Bears and Lions fantasy preview

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When it comes to fantasy football, it's necessary to separate your head from your heart. I love the Bears, you love the Bears, we all do. But it's abundantly clear to everyone- well, most people- that this won't be a very good football team in 2008. And if they are, it will be because the defense reestablished itself as one of the league's best. Fantasy football is all about scoring touchdowns, and it's a decent bet that Randy Moss will catch more than the Bears entire offense will score this season. We have just one piece of advice regarding Bears players in fantasy terms: stay away.

The Lions, of course, aren't much better, and their offense will certainly take a hit with the departure of pass happy coordinator Mike Martz. But with Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson on the outside, Jon Kitna is still going to chuck the ball all over the field. Still, those two receivers are the only worthwhile fantasy players Detroit has to offer.

Quarterback
Bears: Kyle Orton!
Lions: Jon Kitna
Stats: Orton, Kitna

How can you not love Kyle Orton? The man embraces everything a ridiculously wealthy professional football player should, most notably absurd facial hair and whiskey. But unlike some other sports, say, bowling, booze doesn't help improve your accuracy in football. Because of that, avoid KO at all costs on draft day. Though he may come in handy when naming your team.

Unless you're in a 12 or 14 team league where everyone starts two quarterbacks, don't draft Kitna, but keep an eye on him as the season progresses. Kitna has been moderately successful since joining Detroit, and it's conceivable that he could have a big season if Calvin Johnson fulfills his immense potential.

Running back
Bears: Matt Forte
Lions: Kevin Smith

Meet the only Bears player worth drafting in fantasy leagues, running back Matt Forte. Forte's value comes not from what he's accomplished on the field or from a lofty draft status, rather, he's pretty much the only running back the Bears have, and everyone knows the offense won't be able to throw the ball. Forte's drawn rave reviews this offseason, and though he probably doesn't have a huge ceiling, you can bank on 1,000ish yards and around six touchdowns. He should be a sixth or seventh round draft pick in most leagues.

The Lions are in a similar situation with Kevin Smith. Detroit actually wanted to draft Forte with its second round selection, but the Bears snapped him up one pick earlier. Smith should get the bulk of the carries for the Lions as a rookie, but he's not as valuable as Forte because Detroit will likely have a pass heavy offense. Smith probably won't be drafted in most fantasy leagues.

Wide Receivers
Bears: Marty Booker, Devin Hester
Lions: Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson
Stats: Booker, Hester, Williams, Johnson

Ah, Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson. It's a shame these two have to play in the Bears' division, otherwise no set of teammates would be more enjoyable to watch. No team boasts a pair of wide outs as explosive as Williams and Johnson, and both should rank among the top 20 receivers in most fantasy rankings. There are only two problems: a) Kitna is still the quarterback, and b) Mike Martz is no longer the offensive coordinator. Still, both will likely be selected near rounds four through six.

Not that anyone needs to be told this, but stay away from Bears receivers. Hester may be worth a shot if his return yards and touchdowns will factor in his scoring, but that won't be the case in most leagues.

Tight ends
Bears: Desmond Clark, Greg Olsen
Lions: Dan Campbell
Stats: Clark, Olsen, Campbell

While tight end is the Bears strongest offensive position, with Clark and Olsen splitting time and catches, neither will make much of a fantasy impact.

Campbell has never caught more than 22 passes in a season.

Defense

If everyone stays healthy, the Bears defense could be a force in fantasy. The same unit has been together since 2004 now, and we've seen them have success in the past. If Urlacher and crew can get back to forcing turnovers and scoring touchdowns, the Bears could be a top five defense.

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I went to the Bears' third preseason game yesterday. You can read my observations on my other site, Tremendous Upside Potential. Bookmark that and read it every day, por favor.

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