Bears

Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 10

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Fantasy Football Start/Sit: Week 10

Hey everybody, welcome back to Start/Sit:

It's getting to that make-or-break time of year.

All those teams on the bubble of playoff spots are basically in a must-win situation each week. Anybody sitting at 7-2 or 8-1 should obviously feel confident about their team, but there is no time for let-up with the playoffs just a few weeks away.

[MORE: Get all your Fantasy Sports coverage for the week here]

Which brings us to a simple point - don't run from your studs at this point in the season.

We got a question on Twitter heading into Week 10 asking who this owner should play (two receivers, two running backs, one flex) between Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller, Justin Forsett, Jordan Matthews, Dez Bryant, A.J. Green, Amari Cooper, Stefon Diggs and Gary Barnidge.

Now's not the time to get too cute.

And if you're one of those teams that's already out of it, don't be a jerk and just forget about your lineup.

You could always play the spoiler role. It's important to dream big:

Anyways, on to this week's start/sit advice:

START

Davante Adams, WR, GB (vs. DET) - One of fantasy football's biggest busts - realistically the hype machine unfairly exploded when Jordy Nelson suffered a torn ACL - this season turned in an encouraging performance last week against the Panthers. His seven-catch, 93-yard performance against one of the league's best pass defenses means big things are in order at home against the Lions. The Packers' run game is a mess right now, meaning Aaron Rodgers will throw early and often. With James Jones' lovely disappearing act, Adams is in line for a solid afternoon. He's a FLEX play with upside. (Mark Strotman)

Antonio Andrews, RB, TEN (vs. CAR) - He's got the ideal situation of being the main back with the Titans but he's just got a brutal matchup against the Panthers. I doubt the Titans offense in general will be able to do much but especially stay away from Andrews, who should watch Marcus Mariota have to throw a lot. (John "The Professor" Paschall)

Blake Bortles, QB, JAX (@ BAL) - The guy is one fire and he's got a heck of a matchup this week against the Ravens. It seems like Allen Hurns should be healthy which will help. Bortles put up good fantasy numbers against the Jets defense last week so what's stopping him this week against a much worse Ravens team? He's on a roll and you should keep him in your lineup. (Paschall)

Kirk Cousins, QB, WAS (vs. NO)I wouldn't normally advocate starting the 23rd-ranked fantasy quarterback, but I can't resist Cousins' matchup this week. The Redskins welcome the New Orleans Saints and their woeful pass defense to the nation's capital on Sunday. The Saints have allowed 10 passing touchdowns in their last two games and have let quarterbacks accumulate 25.1 fantasy points per game this season. Cousins ain't Aaron Rodgers, but he's the best streaming option you'll find in Week 10. (Scott Krinch) 

Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN (vs. HOU) - It's truly remarkable this late into the season we have to discuss whether a healthy first-round pick should be started, but here we are. Hill's carries have decreased each of the last three weeks, including an eight-carry, 13-yard dud last week against the Seahawks. He'll get one more chance to redeem himself this week against a lackluster Texans defense and in a game that could feature the Bengals leading early. That means more carries for Hill, right? I think? Either way, you've got to run him out there this week. If he craps out again, at least you'll have an easy decision to sit him the next two weeks against Arizona and St. Louis. (Strotman)

Brandon LaFell, WR, NE (@ NYG)The veteran wideout hasn't reached the end zone this season (he missed the first five games due to injury), but he's inching closer to a must-start player for the rest of the season. LaFell turned his five catches in to a respectable 102 yards against the Washington Redskins last weekend. His 24 targets over the past three games is just one fewer than Patriots leading receiver Julian Edelman, a number that clearly shows that Tom Brady has trust in him. The Giants soft pass defense should leave a nice opening for La'Fell's first 2015 touchdown. (Krinch)

Peyton Manning, QB, DEN (vs. KC) - He's been better since the Broncos' Bye and now draws a cushy matchup with the Chiefs, who were giving up the most points to opposing QBs before they cleaned it up the last three weeks (only three TDs). Of course, those last three games came against Teddy Bridgewater, Landry Jones and Matthew Stafford, so not exactly fantastic competition. With so many QBs iffy plays this week either because of Byes (Philip Rivers, Matt Ryan, Andrew Luck), or bad matchups (Marcus Mariota, Carson Palmer, Alex Smith), Manning is a sneaky play this week. (Tony Andracki)

