Coby Fleener

Bears open season against defending NFC champion Falcons, check out full 2017 schedule

Bears open season against defending NFC champion Falcons, check out full 2017 schedule

Week 1: vs. Atlanta Falcons (Sunday, Sept. 10, 12 p.m.)

A very good team got stronger in its defensive core with addition of defensive tackle Dontari Poe to help one of NFL's worst run defenses. Super Bowl losers can struggle the next year and Falcons need to get past devastating loss to the New England Patriots.

Moon's call: L

Week 2: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Sunday, Sept. 17, 12 p.m.)

The Bucs are difficult case study in what the Bears haven't been able to do over the past several seasons: get the franchise arrow pointing conclusively up. Tampa Bay was 2-14 in 2014 while the Bears were collapsing under Marc Trestman, got the quarterback thing right by selecting Jameis Winston No. 1 overall and have gone 6-10 and 9-7 the past two seasons, missing the 2016 playoffs only by a tiebreaker. The Week 10 game vs. the Bears last season was a Jay Cutler low point.

Moon's call: L

Week 3: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Sept. 24, 12 p.m.)

One of two 11-win opponents (Falcons) for the 2017 Bears. The Steelers haven't been sub-500 since 2003 — when Ben Roethlisberger arrived — and reached the playoffs the past three seasons. May be toughest opponent on Bears schedule.

Moon's call: L

Week 4: at Packers (Thursday, Sept. 28, 7:25 p.m.)

Bears have produced surprises — good and bad — in Lambeau, including going up 10-6 early in the second half of their game in Green Bay last year with a defensive touchdown before losing Brian Hoyer and Kyle Long to arm injuries and collapsing defensively.

Moon's call: L

Week 5: vs. Minnesota Vikings (Monday, Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m.)

Jay Cutler's last Bears win was over the Vikings, who've shaken up their roster, signing new offensive tackles' Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers and running back Latavius Murray to improve the offense, and underachieving defensive end Datone Jones from Green Bay for the defensive line.

Moon's call: W

Week 6: at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, Oct. 15, 12 p.m.)

A top-10 defense and a stable quarterback situation (Joe Flacco) make Ravens a consistent threat, and beating the Bears to sign safety Tony Jefferson upgrades their secondary. Credit Ravens for creative thinking, going by cruise ship to game in London rather than by airplane.

Moon's call: L

Week 7: vs. Carolina Panthers (Sunday, Oct. 22, 12 p.m.)

Another sufferer of the Super Bowl curse now looking to regain dominance, bringing back Julius Peppers and Mike Adams to defense. Head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman can't afford another underachieving year with Cam Newton in place.

Moon's call: W

Week 8: at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, Oct. 29, 12 p.m.)

The Saints traded Brandin Cooks to the Patriots but Drew Brees, Bears GM Ryan Pace's template for a franchise quarterback, predicts Saints' rise despite being sub-.500 in four of the last five seasons. Coby Fleener is matchup problem for Bears, who haven't handled good pass-catching tight ends well.

Moon's call: W

Week 9: Bye

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Week 10: vs. Green Bay Packers (Sunday, Nov. 12, 12 p.m.)

The Packers underwent massive offseason changes, and new tight end Martellus Bennett adds a threat but the Bears simply need to end second-half collapses regardless of specific Packers on the field. As long as Aaron Rodgers dresses, the Bears remain underdogs.

Moon's call: L

Week 11: vs. Detroit Lions (Sunday, Nov. 19, 12 p.m.)

Matthew Stafford directed eight comeback wins in 2016 but the Lions lost their final three games and were blown out at Seattle in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Bears have lost seven of last eight to Lions. Turnover on the offensive line makes the Lions offense an unknown until the parts mesh.

Moon's call: W

Week 12: at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Nov. 26, 12 p.m.)

Eagles made their big quarterback move in least year's NFL Draft (Carson Wentz) and handled Bears easily in Soldier Field. Now Bears have to deal with motivated Alshon Jeffery, presuming injury issues don't return for the talented wide receiver.

Moon's call: W

Week 13: vs. San Francisco 49ers (Sunday, Dec. 3, 12 p.m.)

"The Brian Hoyer Bowl" is probably a touch strong for this meeting of 2016 bottom-feeders, both making wholesale changes and owning top-3 picks going into the draft. The 49ers were the Bears' only victim over final eight games last season. Kyle Shanahan becomes fourth head coach in past four years in down-spiral since Jim Harbaugh.

Moon's call: W

Week 14: at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, Dec. 10, 12 p.m.) 

Bengals flop in playoffs but they get there under Marvin Lewis (6 of last 8 years). And 11 picks in the 2017 draft should add talent to a good core of defensive tackle Geno Atkins, quarterback Andy Dalton and wide receiver A.J. Green.

