COMMENTARY | Congratulations, you made it to your fantasy football league's championship game -- I hope you weren't planning on having the Chicago Bears help earn your virtual hardware.
The Bears currently control their own destiny in the NFC North division, and, depending on what the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers do in the early games on Sunday, head coach Marc Trestman has said he is open to the idea of resting his starters during their Sunday night showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles.
If the Lions lose and the Packers win, Chicago would have zero incentive to play anyone of value because, win or lose, the division title will still come down to their Week 17 home game against Green Bay.
If both the Packers and Lions win, Chicago will need to win to keep control of its destiny, in which case the Sunday night game would become like an unofficial playoff game for the Bears.
If both the Packers and the Lions lose their games, the Bears would go into their matchup with the Eagles with a chance to lockup a playoff berth with a victory.
If you are like me, and you have been riding Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery all the way to your league's title game, then Sunday will present a serious dilemma for you too. If the worst case scenario plays out and the Bears do rest their starters, fantasy owners will need to have bench players ready to be inserted at a moment's notice. The problem is that the Bears have the Sunday night game, meaning virtually every other team in the NFL will have already played. The only other game left on the schedule will be the Monday night game between the San Francisco 49ers and Atlanta Falcons, which will leave very few options from which to choose.
Quarterback: Josh McCown, Chicago Bears
For those owners thinking about starting Jay Cutler, the easy solution would be to go pick up Josh McCown just in case Trestman finds himself in a situation where he would be able to rest the often-injured Cutler. This would be an even trade seeing as how McCown has thrown nine touchdown passes against only one interception in the four games proceeding Cutler's return to the gridiron.
Running Back: Michael Bush, Chicago Bears
Bush has been one of the lone offensive players for Chicago this season that has not benefited from the Trestman offense. He was brought in as a big-bodied bruiser who could vulture goal line touchdowns and close games when tough yards were needed, but he has managed just 166 rushing yards this year.
I don't love this pickup, but, if Forte doesn't play, Bush could be your best option. He did have an impressive 40-yard TD run against the Cleveland Browns in Week 15, but recorded only four total yards on his other two carries.
Running Back: Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons
Five weeks ago, Rodgers would have been the obvious pickup; however, since Steven Jackson has returned from a hamstring injury that kept him sidelined for much of the season, Atlanta's speedster has been relegated to a mop-up role. Rodgers hasn't seen double-digit carries since Week 5, and Jackson even poses a threat to him in the passing game. If it comes down to it, owners may just have to pickup Rodgers and hope he is able to break a big play on one of his handful of touches.
Running Back: Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
If you are in a PPR league, pickup Rodgers; Hunter has exactly two receptions on the season. If Forte rests, Bush would still be the most valuable player since he would be the only available starter, however, Hunter does get regular touches in the 49ers' offense. Even in a backup role, San Fran's third-year rusher had eight carries for 40 yards last week. With Frank Gore always an injury risk, Hunter could be an interesting gamble.
Wide Receiver: Earl Bennett, Chicago Bears
I would feel okay if I had to start Bennett in the event Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery take a seat. Bennett has been a reliable No. 3 wide receiver all season long, and has accumulated 30 catches and four touchdowns on the year. Bennett is currently riding a hot streak, scoring touchdowns in each of the Bears last two games.
Wide Receiver: Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears
Don't let the fact that Wilson has exactly one catch for three yards on the season fool you. At 6-foot-4, the rookie wide out would be the receiver to step into Marshall and Jeffery's shoes as the deep threat and jump-ball specialist in the event of wholesale changes to Chicago's starting lineup.
Wide Receivers: Harry Douglas (Falcons), Michael Crabtree (49ers)
These two are listed together because it is not likely they would still be available in your league, but it would be worth your time to check.
Douglas has had a breakout season for the Falcons in the wake of injuries to Roddy White and Julio Jones, but the return of White has seen Douglas' production drop to just 57 yards over the last two games. There is a chance impatient owners gave him the quick drop.
As for Crabtree, the 49ers' star receiver returned to action three weeks ago and has continued to show signs of life. He is averaging six targets and 51 yards per game. If he is still available, he would be a nice backup plan to have on the bench.
Tight End: Zach Ertz, Philadelphia Eagles
Ertz is the one and only viable tight end option to go with if Martellus Bennett isn't going to play. Considering the fact that two of his last five games saw him record zero catches on zero targets, Ertz could give you nothing, but he did average 52 yards receiving in the other three games.
Defense: If you have been playing the Bears' defense you didn't even make the consolation bracket, so it doesn't matter anyway.
Dalton Russell has covered the Chicago Bears in print and online media since 1998. He lives just outside the shadow of the iconic architecture of Soldier Field.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Philadelphia Eagles
- Marc Trestman
- Michael Bush
- Alshon Jeffery
- Green Bay Packers
- Jacquizz Rodgers
- Atlanta Falcons
- Josh McCown