[MORE: Complete Fantasy Football coverage at Rotoworld]

Ryan Mathews, RB, PHI (vs. MIA) - Dan Campbell taking over the Dolphins was the best thing to happen to fantasy football this season. Not only because of the increased effectiveness of Miami's offensive players like Lamar Miller, Jarvis Landry and Ryan Tannehill, but also because the Dolphins defense has suddenly become Swiss cheese, allowing 24, 23 and 40 points to opposing running backs the last three weeks. The Eagles have suddenly become the offense we thought they could be earlier in the season, proving both Mathews and DeMarco Murray can be effective at the same time. Expect Mathews to take advantage of his touches again this week. (Andracki)

Jordan Reed, TE, WAS (vs. NO) - Reed moves like a receiver but technically plays tight end for the Redskins (and hopefully your fantasy team). He's been one of Cousins' favorite targets all year long and should thrive again this week against the putrid Saints defense. New Orleans just gave up three touchdowns to Delaine Walker and Anthony Fasano so what's to say they can slow down Jordan Reed? He will continue his roll this week so get him in all of your lineups. (Paschall)

James Starks, RB, GB (vs. DET)Starks has moved ahead of Lacy in the Packers' running back pecking order, which is either Green Bay's way of rewarding Starks for his recent play or it could be their way of trying to motivate Lacy. Regardless, Starks numbers in two of his last three games (25.7 vs. SD, 18.2 vs. CAR) can't be ignored. Even if it becomes a split backfield on Sunday, Starks should have a productive afternoon against the Lions, who are allowing 23.3 points per game to opposing fantasy running backs. (Krinch) 

Charcandrick West, RB, KC (@ DEN) - Charcandrick suddenly looks like a must-play each week just based on situation alone. He's not as good as Jamaal Charles, but in three games since Charles was injured, West has racked up 290 total yards and two scores, including back-to-back games of more than 100 yards and a touchdown. So much is made of the Broncos' defense, but they're right in the middle of the pack against fantasy RBs, so start West with confidence this week. It's not like he's got any true competition for touches with the Chiefs. (Andracki)

SIT

Travis Benjamin, WR, CLE (@ PIT) - Well, it was fun while it lasted. I personally thought we had a breakout star in Benjamin after he caught nine passes for 117 yards against the Broncos in Week 6. Since that game, Benjamin has totaled 10 receptions for 95 yards and no scores; in fact, he hasn't scored since Week 3. Josh McCown under center will help, and he has a nice matchup against the Steelers secondary. But this late in the season you need a confident lineup, and you shouldn't have any in Benjamin producing at this point. Maybe he gets back on track after a Week 11 bye. Or maybe he was a nice flash in the pan. (Strotman)

Derek Carr, QB, OAK (vs. MIN) - This one was tough for me. Carr has been a revelation for the Raiders and appears to be a mainstay under center in Oakland. In his last three games, Carr has tossed 11 touchdowns to just one interception, moving into Top 10 fantasy quarterback status. I'm going to guess that streak ends (before he starts a new one in Detroit in Week 11) when the Raiders welcome the Vikings to the Bay Area this weekend. The Vikings are allowing a measly 14.5 points to opposing fantasy quarterbacks this season. Look for a different option at quarterback this week if you've got Carr on your roster. (Krinch)

Jay Cutler, QB, CHI (@ STL) - We talk a lot about the Broncos and Seahawks pass defense (as you can see in the video above and in my Palmer write-up below), but the Rams get no respect. In eight games this season, St. Louis has allowed five passing TDs. FIVE. That is absolutely nutty. They haven't allowed a tuddie through the air since Week 5 and have forced opposing QBs under 10 fantasy points in three games this season, including two of the last three contests. It doesn't matter how great Jay Cutler is playing for the Bears right now, there's a very slim chance of him having an actual decent fantasy day. (Andracki)

