make a case that seven or eight of them are in the NFC. I think there will be NFC teams that miss the playoffs who could be in the Super Bowl coming out of the AFC. There’s a little bit of an imbalance there.

Moon: Trubisky projects as part of a wave of new quarterbacks league-wide, a sea change in the NFL.

Breer: The interesting thing is that this is probably as stable as the league has been at quarterback in a long time. There’ve been questions where the next great quarterbacks will come from, but I don’t know that there’s a team right now in the NFL like you looked at the Jets or Browns last year, where you say that team is definitely drafting a quarterback in 2019.

Everyone either has a big-money veteran or former first-round pick on their roster. One team that doesn’t is the Cowboys, but they’ve got Dak Prescott who’s played really well. Every team in the league has some stability at the position. I think the position is as healthy as it’s been in a long time, and you’ve got a lot of good young prospects.

A significant first practice goes well for three Bears critical to 2018 success

0720_leonard_floyd.jpg
USA TODAY

A significant first practice goes well for three Bears critical to 2018 success

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. — It’s a major Bears story until it isn’t, and in Friday's first practice of training camp ’18, the story was that Leonard Floyd, Kyle Long and Allen Robinson weren’t the story. 

Not even the weather was a story, as coach Matt Nagy continued the two-hour practice without interruption despite repeated torrential downpours. Whether this represented a soggy, wet chapter of Nagy’s campaign of physical practices and getting his team “calloused” is a question, but “It's just a part of what we wanted to do,” Nagy said, with a bit of a smile. “We weren't going inside. We were coming outside unless that (lightning/tornado) horn went off. So it was a good day. The guys fought through it.”

Getting through it was of franchise-grade import for three linchpins coming off significant injuries that cost them all or part of their 2017 seasons. All had been largely held out of minicamps and training camps, making Friday a de facto shakedown cruise for three players the Bears need at the elite levels projected for them.

Floyd practiced without the large brace he’d worn during minicamp work and which he admitted was an impediment to performance. Bears medical and training staff and Floyd have been pointing to this moment as the first step toward full health for the regular season.

“I basically, this whole offseason, I've been working on getting my leg right,” Floyd said on Friday. “I’m not really looking into who's playing where. I've been looking to get back healthy. ... Yeah, I'm able to go full force.”

Floyd’s pursuit speed was noteworthy as he ran down several offensive players with the football.

Players were not in pads, but Robinson similarly flashed, at one point making a difficult catch of a ball slightly behind him as he was tumbling to the ground. If he was holding anything back, it was not apparent in his cuts, routes and runs after catches.

“I feel great,” Robinson said. “It's been a process that we've taken a little bit slower, but I think that was for the best. It just was all about getting me ready for this time right here, so I feel great. I feel 100 percent.”

Long has been buffeted by injuries requiring surgeries over the past two years. The setbacks have taken him down from the Pro Bowl level at which he played his first three seasons.

But he turns 30 in December and is entering his sixth NFL season having missed 14 games the past two years after just one the first three.

“I’m feeling great,” Long said. “It’s really a lot of fun to get out here with my teammates and start camp without any limitations and be able to contribute from Day 1. It feels good. I spent a lot of time with our training staff. I got to know Andre Tucker really well, our new head trainer. He has done a tremendous job.

“You know, it’s Day 1 and I was out there at practice, and I got to hit other guys, and that was fun. I don’t look much into psychological hurdles. But a physical hurdle? Yes, it was. I had a lot going on this offseason. I’m just really happy to be out here.”

All was not good news physically for the Bears as inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and cornerback/special teamer Sherrick McManis were held out of practice after hamstring issues surfaced in their pre-camp physicals. Nagy said neither was considered serious but gave no timetable for their returns.