2004 could have easily been termed a rebuilding year for the Chicago Bears, but now it has become even more so with the loss of safety Mike Brown and quarterback Rex Grossman. Perhaps the one thing the Bears will benefit most from this season is lowered expectations. Still, there have been a few bright spots, and this team is no longer the fantasy dud it was last year.
|Team Stats (numbers in parentheses are NFL Ranking)|
|Rushing Offense||122.0 (10)||5 (t5)|
|Passing Offense||192.5 (20)||2 (t27)|
|Rushing Defense||119.0 (19)||1 (t5)|
|Passing Defense||252.2 (28)||5 (t22)|
|Turnover Stats||Upcoming Schedule|
|7 takeaways (t10)
8 giveaways (t25)
-1 overall (19)
After the bye week, Chicago faces Washington and Tampa Bay. Initially these looked like tough games, but we are discovering that the Redskins and Bucs are not as good as we thought they would be. Between those two games and San Francisco in week 8, the Bears could come out with two wins. But realistically, this team has no shot at overtaking Minnesota to make the playoffs, and after week 8, the fantasy prospects are mediocre at best against a string of tough defenses.
Jonathan Quinn, QB – Career journeyman Jonathan Quinn was thrust into the starting role when Rex Grossman was lost for the season after a week 3 knee injury against the Vikings. With a total of 4 starts in his 7-year career, it’s best to watch his stats for a few weeks before you consider picking him up. He did have a nice performance against Philadelphia, but he should only be considered as a bye week fill-in.
Thomas Jones, RB – Jones has been one of the best surprises of the season for owners who took a chance on him. In addition to two 100-yard rushing games and 4 touchdowns, Jones has caught 21 passes in his first four games. Not bad for a guy who lasted into the fourth round in many drafts! Jones is the winning factor right now for many teams, but you may want to consider trading him if he has a big game in week 8 against the Niners. His value may be very high, and his numbers could slip significantly against some tougher opponents later in the season.
Anthony Thomas, RB – The A-Train has now come to a complete stop in Chicago. After a magical 2001 rookie year, and even a decent season last year, Thomas has taken a back seat to Jones. And it’s pretty clear that he won’t be leaving that seat unless Jones is injured. If he does get a chance to start, be cautious about using him on your fantasy squad … he is warming the bench for a reason.
David Terrell, WR – A highly-touted draft pick out of Michigan, Terrell struggled to establish himself in the pro game during his first three seasons. But he finally seems to be catching on this year. Although he has not yet scored a touchdown, he has clearly captured the #1 WR role on this team, and he should put up some consistent numbers this year. Good as a #3 or flex option on your fantasy team.
Bobby Wade, WR – This second-year receiver is starting to show some promise, but the Bears’ passing offense simply isn’t good enough to make him a fantasy option.
Desmond Clark , TE – This former Bronco was one of the more highly-rated tight ends in fantasy drafts this year, but his stats thus far have been disappointing. One or two catches per game isn’t going to get it done for your fantasy team, and there are a good number of tight ends this year who have emerged as fantasy options. If you can make a pickup off the wire, there’s no point in waiting around for Clark to do something.
Defense/Special Teams – At this point in the season, the overall stats picture is starting to come into focus, and as you can see above, it’s not looking good for this defense. With no special teams return threat to speak of, you can probably find a better defense on the wire.
The Bottom Line
The Bears certainly aren’t a fantasy owner’s dream, and it appears that they will be out of the playoff hunt by mid-season. But there is some fantasy value on this team, namely Thomas Jones and David Terrell. Be smart about how you use these players, and pay attention to the schedule. A well-timed trade of Jones could easily catapult your fantasy team to the championship.
Next Week… We turn the microscope to one of the early-season surprises in the AFC, the undefeated New York Jets.