Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Thanksgiving edition


Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Thanksgiving edition

Food, family and (fantasy) football. That's what we think of when we picture Thanksgiving. 

But since we aren't cooks and likely aren't your family (although we'd like to consider our readers our family), let's just talk about what we are thankful for with fantasy football:

1. The Waiver Wire

2. Stud receivers

3. Quarterbacks outperforming where we drafted them back in August/September (Take some extra turkey this year, Carson. You deserve it). 

4. Tyler Eifert's health.

5. And, of course, Cam.

We could go on and on about what we are thankful for but we'll keep it at that list for now. 

We will have more starts and sits for this Sunday's slate of games on Friday but here are a few bits of advice for Thursday's games.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


James Jones, WR, GB (vs. CHI) - Welcome back, James! After going utterly silent for about a month following a red-hot start Jones was back in the mix Sunday in a win over the Vikings, picking up six catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. The Packers offense may have turned a corner (Eddie Lacy, still alive after much doubt) in that win over the Vikings, and a home primetime game against the Bears secondary should yield more results. Jones scored twice last time the Bears and Packers played, and I'm betting on him finding the end zone again Thursday night. (Mark Strotman)

Zach Miller, TE, CHI (at GB) - Miller is kind of like that dish at Thanksgiving that nobody really knows about but when you taste it you're like "OH MY GOD I NEED MORE." Miller has a great opportunity on Thursday to break out again on a national stage (anyone remember his sick one-handed grab against the Chargers?). The Packers just aren't that great at covering tight ends (check out last week's gashing by Kyle Rudolph) and with Martellus Bennett out, Miller will be in more of a full-time role. Factor in Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte not being 100 percent and Miller may have a large role in the offense come Thanksgiving night. He's worth the start on a short week. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (vs. PHI) - Tate has been a complete and utter disappointment this season, failing to top 80 yards in any game with only one score. However, he turned in his second-best fantasy day of the season in PPR leagues last week (8 rec, 73 yds) and if ever there was a time for him to break out, it would be against the horrendous Eagles defense. The Lions offense and Matt Stafford are starting to show signs of life and the Eagles have given up seven tuddies and 578 yards to opposing WRs over the last three games. Sure, it's a gamble to play Tate, but it's the holidays. Take a chance. (Tony Andracki)


Dez Bryant, WR, DAL (vs. CAR) - There's just something about Carolina. Josh Norman is making himself quite the salary next year with the way that he's been playing this year. He's been taking on some of the best receivers in the NFL and has really slowed them down. Dez could (and likely will) be the next. Bryant hasn't been spectacular in his last two games (90 yards and a touchdown combined) and this game has a low-scoring feel to it. I'd keep away from Bryant this week on short rest. (Paschall)

Devin Funchess, WR, CAR (at DAL) -  It's good to be on Cam Newton's side these days. The Panthers are rolling and showing no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, Devin Funchess is heating up, scoring in two of his last three games. It's what we expected all along after Kelvin Benjamin's torn ACL. And while it's easy to chalk him up as a rookie who's finally having the game slow down for him, this may not be an ideal match up for him. The Cowboys have been sneaky good against the pass this year, and a healthy Tony Romo and Dez Bryant will only keep Cam and Co. on the sidelines longer. I expect this to be a grind-it-out game, which would make Funchess a TD-dependent play. Avoid him tomorrow. You'll have use for him down the stretch. (Strotman)

Tony Romo, QB, DAL (vs. CAR) - Look we all know the Cowboys are going to need to rely heavily on Romo if they're going to truly stay in the postseason race. But don't expect a big fantasy day from the embattled QB against a fantastic Carolina defense. The Panthers are the third-best fantasy defense at limiting opposing QBs and they're even better on the road - allowing just four passing TDs total and 224 passing yards per game. Romo can never be counted out for a big fantasy day, but if you have other options at QB, that's probably the way you'd want to roll. (Andracki)

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Predicting the value of Roquan Smith's rookie contract with Bears

Chicago Bears first-round pick Roquan Smith remains unsigned, a situation that prior to the rookie wage scale would've been cause for concern. With contracts now based on slotting, or where a first-round pick is selected, there's little reason or room for agents to haggle over terms. A holdout isn't expected.

There have been some exceptions to this general principle, however. Joey Bosa, who was selected with the third pick by the Chargers in 2016, held out until August 29 over offset language and his signing bonus. So, while a holdout for Smith is unlikely, it's not impossible.

Assuming he agrees to a contract on time, here's what the terms of his deal should look like, according to CBS Sports:

2018 Cap Number: $3,349,485
Signing Bonus: $11,517,940
Four-year value: $18,477,168

If the numbers are correct, Smith will have the 17th-highest cap hit for the Bears in 2018, according to Spotrac. By comparison, Danny Trevathan has a $7.15 million cap hit this season.

Drafting well is critical for long-term success. If a general manager misses on first-round picks, the cap consequences mount over time. Consider Kevin White, the seventh-overall pick in 2015. He has zero touchdowns in his pro career but has a $5.27 million cap hit this year. Leonard Floyd, the team's first-rounder in 2016, has a $4.30 million cap hit and Mitch Trubisky, last year's second pick overall, is $6.59 million. Pace's four first-round picks, when counting Smith's expected deal, are four of the top-17 paid players on the payroll even though none of them have the production to back it up.

Smith, however, is as close to a bust-free prospect as the Bears have drafted in Pace's tenure. He was considered one of the best pure football players in the entire 2018 draft class and will start immediately alongside Trevathan as a rookie, assuming he's under contract in time to contribute in Week 1.

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

Which Bears have the highest player rating in Madden 19?

The time has come to start counting down to the release of Madden 19. The most popular football video game franchise of all-time is set to release in early August and as is a tradition with the weeks leading up to the game appearing on store shelves, leaks about features and player ratings have started.

Here are the highest rated Bears players in this year's edition:

Adrian Amos leads the way with an 88 rating, followed by Akiem Hicks (85) and Allen Robinson (85). 

Chicago's offense received a 75 overall rating, which should result in a significant challenge for Bears fans trying to score virtual points later this summer. The defense, however, will be stout, coming in with an overall rating of 81. Amos and Hicks have a lot to do with that.

Ratings are subject to change due to injury. Madden 19 is scheduled for release on August 10.