Moon's call: L

Week 15: at Lions (Saturday, Dec. 16, 3:30 p.m.)

Bears have lost four straight in Ford Field, the last two by field goals, including Week 14 last season when Josh Bellamy dropped a pass for a fourth-down conversion, all this after the Bears rallied from 10 down to lead 17-13 but could not stop a 76-yard go-ahead Lions drive.

Moon’s call: L

Week 16: vs. Cleveland Browns (Sunday, Dec. 24, 12 p.m.)

The Browns have lost 13 straight away from their lakefront as quarterback issues fester — cutting ties with Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, The Browns have had 26 different starting quarterbacks since 1999. And now they have Brock Osweiler after his failed trip to Houston, plus an expected addition via the draft.

Moon's call: W

Week 17: at Vikings (Sunday, Dec. 31, 12 p.m.)

Bears haven't won in Minnesota since 2011 and their last two losses there were by 21 and 28 points, as Vikings have been on the rise and Bears on the decline both during recent seasons and as competitive franchises. Bears desperately need prove-it road win to start regaining relevance in NFC North.

Moon's call: W

Moon’s season prediction: 8-8

Fantasy Football: 2016 tight end sleepers and busts

Fantasy Football: 2016 tight end sleepers and busts

A few years ago it was Gronk and Jimmy Graham. Now it's Gronk and ... well, nobody.

The Patriots All-Pro tight end is in a class of his own at the tight end position.

However, that second tier is stacked with more than serviceable players at the position, including Jordan Reed, Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and Coby Fleener.

Snagging one of those five will be difficult if your draft strategy doesn't include taking a tight end before Round 6.

Don't panic if you can't land a top tight end though. The CSN Fantasy crew offers up some input on who to target, which sleepers to keep an eye on and who to stay away from for the 2016 season.

For specific draft questions, drop us a line on Twitter @CSNFantasy or use #CSNFantasy and we'll give you our take.

Top Targets

Coby Fleener, NO: A chance of scenery was needed for Fleener. After four years of subpar play and sharing targets with Dwayne Allen in Indianapolis, the former second-round draft pick signed a lucrative deal with New Orleans this past offseason. Gifted with tantalizing talent from purely a receiving standpoint, Fleener appears poised for a breakout season with Drew Brees now slinging him the rock. Past history shows a chance of bust potential, but I believe Fleener is well worth his 7th round ADP. — Scott Krinch

Travis Kelce, KC: C'mon, did you really expect anything less?? Kelce's my boy and I'm still all-in on this physical freak. Kelce caught 72 balls last year on 100 targets and his 875 yards were a nice addition from a tight end. The only knock on him is his lack of tuddies, with only five last season (and only three after Week 1). If Kelce finds the endzone just a couple more times, he could easily be the top tight end not named Rob Gronkowski and yet Kelce is going in the sixth round and later in drafts. — Tony Andracki

​[RELATED: 2016 Fantasy Football quarterback sleepers and busts]


Martellus Bennett, NE: Remember when Bennett was considered just outside the Top 5 fantasy tight ends? Going into this season, he's on the outside looking in, and even going undrafted in some leagues. I get that he has to share targets with Gronk, but the Patriots have proven they can make it work (Aaron Hernandez, Timothy Wright, Scott Chandler) with two-tight end sets. Don't be surprised if Bennett returns Top 10 value at his position when all is said and done this season. — SK

Clive Walford, OAK: Walford is in his second year in an ascending offense and the young tight end looks on track to become Derek Carr's third option behind Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. In the final five games of 2015, Carr looked Walford's way 26 times, turning it into 15 receptions for 178 yards. Those are still modest numbers, but it illustrates Walford's emerging role in the offense. A breakout is coming and all signs point to this season for Walford and Carr. — TA

​[RELATED: 2016 Fantasy Football wide receiver sleepers and busts]


Antonio Gates, SD: Gates is a surefire Hall of Famer, but "Father Time" is finally starting to catch up with him. Yeah, 56 receptions for 630 yards and five touchdowns is nothing to scoff at, but the 36-year-old started to show major signs of decline last season. For being the 10th tight end off the boards in the majority of fantasy leagues, Gates draft position scares the hell out of me. Plus, San Diego's second-round draft pick Hunter Henry should be ready to contribute immediately which will diminish Gates' targets. — SK

Delanie Walker, TEN: Having a career season at age 31 isn't so much what gets me here, but more so the fact that he was never worth owning in fantasy prior to his age 30 breakout season. Walker is an aging tight end and even though he's had back-to-back good years, the Titans have other, younger receiving options and have stated many times they are going to be pounding the rock on the ground with Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray. It wouldn't take much of a regression for Walker to wind up outside the Top 10 among fantasy TEs. — TA