Chicago Bears Fantasy Focus Part 5: Bears Defense and Special Teams

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With training camp already in full swing, Fantasy Football is right around the corner.  Most seasons, the Chicago Bears were a Fantasy Football afterthought aside from maybe the Defense and Special Teams.  That will not be the case in 2009.  In this series, we’ll take a look at the Bears you should target for your fantasy football squad.

Bears Defense and Special Teams

In the past, this was THE Bears fantasy ‘player’ to grab.  As a Bears fan, you loved watching Devin do his magic in the return game and the defense shutting down opponents while outscoring the Bears offense with long INT or fumble returns. 

Overall Rank: 125

Position Rank: 6

2008 Defensive Stats: 28 sacks, 22 INT’s, 10 Fumble Recoveries, 4 TD’s, 350 Points Against, 5355 Yards Against

Projected Stats: 28 sacks, 18 INT’s, 8 Fumble Recoveries, 4 TD’s, 365 Points Against, 5395 Yards Against

Upside:Tommie Harris stays healthy and Rod Marinelli can coach up that D-line to put some pressure on opposing quarterbacks.  The secondary comes together and the effect of the Tillman injury is minimal.  The improved offense led by Jay Cutler allows the defense to take more risks and with greater risk come greater rewards.  Devin Hester regains some of the magic from two seasons ago and starts making each kick return “Must See TV” again.

Downside: Aging stars, inexperienced newcomers and health concerns slow down this once elite unit.  The new rules on special teams slow down the return game, which will be adjusting to life with only a limited dose of Devin.

My take: It’s time for a little tough love Bears fans.  As Da Coach famously said, “The past is for cowards and losers.”  This unit did not rank as a top fantasy D/ST (that’s Defense and Special Teams for you amateurs out there) last season and to be perfectly honest, I am not overly optimistic that they return to fantasy glory this year.

Don’t get all down and think the Bears will have a terrible year.  That’s not the case.  You’ve just got to separate ‘real life’ from ‘fake life’ as one of my fellow fantasy owners once said.  You just have to remember that winning NFL games and fantasy games is very different.

I think the defense will hold their own; I’m just not sure that they’re going to be scoring tons of long TD’s.  Their opponents know that they’re trying to strip the ball on every play, so they cover up and protect the rock.  The 30thranked passing defense already had questions in the secondary even before the Peanut Tillman injury.  And while Danieal Manning showed some flashes as a kick returner last season, Devin Hester he is not.  Hester will be focused on being Jay Cutler’s #1 deep threat, so don’t count on him to contribute too much on Special Teams. 

Don’t jump the gun and draft the Bears D too early.  In past years when you really wanted this unit, they’d be the first D/ST off the board, probably around the 6th or 7th round.  You should be safe waiting until the 8th or 9th round if you really want them.

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