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  • Bears still have questions seeking answers Aug 31, 2014 8:50 PM
    The Bears faced a lot of questions when they arrived at Olivet Nazarene University for the start if training camp in late August, and most of them haven't been completely answered yet with the start of the regular season less than a week away.

  • Legal questions arise for fantasy football business Aug 31, 2014 6:49 AM
    Since 2011, the billion-dollar fantasy market has been infused with dozens of daily and weekly games. Those games allow players to win huge prizes quickly, sometimes in one week, sometimes in just one night. With players betting thousands or even tens of thousands a night, legal experts believe it’s time to review the section of the 2006 federal law that was written specifically to protect fantasy sports from being banned the way online poker was.

  • Pair of top receivers would be great catch Aug 30, 2014 7:45 AM
    The stud running back theory. Remember that? Eons ago — OK, 12-15 years ago — my advice to newbie fantasy football players was to do anything in your power to acquire two stud running backs in the first two rounds of your draft. No longer. The NFL has become such a pass-heavy league, with a record nine quarterbacks throwing for more than 4,000 yards last season, that it’s imperative to ... draft a stud QB? No! It’s imperative to draft at least one — and possibly two — of the top pass-catchers in the league. The short list in my mind includes: Calvin Johnson, Demaryius Thomas, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Saints TE Jimmy Graham and perhaps Jordy Nelson. Grabbing two of them gives you an amazing anchor to your team. At RB, you can still grab a solid one in Reggie Bush or Frank Gore, and fill in your No. 2-4 RB holes with any combination of guys who have the potential to explode. As for a quarterback, wait until nearly everyone else has one and there will still be a Jay Cutler, Tom Brady, Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson on the board. Now, of course, not everybody is going to get two of those WRs — and some of you won’t follow that advice at all — so let’s take a quick look at four receivers I believe will exceed their expectations to produce solid week-to-week numbers. 1. Seattle’s Percy Harvin (average draft position: 51). If I had some real guts, I’d rank Harvin as a top-10 receiver. Alas, I wimped out a bit and put him at 12. Harvin has yet to score more than 7 TDs in a season and hasn’t come close to playing a full season since 2011. But he looks awfully good and has the talent to easily score eight times while posting a 1,200-yard season. 2. Indy’s T.Y. Hilton (ADP: 69). Yes, Hakeem Nicks is on board and Reggie Wayne returns after suffering a torn ACL last year. Hilton, though, figures to slightly better his numbers from last year (82-1,083-5) thanks to Andrew Luck’s continued development and the fact the Colts are going to be running a no-huddle offense that will keep scoreboard operators awfully busy. 3. Jeremy Maclin (ADP: 73). DeSean Jackson’s gone. Nick Foles is one of the hottest young QBs in the game. Eagles coach Chip Kelly wants his team to run as many plays as possible. And in the pre-Kelly offense, Maclin averaged 67 catches, 893 yards and 7.3 TDs. Trust me when I say that he’ll be one of the better WR2s in fantasy. 4. Marques Colston (ADP 77). It was definitely a down year for Colston in 2013 and he’s not going to run by any corners this year either. But on a high-octane offense like the Saints, the veteran is a good bet for 6-7 TDs and at least 1,000 yards. Last-minute advice: When you are stuck in the middle rounds debating on two or three different receivers, take the one who is on the higher-scoring team. The second — and sometimes third — receivers on Denver, New England, Philadelphia, Dallas, Cincinnati, Green Bay and New Orleans offer much more upside than anybody on Cleveland, Jacksonville, Buffalo, Carolina, St. Louis or Oakland. Guys like Emmanuel Sanders, Danny Amendola, Riley Cooper, Terrance Williams, Jarrett Boykin and Kenny Stills will have many more opportunities to score than anybody on a team with a wretched quarterback. Tight ends: Death, taxes and Jimmy Graham. There are fewer sure-fire bets in fantasy football than the Saints’ TE producing big numbers by season’s end. I have no problem with owners using a late first- or early second-round pick on him. The next three guys — Vernon Davis, Julius Thomas and Rob Gronkowski — are going to fight it out for second place. Gronk would nearly be a lock to win, but his injury history makes me extremely gun shy. If you don’t get one of the top four, concentrate on building WR or RB depth and leave the TE spot until the 10th-12th rounds (or even later if you want). In those rounds, expect to see Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett and / or Jordan Reed on the board. Those of you wanting a second TE or a keeper possibility, I love the Chargers’ Ladarius Green. Once Antonio Gates is out of the picture, Green will walk right into top-5 TE territory. Also keep an eye on the Eagles’ Zach Ertz, the Lions Eric Ebron and the Colts’ Dwayne Allen. John Dietz ranks the wide receivers Player, team Projected Projected Comment yards TDs Cream of the crop 1. Calvin Johnson, Lions 1,450-1,700 11-15 Only one w/150+ targets last 3 yrs. 2. De. Thomas, Broncos 1,325-1,450 11-13 13 100-yard games last 2 years 3. A.J. Green, Bengals 1,300-1,500 10-12 As consistent as they come 4. Dez Bryant, Cowboys 1,250-1,425 10-13 Most TDs among WRs last 2 years Still rock solid 5. B. Marshall, BEARS 1,325-1,450 9-11 Avg. 5 yrs. w/Cutler: 105-1,303-9.2 6. Julio Jones, Falcons 1,250-1,400 8-10 Pace after 5 games: 131-1,856-6 7. Jordy Nelson, Packers 1,250-1,350 8-11 Only 1 TD last 9 games 8. Alshon Jeffery, BEARS 1,275-1,375 8-10 Had better numbers with McCown 9. Antonio Brown, Steelers 1,250-1,400 7-9 Only Josh Gordon had more yards 10. Vincent Jackson, Bucs 1,250-1,350 8-9 24 TDs last three seasons 11. Keenan Allen, Chargers 1,175-1,275 8-10 5 TDs last four games of 2013 Still solid 12. Percy Harvin, Seahawks 1,000-1,100 9-11 If healthy, career year coming 13. T.Y. Hilton, Colts 1,175-1,300 6-9 Five games of 120-plus yards 14. Jereymy Maclin, Eagles 1,100-1,275 7-9 Should thrive with Jackson gone 15. Randall Cobb, Packers 1,000-1,150 7-9 Looking for first 1,000-yard season 16. Andre Johnson, Texans 1,200-1,300 5-8 73 catches for 1,000 in career 17. C. Patterson, Vikings 800-900* 8-10 Could get 90 touches 18. Marques Colston, Saints 1,075-1,175 7-10 Tied career low TDs last year (5) 19. Roddy White, Falcons 1,100-1,250 5-8 He’ll bounce back 20. Larry Fitzgerald, Cards 975-1,100 7-9 Avg. 7.0 TDs last four seasons A notch below ... but no worries yet 21. DeSean Jackson, Skins 1,100-1,200 6-8 RG3 scares me right now 22. Victor Cruz, Giants 1,050-1,175 6-9 No TDs after Week 4 23. Pierre Garcon, Skins 1,100-1,250 5-7 5 or more catches EVERY GAME! 24. Torrey Smith, Ravens 1,050-1,175 5-8 Explosive potential 25. Golden Tate, Lions 975-1,175 6-8 Numbers could soar with Stafford 26. Em. Sanders, Broncos 875-1,200 5-10 Welker’s concussion clouds issue 27. Reggie Wayne, Colts 1,000-1,200 5-7 Luck will rely on veteran 28. Eric Decker, Jets 950-1,125 6-8 How will he fare as team No. 1 WR? 29. Michael Crabtree, Niners 950-1,100 6-8 NIners O needs to get it in gear 30. Kendall Wright, Titans 1,100-1,200 4-7 Much better in PPR formats 31. Anquan Boldin, Niners 1,050-1,150 5-7 Most yards (1,179) since ’06 32. Michael Floyd, Cards 975-1,125 6-7 38% of yards came in 3 games Questions beginning 33. Mike Wallace, Dolphins 950-1,050 6-7 4 TDs in last six games 34. Wes Welker, Broncos 600-1,200 4-10 VERY RISKY PICK (concussion) 35. Julian Edelman, Pats 950-1,100 5-6 Targeted 151 times last season 36. Ter. Williams, Cowboys 875-1,025 5-7 3rd among rookie WRS in fant. pts. 37. Markus Wheaton, Steelers 875-1,075 4-7 Unproven but talent is there 38. Mike Evans, Bucs 825-1,000 4-7 Rookie an intriguing pick 39. Kenny Stills, Saints 800-1,000 5-7 On this offense, worth a look 40. Riley Cooper, Eagles 825-925 5-7 5 of 8 TDs came in two games The next 15: DeAndre Hopkins, Texans; Sammy Watkins, Bills; Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs; Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers; Brian Hartline, Dolphins; Doug Baldwin, Seahawks; Nate Washington, TItans; Justin Hunter, Titans; Cecil Shorts, Jaguars; Steve Smith, Ravens; Hakeem Nicks, Colts; Greg Jennings, Vikings; Danny Amendola, Patriots; Rueben Randle, Giants; Tavon Austin, Rams John Dietz ranks the tight ends Player, team Projected Projected Comment yards TDs Cream of the crop 1. Jimmy Graham, Saints 1,100-1,275 11-14 Avg. last 3: 90-1,169-12.0. WOW! Rock solid 2. Vernon Davis, Niners 800-925 7-10 Avg. last 5: 815 yards, 8.8 TDs 3. Julius Thomas, Broncs 750-800 8-10 Neck and neck with Davis 4. Rob Gronkowski, Pats 775-1,050 7-12 Do you trust him to play all year? Still solid fantasy starters 5. Jason Witten, Cowboys 875-975 5-7 TDs last 5: 8-3-5-9-2 6. Greg Olsen, Panthers 775-850 5-7 800-plus yards last two 7. Kyle Rudolph, Vikings 650-725 6-8 Should eclipse 60 catches 8. Jordan Reed, Skins 700-800 5-6 499 yards in just 9 games last yr. 9. Dennis Pitta, Ravens 675-775 5-6 He’ll be huge for Ravens offense 10. Charles Clay, Dolphins 725-800 4-5 1 of 6 TEs w/100 targets last year The next 6: Jordan Cameron, Browns; Delaine Walker, Titans; Martellus Bennett, BEARS; Tim Wright, Patriots; Zac Ertz, Eagles; Coby Fleener, Colts 5 to keep a close eye on: Ladarius Green, Chargers; Dwayne Allen, Colts; Tyler Eifert, Bengals; Eric Ebron, Lions; Jace Amaro, Jets

