I’m halfway through the 32 Teams in 32 Days series, and today I’ve got a team that looks very different on offense compared to last year.
This off-season, the Bears made a splash by trading for wide receiver Brandon Marshall, reuniting him with quarterback Jay Cutler. The last time the two were together, Marshall caught over 100 passes for 1,265 yards and 6 touchdowns.
And they also signed running back Michael Bush. Matt Forte evidently has a deal done with the Bears, so it’s now going to be interesting to see how they use the two talented backs.
With all of the movement, the question becomes: Are the players on the Bears’ offense officially ready to be fantasy must-haves?
The player on the Bears that I’m highest on is…
Brandon Marshall. I mentioned it in the intro, but Marshall was pretty unbelievable when he played with Cutler. He had three straight seasons with 100-plus receptions. And in each of those seasons, Marshall had over 1,100 yards receiving.
The one knock on Marshall throughout his career has been his ability to get into the end zone. He’s always been regarded as one of the more talented pass catchers in the NFL, but his lack of end zone awareness has some people puzzled. He’s had a 10-touchdown season just once in his career, and during his two years in Miami, Marshall scored just 9 times.
I’m a fan of drafting fantasy players based on yardage, targets and receptions. Marshall will get you all that. And while you’re going to have to have a little luck for him to get up to 10 touchdowns, he is in a division that will surely yield high scoring games. Marshall has a real opportunity in being a top-5 fantasy wideout this year, and is a must-have in a PPR league.
A late-round value pick I like a lot is…
Jay Cutler. I think that Cutler could easily be this year’s “late-round quarterback”. And it’s because of what I said with Marshall.
The last time these two guys were together, Cutler finished as the 4th best fantasy quarterback. I’m not sure if he can get to that point this season due to the immense talent at quarterback, but I do believe that there is some crazy good value for a guy that is currently going in the 9th round and is ranked 14th among quarterbacks.
Would you really be surprised if Cutler finishes ahead of a quarterback like Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, Phillip Rivers or Ben Roethlisberger? Then why would you draft one of those players 3 or 4 rounds ahead of him?
The signing of Matt Forte doesn’t necessarily deter Cutler’s value either. Forte has been one of the most successful receiving running backs since entering the league. It’s easy yardage for a guy like Cutler who may be under some pressure with a poor offensive line.
I’m staying away from…
Michael Bush. It’s really because I don’t know exactly how they’re going to use him. And I’d rather not try to guess.
An 8th round draft selection seems too high for a backup running back who’s behind an All Pro player. I expect this ADP to decrease with the signing of Forte, but who knows by how much. Consider him having the same value as he did in Oakland when Darren McFadden was healthy. It’s the smartest way to go.
The one word to describe the 2012 Bears is…
Potential. I think there’s a real possibility for the Bears’ offense to make huge strides in 2012.
Jay Cutler is healthy. If he can stay upright, he’ll definitely have a solid season with his former teammate and star, Brandon Marshall. And although I don’t see Michael Bush as a fantasy starter, he’s going to still ease the load on stud running back Matt Forte, who should be an RB1 in all leagues.
Look for the Bears to do well this year in fantasy while competing in a division with some high-powered offenses.