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Bears fantasy focus

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Dan Parr

dparr@pfwmedia.com
Associate editor

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Posted Aug. 02, 2011 @ 3:21 p.m. ET
By Dan Parr

The Bears' offense struggled last season — it ranked 30th in the league in yards and 21st in points — and it's probably not going to become a powerhouse. The offense does have some players that will be drafted in fantasy leagues, though, and the group could be more productive in the second year of the Mike Martz scheme. We break down the fantasy status of Bears players with the potential to be scooped up in drafts, or monitored on the waiver wire, in this Bears fantasy focus.

QB Jay Cutler: He has No. 1 fantasy QB potential, but has yet to live up to it during his time with the Bears and fits best as a backup in most formats. Owners in very deep leagues that might be considering Cutler as a starter have to keep in mind that Chicago's offensive line could still be a weakness. Plus, Cutler is usually good for a couple meltdowns every season.

RB Matt Forté: One of the league's better all-around backs, Forté gained more than 1,000 yards rushing and 500 yards receiving last season. He's a high-end No. 2 back in most leagues and could be a No. 1 back in deeper formats. Keep an eye on how the Bears handle goal-line carries — Forté's touchdown opportunities could be limited if Marion Barber gets the nod in those situations.

RB Marion Barber: Barber is coming off the least productive season of his six-year career and doesn't play with the same explosiveness he showed earlier in his career. He's a physical back and is going to be used in short-yardage situations, but will only be a factor in fantasy leagues if the Bears make him their goal-line back.

RB Chester Taylor: Taylor was ineffective last season and a resurgent year is highly unlikely. He could be used sparsely and isn't a fantasy factor at this point in his career.

WR Johnny Knox: Heading into his third season, Knox could be entering his prime. He can fly past defenders and pick up yardage in chunks (he gained 18.8 yards per catch last season). He's a high-end No. 3 fantasy receiver in most formats and his numbers should continue to improve if Chicago's offensive line does a better job of protecting Jay Cutler. Knox does disappear at times, however. He was held to 16 yards or less in three games in 2010.

WR Roy Williams: After being released by the Cowboys, Williams decided to reunite with Mike Martz, who was the offensive coordinator during Williams' career season in 2006 with the Lions. Martz speaks glowingly of Williams and still considers him an elite player, but his performance over the past few years suggests otherwise. He should be viewed as a No. 4 fantasy receiver, at best, in most formats.

WR Devin Hester: The arrow is pointing down for Hester. His catch and yardage numbers declined last season and the Bears have struggled to find the balance between his involvement on offense and special-teams duties. He might be drafted late in deep leagues, but his value as a fantasy receiver is minimal.

WR Earl Bennett: If you're looking for a deep sleeper at receiver, Bennett, who made 46 catches for 561 yards last season, is an option to consider. There's buzz about Bennett getting more involved on offense in 2011, but he's still the No. 3 receiver in Chicago and fantasy owners shouldn't get overly hyped about his potential.

Tight end: The Bears traded away their only viable fantasy tight end, dealing Greg Olsen to the Panthers. Matt Spaeth, Kellen Davis and Desmond Clark, who is expected to re-sign with the Bears, are not likely to provide much in the way of fantasy production. They will be there to block, not catch.

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