When the Chicago Bears made the off season move to add Brandon Marshall to the offense one would have thought that the “fantasy experts” would be as excited about the potential of the Bears offense as much as Bears fans are excited about the new addition. When looking at where the Bears offensive players are being ranked before the start of preseason its becoming more apparent that the excitement is hibernating in Chicago, and not a widespread excitement sweeping the USA.
One reason which could be for lack of enthusiasm about the new Bears offense could be the offensive coordinator. Mike Tice replacing Mike Martz nationally could be viewed as a huge drop off, even though all reports are that everyone playing in shorts at mini-camp already feels more comfortable under Tice than they ever did under Martz. When Tice was Head Coach for the Minnesota Vikings, their offense ranked in the top 6 for four straight season, and he didn’t get his QB killed so why are the Bears not getting ranked higher?
The second reason could be the last picture people have of the Bears. The last thing most people remember, besides how Caleb Hanie was terrible, is that the stars were all hurt, and Forte is now holding out. Out of sight out of mind usually has to do with friends that move away, or players that don’t end the season healthy. Forte should be ranked higher but the combination of health and holdout must have “experts” placing him lower on the rankings.
The third reason could be…well the Bears offensive history period. Fantasy studs and Bears offensive players are definitely not words that have gone together in the past ten years. Matt Forte has been the most consistent fantasy player in the past decade, if you exclude the Bears defense which has been a top 5 fantasy defense with the turnovers they create and Devin Hester special team returns since 2006.
Here’s a look at how the Marshall effect has not taken place with the experts which could mean you could pick Bears stars up in your draft later than they should go.
Jay Cutler’s Preseason position rankings- ESPN-15th CBS-13 Footballguys-18 Fox-9 In the last two seasons in Denver Broncos with Brandon Marshall as his receiver Cutler threw for 3400 and 4200 yards. With Chicago offensive expectations to be compared to Denver, Cutler is being devalued at an average of 13 or worse. This means that you could pick up the potential of a top 6 QB in the 4th or 5th round of your draft or later if these projections remain throughout the summer.
Matt Forte’s preseason position rankings- ESPN-8 CBS-13 Footballguys-10 Fox-10 Forte ranking is a mixed bag. Even though Tice offense really was run heavy in Minnesota, the offense was TD heavy to the wide receivers. So, adding Marshall into the Randy Moss role of the Tice offense would mean lots of yards for a healthy Forte, but his Touchdown total, though never high with the Bears, should maintain the same level so averaging pick 10 is probably in the ballpark but still on the low end. If your wanting Forte on your roster this year there is always the risk of the holdout, but he will not last past the middle of the 2nd round at the latest.
Brandon Marshall is now reunited with Cutler and gets to play in the Tice offense which should mean lots of explosive plays down the field. Even though he was under utilized in a very bad offense with 2nd string quarterbacks last year, Marshall still averaged 12 fantasy points a game last season for the Miami Dolphins
Brandon Marshall’s preseason position rankings- ESPN-12 CBS-16 Footballguys-21 Fox-10 Most of these are predicting that Marshall will have an average season for Marshall of 1150 yds receiving with 7 Tds. These predictions seem low for what the possibilities could become. Of course, he could come in and put up mediocre numbers like Muhsin Muhammad put up when joining the Bears, but Muhsin didn’t have the talent of Jay Cutler throwing him the ball. In the Tice offense he may not get the amount of receptions that he’s been accustomed to in his career, but he should get more yards and touchdowns than is being projected. Marshall could become a sensational pick if you can get him in the 3rd round or later knowing that he’s always been a productive receiver even in bad offenses, and with Tice calling the plays his ceiling could be a lot higher than most expect.
In conclusion it’s very surprising that the Bears offensive starters aren’t ranked higher in preseason, but this could be to your advantage come draft day! With the emphasis on big plays by Tice, Cutler, Forte, and Marshall could and should end the season in the top 10 in each players position in fantasy points!
Fantasy football drafts are right around the corner. Don’t let your opponents out work you for the championship!!