Football

Welcome back to THE VAULT: my weekly musings about Bears history, making me the Carrie Bradshaw of the Bears or at least of this website. If you track the metaphor a little bit deeper, you’ll find that Josh Bellamy is my Mr. Big, whereas Dez White had my love slip through his fingers like so many 3rd down passes.

Today’s blog is, like a Sex and the City article, based on a series of vaguely existential questions; questions that make you really stop and think. Questions like:

“Why don’t Bears fans give Dez Clark the amount of respect and reverence for his time in Chicago as they do Greg Olsen?”

“With an understanding of the roster at the time, is Cedric Benson one of the worst Bears draft picks ever?”

“Was Muhsin Muhammad right when he said Chicago is where receivers go to die? Is Mark Bradley dead?”

“What do you think Tommie Harris is doing RIGHT NOW, and is it more or less interesting than whatever Mark Anderson is doing?”

Finally, and most importantly: “Why is it that whenever any national sports broadcast shows the Devin Hester missed field goal return they never use the WBBM call?” Jeff Joniak CLEARLY has the superior play by play call of that score and Tom Thayer’s exuberant ‘NO WAY!’ is so so so good.

These questions are all above my pay grade as a single woman trying to find love in New York City. Speaking of the Big Apple, the 6-2 Giants hosted the 7-1 and eventual Super Bowl-bound Bears on Sunday Night Football.

This of course was back before we were blessed as a nation with Carrie Underwood welcoming us to the “Nasty Showdown” of the week. Instead,m we were listening to Pink singing roughly the same song with a few major exceptions. Pink’s version has the lines: “All right, Sunday night, where are you? Just kickin back from the things that you do”, whereas Carrie Underwood’s version until 2015 starts: “All right Sunday night, where are you? Waiting for the game that bleeds red, white, and blue.”

Look, I know. I know how this is gonna sound, because both my short and long term memory has been ravaged by decades of recreational drug abuse, but hear me out because I fell in a pretty deep rabbit hole here: the Faith Hill 2010 Sunday Night Football theme song is the first one since the song debuted in 2006 with the patriotic lyrics in the first verse, and it ran until Carrie Underwood’s revamped version hit the air in the 2016 season without those lyrics.

As some of you may recall, the NFL and the Department of Defense were essentially selling the military to fans between the years of 2011-2015, where several teams received a combined amount of more than $5 million in taxpayer money to run promotions for the armed forces (1). It also needs to be noted that the NFL didn’t have players on the field during the anthem as standard practice since 2009 (2).

How much money was Carrie Underwood getting paid under the table to change the lyrics to the Sunday Night Football theme to make it coincide with a massive pro-military, nationalistic push deep into the very concept of the National Football League? How deep does this all go? Did Carrie Bradshaw ever feel like this, like an Alex Jones level journalist, exposing the hidden agenda of the deep (NFL) state? How deep does this rabbit hole go? All I’m saying is if you type “Roger Goodell” into an anagram generator, one of the results is “Old Leg Gore Or” and while I’m not trying to convince you that this is all a ploy to fuck my fantasy football team, I’m not denying the presence of old legs Frank Gore has SEVERELY impeded on Devin Singletary in multiple weeks for me this season.

Okay yes I am trying to convince you that the Department of Defense, Carrie Underwood, Faith Hill, Roger Goodell, and the NFL have all formed a secret cabal to screw me out of fantasy football money.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, the Bears won this game. Rex Grossman looked competent, Thomas Jones was excellent as always, and every time the Bears scored they mocked the stupid Giants jump-shot celebration. Look, if you’re gonna pretend to hit a fadeaway jumper, you better be playing for the same city as the guy who made that move iconic. The Giants should’ve stuck to an iconic New York basketball move of their own, like maybe they could pull an Ewing and celebrate by pretending to miss a wide open finger roll at the buzzer in game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals.

