Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Chicago Bears

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<p> Fantasy Football 2012: Breaking Down the Chicago Bears</p>

What can the Chicago Bears do for you this fantasy season? Check out Athlon Sports' team report as we break down the rookies, veteran players to watch and avoid, fantasy playoff schedule and more to help you get ready for the 2012 season.

Inside the Locker Room
with Bob LeGere, Daily (Ill.) Herald

Who will be more affected by their season-ending injury last fall, Jay Cutler or Matt Forte?
It’s unlikely that either player will have a problem. Forte came back from his sprained knee and played in the Pro Bowl in February, so his physical status isn’t in question. There are also no indications that Cutler has any lingering problems from his thumb injury. But because he could be susceptible to re-injuring the thumb every time he takes a snap from under center, there’s a slim chance he could be adversely affected.

Brandon Marshall caught 206 passes in two years as a starter with Jay Cutler in Denver. He caught 167 passes in two years in Miami. Which Marshall will owners be drafting in 2012?
Forté has caught over 50 passes in each of his four seasons and was on pace for 70 last season before he was hurt. The Bears want to involve the tight ends more this year, and they still want to utilize Devin Hester. And Earl Bennett will also be involved. So Marshall is more likely to have 80-some catches than 100 or so.

Is there a tight end on this roster worth drafting?
Probably not, even though new offensive coordinator Mike Tice will throw to the tight ends more than his predecessor Mike Martz did in 2011. Kellen Davis led the team with five TD catches last season, and he averaged a respectable 11.4 yards per catch, but he had a total of just 18 receptions.

Athlon's Best Bets

Sleeper: Michael Bush, RB
Deep-Sleeper: Earl Bennett, WR
Overvalued: Matt Forte, RB
Top Rookie: Alshon Jeffery, WR
Bounce-Back: Jay Cutler, QB
Top IDP: Charles Tillman, CB

2012 Draft Class

1. Shea McClellin DE 6-3 260 Boise State
2. Alshon Jeffery WR 6-3 216 South Carolina
3. Brandon Hardin SS 6-3 222 Oregon State
4. Evan Rodriguez TE 6-2 239 Temple
6. Isaiah Frey CB 5-11 190 Nevada
7. Greg McCoy CB 5-10 178 TCU

Fantasy Impact: The wild card of the Bears’ draft is second-round selection Alshon Jeffery. The South Carolina product had a standout sophomore campaign in 2010 but caught only 49 passes in 2011. Jeffery isn’t likely to have much fantasy value in 2012, especially with Chicago’s acquisition of Brandon Marshall. Julius Peppers is entrenched at one end spot, but the Bears needed another player to help get after the quarterback. Shea McClellin should bolster the pass rush off the edge and is a player to monitor in IDP leagues. The Bears lack an elite tight end, which could allow Evan Rodriguez to see playing time right away.

Fantasy Playoff Run: Weeks 14-16 (at MIN, GB, at ARI)

Chicago, please keep Jay Cutler upright. Two games in domes and one at home make for an appetizing postseason schedule. Add in Minnesota’s and Green Bay’s ranks against fantasy QBs (32nd and 28th, respectively), and it gets even more appealing. Green Bay went defense with its first six picks of the draft, and Minnesota added two rookies to its secondary in the first three rounds of the draft.

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