Vernon Davis, TE, DEN (vs. KC) - Not just yet. After seeing just one target in his Broncos debut, Davis should see more than the eight snaps he got last week when the Broncos play the Chiefs. But I'm still not confident using him in an important week for playoff contenders. I'm still confident Davis will be a difference maker down the stretch for owners who were smart enough to scoop him up. I just don't think the timing's right yet, anxious as you may be to deploy him. (Strotman)

Chris Johnson, RB, ARI (vs. SEA) - Johnson has been a nice comeback story and one of the better waiver wire pickups of the year for fantasy owners. But just because the Cardinals are coming off a bye doesn't mean that he's in for a big week. The Seahawks defense is known for the "Legion of Boom" but their run defense has been extremely stout this year, only allowing one running back to score a rushing touchdown against them (Jonathan Stewart). They don't exactly allow a lot of 100-yard rushers either. I just don't feel comfortable with Johnson in my lineup unless you're facing a desperate situation on your roster. (Paschall)

Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI (@ STL) - Nice "debut" eh? Yes, it wasn't Langford's first time on a NFL field but in his first extended look, Langford looked great....against the Chargers. Key word in that last sentence: Chargers. San Diego's defense is terrible and Langford did what he had to do against them. The Rams are far from a bad defense. Their defense line is so stout that I'm worried about the Bears being able to run the ball. The other issue is Ka'Deem Carey got more looks than I expected and that got me feeling somewhat uncomfortable about Langford's fantasy value going forward. If you got other options than Langford, go for it. (Paschall)

Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC (@ DEN) - Maclin has been a boom or bust fantasy player thus far in his first season with the Chiefs, which isn't very surprising considering he was the same type of player with the Eagles. Outside of Maclin, the Chiefs literally have zero options at wide receiver. And their Week 10 opponent, the Denver Broncos, have allowed just one touchdown to an opposing wideout this season. Yeah, I'd stay far away from Maclin in this one. (Krinch)

Darren McFadden, RB, DAL (@ TB) - I've been wrong about McFadden before, but 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.' I promise if McFadden goes off this weekend I won't list him as a sit the rest of the season. The Cowboys are relying heavily on DMC with Matt Cassel throwing ducks out there. Eventually the volume of carries are going to take a toll on the injury-prone McFadden. If you see the Bucs on the schedule and think it's a great matchup, think again. Tampa Bay hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown since Sept. 27, a string of five games. (Krinch)

Carson Palmer, QB, ARI (@ SEA) - Palmer is still a Top 5 QB in most fantasy formats, even after a Week 9 Bye. But the Seahawks defense is so formidble, even Palmer is a tough start. The Seahawks are already a great pass defense (with zero TD passes allowed last two games and only three tuddies in the last six games), but they're even better at home. In three games in Seattle, the Seahawks have allowed QBs to throw just 535 yards and one TD. Sure, one of those games was the Jimmy Clausen-led disaster in Week 3, but the Seahawks are money no matter who they go up against. (Andracki)

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Jonathan Stewart, RB, CAR (@ TEN) - Did you know in PPR leagues, the Titans boast the third-best defense against opposing running backs? And there's another important factor for why Stewart is on the "Sit" list: He's just not good. I won't even use a qualifier like "that" in front of good. He is not good. Period. End of story. We need to stop acting like Stewart is a must-start each week in fantasy just because of his high volume of carries (at least 20 in four straight games). He has just three touchdowns on the season and is averaging only 3.9 yards a carry. Oh yeah, and he has recorded just eight catches in eight games. Stay away. Far away. (Andracki)

Golden Tate, WR, DET (@ GB) - I'm about done waiting for the Lions offense to return to form. They looked dreadful in London and maybe a bye week does them good but I can't count on them this week. Tate especially worries me because of his numbers against the Packers. Last year in two games, he combined for eight catches, 96 yards but no touchdowns. He's also yet to top 100 yards receiving this year and only has one touchdown. If you have some other sleeper options on your roster, I might go with them over Tate. (Paschall)

Even without practicing, Allen Robinson is making a strong first impression with the Bears

Even without practicing, Allen Robinson is making a strong first impression with the Bears

Before Bears wide receivers coach Mike Furrey met with the media on Wednesday, Allen Robinson was curious what his position coach would say about him in public. 

“I just told him, I don’t know you,” Furrey quipped. “Who’s Allen Robinson?”

