Fantasy Fueling Fields Optimism, Rodgers Finally Feeling Our Pain, Ditka's Day, and Other Bears Bullets

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Fantasy Fueling Fields Optimism, Rodgers Finally Feeling Our Pain, Ditka’s Day, and Other Bears Bullets

Chicago Bears

I’m so happy the NBA returns TONIGHT. And not just because we’ll get stuff like this from Inside the NBA, which I maintain is the best show on television:

  • I didn’t think I’d use fantasy football projections to find optimism for Justin Fields after the mini-bye. But here I am ready to share some positive vibes that are rooted in fantasy, but relevant to Fields’ development moving forward. If you’re a fantasy player, you already know Tuesdays are for setting your priority waiver claims. Over at PFF, Nathan Jahnke highlights waiver wire targets who should be on your radar. Near the top of his quarterbacks is Justin Fields. You probably weren’t expecting it. And I can’t blame you. But Fields’ arrow has been pointing up in recent weeks *AND* there is some long-term play potential here. But don’t take it from me, Jahnke’s explainer does the heavy lifting for us.
  • “His PFF grade has improved as the season progressed.” “He’s run for at least 47 yards in each of his last four games.” “His last two games have been his best two in terms of completions and passing yards.” “Chicago has a few favorable matchups over the next month, making him a solid option during bye weeks.” All of the things in between quotation marks are what you’re looking for at this point of the fantasy season as your team tries to navigate bye week minefields. But it’s also what we want out of Fields moving forward.
  • Improvement in play as the season goes along? Good stuff. An increase in rushing yards? That is good too, but would be better if it was more as a result of scheme and design and less of a product of a line that allows pressures at a dizzying rate. There might be conflicting opinions on strength of schedule (more on that momentarily), but the Bears have games coming up against the Dolphins, Lions (twice!), Falcons, Vikings, and Packers — who rank among the bottom half in QB passer rating allowed. Sure, the Bears fumbled the bag against Washington. But if Fields continues growing, then maybe he’ll be better positioned to take advantage of these defenses.
  • Ian Haritz (PFF) serves up a reminder that Fields threw *TWO* passes worthy of being game-winning TD tosses, but still saw the Bears show up in the “L” column. Yes, I know, the Ryan Griffin throw is going to gnaw at everyone. But that misfire is a flickering light of a memory if Dante Pettis or Darnell Mooney snags a touchdown on Chicago’s final drive. Yet another data point nudging us not to forget that this team has so much building to do around the quarterback.
  • The folks at Tankathon have the Bears’ remaining strength of schedule as the second toughest in the NFL. Only Washington has a harder road to plow in its remaining 11 games. Two games against the Lions isn’t enough to offset upcoming showdowns against the Eagles, Bills, Vikings, Cowboys, Jets, and Packers. Then again, are the Packers actually good? Or are they “good” in the way that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are “good” because it’s hip to say? Green Bay might not be good. Just saying.
  • On the one hand, it is delicious seeing Aaron Rodgers finally dealing with the conditions Bears quarterbacks have long been facing. Poor offensive line play. No receiver help. An offense that looks like defenses have caught onto. But it is annoying as heck that the Packers still have a better record than the Bears. Ugh!
  • This feels like a conversation we’re familiar with having in these parts:
  • And then it hit me last night while watching Monday Night Football. Seeing the Bears, Packers, and Broncos having similar issues with their offenses stalling out is concerning. But I’m not totally sure what to make of this at the moment. Is it a weird coincidence? Or is it a schematic thing that Matt LaFleur, Luke Getsy, and Nathaniel Hackett (who were all working together last year) have to work through? Could it be a harbinger of doom? What if it’s just a plain weird football occurrence? Whatever it is, it bugs me. Hope it doesn’t keep me up at night.
  • Also on MNF: Mike Williams being mere inches from making the catch of the year:
  • Not me thinking about how Brian Daboll has the Giants winning games and Daniel Jones as a functional NFL quarterback:
  • I’m fascinated with new stadium projects, such as the ones Northwestern and the Tennessee Titans are working on. We’ll continue to look at these stadium construction plans as a reference point as we keep eyes on the Bears’ maneuvering their way toward a new stadium in Arlington Heights. With that in mind, these are the types of nuggets and tidbits worth sharing for an additional bit of depth and perspective:
  • I prefer to read this as the Bears’ offense is leaps and bounds better than the 1932 team that won a championship despite opening the year with three consecutive scoreless games:
  • We love seeing the Bears give back to the community (but could use some more sacks for a good cause):
  • Bears legend Mike Ditka is celebrating a birthday today:
  • I’ll be following any and all José Abreu rumors with great interest this offseason:

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.