REAL JOURNALISM HOURS:
1- https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/defense-department-paid-5-4-million-nfl-honor-troops

2- https://www.nbcsports.com/boston/new-england-patriots/nfl-teams-being-field-anthem-relatively-new-practice

Football

Fantasy season is almost upon us for 2019, and if you’re like me you are spending as much time as humanly possible reading up on as much as you can before all your targets inevitably get injured before opening day. I’ve always tried shying away from using Bears players in fantasy, since I’ve been conditioned to eternally expect the offense to always put up mediocre numbers, but also because the big money league I play in is made up of Bears fans. Someone will inevitably draft Anthony Miller in the 4th round and I’ll quietly roll my eyes and shrug it off until he goes off for 20 points when I go against him. Such is life.

That said, 2019 is probably the first year I can remember where Bears offensive players will come at a premium in fantasy football, but it’s important to have realistic expectations to make sure you aren’t reaching for guys when there’s much better options available. So, with that said, let’s take a look at where you should be willing to slot Bears players on your fantasy squad this year.

Mitch Trubisky: Consensus among the experts I’ve read is that our beloved signal-caller is a #2 QB at best, but if you look at the Bears subreddit you’d think Mitch is about to have a Jared Goff-esque breakout season. As much as I hate going with the dorks on the various fantasy sites I peruse, I gotta agree. I am not comfortable drafting Mitch to be my starting QB. He could be a premium backup or match-up play, especially if you stack him in a DFS lineup with Miller or Robinson, or even Taylor Gabriel in some sort of best-ball scoring setup, but in season-long leagues I am drafting him as the QB 14-18 and hoping I’m totally wrong.

What the hell do I do with the Bears backfield? That’s a good question. Is Tarik Cohen going to finish in the top-15 again at the RB position? I’m fearful of his durability going into this season for no real reason in particular, and the uncertainty regarding who will take a majority of carries in this offense makes the outlook super unclear. I wouldn’t be surprised to still have that uncertainty on a week-to-week basis when the year is in full swing. As of right now, I’m drafting Cohen as the best RB2 on my board (and a mid-level RB 1 in PPR formats), and David Montgomery as a flex starter, who could optimistically finish as a top-20 RB if everything shakes out. Mike Davis isn’t worth a roster spot.

Avoid Bears tight ends. I’d rather use Bradley Sowell in DFS once as a joke than draft Burton or Shaheen. Tight end is going to be a bloodbath this year, so make sure you’re locking down Kelce, Ertz, or Kittle in your first four rounds if possible. If not, you’re screwed and hoping to get NFL Red Zone highlights of Vance McDonald catching an 8-yard pass.

Okay, deep breath. Let’s try to figure out the Bears WR corps. Allen Robinson can be a top-10 wideout from a fantasy perspective, but will he? I’m not betting on it. His numbers last year are not good, even adjusted for his two games out of the lineup. Is he due back this year? He could be, and I’d be more than willing to buy low if he’s available in the 6th or 7th round. He’s a beast that will demand attention, but once again you gotta wonder if Mitch will throw his way if opposing teams try to take him out of the game (see his two-catch for 37 yards performance against Detroit). I’m taking him as a WR3 or Flex at best, which is actually lower than where I’d put Anthony Miller in PPR. Miller was TD dependent last year, but this year I’m hoping for more of a breakout season statistically. In PPR I’m drafting Miller to be a low end WR2. As mentioned earlier, Taylor Gabriel is someone I’d use in daily fantasy or best ball leagues, and Cordarrelle Patterson will be fun to watch but really only exists to vulture points from all Bears skill position players.

This offense is a mess in the best way. Sure, as a Jordan Howard owner the last two years I’ve had some conflicting emotions watching defensive players score goal-line touchdowns. On one hand its fun and it means the Bears are scoring, but as a season long, dynasty, and daily fantasy football player I just shake my head sadly. Part of me wants to not draft any Bears players with high expectations because I want to just enjoy Matt Nagy’s wild ride, but if Mitch crushes it this year there’s nothing stopping this offense from looking like those classic Saints offenses from a few years ago.