Furrey, of course, knows who Robinson is. But the point behind that joke is that Furrey, the Bears’ court wide receivers coach in four years, is still getting to know all of his receivers — let alone the one who hasn’t participated in a practice yet. For all the positivity that's easy to find around Halas Hall these days, the Bears' biggest offseason acquisition hasn't taken a rep yet. 

The good news for the Bears, of course, is that Robinson’s past play speaks for itself. He combined for 153 catches, 2,883 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016, and has been adamant he’ll return to that high level of play when he’s cleared to practice. The Bears were confident enough in Robinson’s medicals to guarantee him a little over $25 million in March, per Spotrac, about a month before they let Cameron Meredith sign with the New Orleans Saints largely over medical concerns (Meredith’s torn ACL was viewed as more serious than Robinson’s, in short). 

So the getting-to-know-you phase for Furrey and Robinson is largely taking place off the field in the meeting rooms of Halas Hall. 

“What a great young man,” Furrey said. “He’s come in here, obviously, rehabbing and doing all those things. But he’s alert, he comes to meetings, he’s ready to go. Really, really smart, you can tell that from the beginning and he’s a professional.”

What Furrey, in particular, likes about Robinson is that he’s an “alpha,” but is far more than all talk and no action. 

“And a lot of times that alpha talks a lot and they don’t really put it out there,” Furrey said. “He kind of has that alpha quietness to him. He understands what’s going on, you can look at him and you just kind of get that feel of he has a great understanding of how to approach this game at this level. Obviously he’s been highly successful for a couple years with some big numbers, but he doesn’t act like that. He’s still hungry, he wants to learn, and I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder, which is a good trait to have too. So we’re excited about that.”

The expectation all along has been for Robinson to be cleared to fully participate in training camp practices. So while coach Matt Nagy said last week Robinson is “ahead of the game,” that may not mean he takes part in the final round of OTAs next week or veteran minicamp the first week of June. 

But while Robinson can’t prove himself to his new coaches on the field yet, he’s doing the right things off the field to make a positive first impression. 

“He knows you gotta come in early, he knows you gotta be the last one to leave, he knows you gotta study,” Furrey said. “It doesn’t matter five years in, six years in, you gotta take notes. It doesn’t matter if you hear it 10 times, you just gotta keep taking notes. He’s been really good at that, and I’ve been really impressed with that. I’ve been able to get on the field with him a little bit, just kind of throwing some balls to him, and I didn’t know he was that big. But obviously we’re excited for it to happen out there.” 

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Protection Issues: Bears O-line ranked 21st in NFL

Mitch Trubisky has been set up for a huge season in 2018 with all the firepower the Chicago Bears added on offense. Allen Robinson, Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller and Trey Burton will give the second-year quarterback a variety of explosive targets to generate points in bunches.

None of the headline-grabbing moves will matter, however, if the offensive line doesn't do its job. 

According to Numberfire.com, the Bears' starting five could be the offense's Achilles heel. They were ranked 21st in the NFL and described as poor in pass protection.

Last year, the Bears ranked 26th in Sack NEP per drop back and 23rd in sack rate. These issues were especially apparent after Trubisky took over. In the games that [Kyle] Long played, their sack rate was 8.2%. It was actually 7.2% in the games that he missed. They struggled even when Long was healthy.

The Bears added Iowa's James Daniels in the second round of April's draft and he's expected to start at guard alongside Long. Cody Whitehair will resume his role as the starting center, with Charles Leno, Jr. and Bobby Massie at offensive tackle.

If Long comes back healthy and Daniels lives up to his draft cost, they should be a good run-blocking team from the jump. But Long has played just 18 games the past two years and is entering his age-30 season, so that's far from a lock. On top of that, the pass blocking was suspect last year and remains a mystery entering 2018.

The biggest addition to the offensive line is Harry Hiestand, the accomplished position coach who returns to Chicago after once serving in the same role under Lovie Smith from 2005-2009. He most recently coached at Notre Dame and helped develop multiple first-round picks. He's going to have a huge impact.

The good news for the Bears is they weren't the lowest-ranked offensive line in the NFC North. The Vikings came in at No. 25. The Packers checked-in at No. 13, while the Lions were 16th.