Bears

Fantasy Football: Breaking down Bears' 2015 roster

bears-2015-fantasy-impact-slide.png

Fantasy Football: Breaking down Bears' 2015 roster

Heading into 2014, the Bears looked like a Fantasy gold mine.

They had Jay Cutler coming off a solid season (when he was on the field in 2013) and going into his second year in Marc Trestman's system. Alshon Jeffery had broken out and become a reliable receiver, as had Martellus Bennett at tight end. And then there was the always-reliable Matt Forte and Brandon Marshall.

But we all know how that ended up - The Bears had a dismal season and only Forte was a must-start every week (though Jeffery and Bennett had solid seasons).

[Fantasy Football: The fallout from Tom Brady's suspension]

And that's kind of been the theme with the Bears when it comes to Fantasy. They've been typically unreliable as a franchise and now there are more question marks with how John Fox and Adam Gase will run the offense.

So let's take a (way too) early look at how the Bears roster may affect the Fantasy landscape: 

Quarterbacks (Jay Cutler)

It might go against conventional wisdom, but I actually think the Bears' moves this offseason will benefit Jay Cutler. Of course, nobody will draft him as their No. 1 QB (and they shouldn't), but Cutler could be a great Fantasy value as a guy who is selected in the later rounds and becomes at least a nice matchup play and potentially a surefire starter from week-to-week. Cutler puts up solid numbers in the first year with a new coordinator and it's apparent now that he is playing for his football future this season. 2015 may be his last year with the Bears and that can create a sort of "contract year" mindset as he tries to audition for other teams and other situations.

[MORE: Four guys whose stock is falling after free agency, NFL Draft]

Around him, the Bears have built up the offensive roster. Brandon Marshall is gone, but he's been replaced with a younger, faster Kevin White. Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte are still here (and so is Martellus Bennett for the time being) while rookie running back Jeremy Langford can be an option in the passing game and the Bears finally have an actual slot receiver in Eddie Royal (a former Cutler target in Denver). On top of that, the Bears bolstered the offensive line with two draft picks, including third-round center Hroniss Grasu.

Cutler will always be a turnover machine, but that "go big or go home" mindset can also be a boost to Fantasy lineups. And hey, he and the Bears can't be much worse than they were in 2014. (Tony Andracki)

Running Backs (Matt Forte)

On the surface Bears running back Matt Forte appears to be a surefire Top 10 fantasy selection in 2015, but drafting Forte this fall comes with plenty of risks. The veteran back had his best year as a pro under Marc Trestman in 2014, but Forte will be 30 in December, and if past running back history is any indication a decline is coming. Another negative for Forte is that new Bears head coach John Fox, offensive coordinator Adam Gase and GM Ryan Pace all come from teams that have a history of using a running back-by-committee approach. The past two seasons in Denver, the Broncos started four different running backs (C.J. Anderson, Ronnie Hillman, Montee Ball and Knowshon Moreno).

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

As the head coach of the Panthers, Fox employed one of the NFL's best rushing attacks with the tandem of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams, and the last two years in New Orleans (Pace in the front office), the Saints used a combination of Mark Ingram, Pierre Thomas, Khiry Robinson and Darren Sproles. While Forte is the unquestioned starter in Chicago in 2015, he will be pushed by fourth-round selection Jeremy Langford, third-down specialist Jacquizz Rodgers and last year's fourth-round pick Ka'Deem Carey. If you're drafting Forte for Top 5 production, you'll likely be second-guessing yourself by the end of September. (Scott Krinch)

Receivers

It didn't take long, but first-round pick Kevin White is already receiving rave reviews at rookie minicamp. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise, however, because everyone knew he had the physical ability to dominate, it just would come down to the mental aspect of the game and whether he could pick up the Bears' system quickly. White's route-running was also one of the reasons why teams were higher on Amari Cooper than the former Mountaineer in the draft.

White has the potential to be a star in Adam Gase's offense but it may not happen right away for the reasons mentioned above but also because of a difficult schedule early on. White is worth a flier as your WR3 because of his upside but don't expect immediate results. He needs to develop the chemistry with Cutler.

[RELATED: Four guys whose stock is on the rise after free agency, NFL Draft]

Speaking of chemistry with Cutler, I'm not buying that is a reason why Eddie Royal will thrive in Chicago this year. The two played together in 2008 in Denver and had tremendous success. But that was also seven years ago and the two were only together for one full season.

Royal could become Gase's Wes Welker in Chicago (hopefully the good one in 2013). But it's hard to see the Bears slot receiver on the fantasy radar since he also has trouble staying healthy. He could be worth a flier in one of the final rounds of the draft and maybe a sneaky FLEX play for some matchups during the season but until we see this new offense in full force, there's no need to reserve a spot on your fantasy team for Royal. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller sports Bears uniform at NFLPA Rookie Premiere

Anthony Miller has quickly become a fan favorite on social media. He has the confidence and swagger found in most top wide receivers and it comes through on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

Miller was one of 40 players in attendance at the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere where he not only learned about the business and marketing side of football, but also suited up in his Bears gameday uniform for the first time. Of course, he shared the moment on Twitter:

Panini America, a sports collectible company, snapped a picture of Miller with fellow rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and quarterback Mason Rudolph (Steelers):

Miller has become something of a standout for the Bears despite not playing a single snap. He's expected to have a big role in an offense that has several new pieces and roles that are up for grabs.

Miller will compete with former first-round pick Kevin White and free-agent addition Taylor Gabriel for reps opposite Allen Robinson. Miller has the necessary skill set to play as both an outside receiver and in the slot which should give him an even greater opportunity to be on the field quite a bit.

The Bears first three draft picks are all vying for starting jobs in 2018. Roquan Smith (first round) is a lock to start next to Danny Trevathan and James Daniels (second round) will start at guard. Miller should make it three-for-three in a draft class that could end up the best of Ryan Pace's tenure.

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Ryan Pace ranked among bottom-third of NFL general managers

Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him. 

According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.

No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears

There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround. 

The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.

Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.

Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.