  • Latest Bears cuts: OL Britton, WR Williams Aug 30, 2014 4:33 PM
    Versatile, veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton, cornerback Kelvin Hayden and speedy wide receiver/returner Chris Williams were the most notable among the Bears' 17 cuts Saturday as the team reduced its roster to the required 53.

  • Mercifully, NFL preseason comes to an end Aug 29, 2014 9:09 AM
    Even though it was a meaningless preseason game, we still have to talk about it - right? I guess, but we'll keep it short and sweet.

  • Breaking down the Bears’ roster options Aug 29, 2014 7:16 PM
    Bears final cuts are due by 3 p.m. Saturday, so we take a look at what the 53-man roster might look like, position by position.

  • Bears trim roster and waive NIU’s Lynch Aug 29, 2014 3:01 PM
    Jordan Lynch, who converted from record-setting quarterback at NIU to running back in the hopes of making the Bears' 53-man roster as an undrafted free agent, was waived Friday. Lynch is eligible to return to the Bears as a practice squad player. The Bears can begin to form their 10-man practice squad at noon, Sunday.

  • 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith suspended by NFL for 9 games Aug 29, 2014 5:05 PM
    San Francisco 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has been suspended for nine games by the NFL after a series of off-field legal issues. A statement Friday from the league said Smith had violated the NFL’s substance abuse and personal conduct policies. Smith won’t be eligible to return until Nov. 10, the day after the 49ers’ game against the New Orleans Saints.

  • Mike North video: Are the Bears in trouble? Aug 28, 2014 9:29 AM
    Mike North thinks the Bears first string should play the entire game tonight against the Cleveland Browns because they need the practice before the season opener at home versus the Buffalo Bills.

  • It’s Mr. Rodgers’ neighborhood once again Aug 28, 2014 5:30 AM
    There are plenty of reasons not to hitch your wagon to Peyton Manning in the first round of your draft and instead take Aaron Rodgers (and maybe even Drew Brees) over the 38-year-old Broncos QB.

  • Charles in charge? Not quiteChiefs’ RB will be soilid but won’t measure up to McCoy, Peterson Aug 28, 2014 11:56 PM
    I come to you with another Nostradamus proclamation: Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles will not finish No. 1 among RBs in fantasy points this season.

  • After Rice, NFL increases domestic violence bans Aug 28, 2014 5:19 PM
    Acknowledging he “didn’t get it right” with a two-game suspension for Ravens running back Ray Rice, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced tougher penalties for players accused of domestic violence, including six weeks for a first offense and at least a year for a second.

  • Bears trying to turn special teams woes around Aug 28, 2014 10:48 PM
    There were signs of improvement on the Bears' disappointing special teams in the preseason finale Thursday night against the Browns in Cleveland.

  • Veteran WR impressive in Bears’ final tuneup Aug 28, 2014 11:46 PM
    The Bears concluded a 2-2 preseason with a 33-13 loss to the Browns in Cleveland. With all starters and several top backups sitting out the final exhibition, players hoping to survive the final cuts Saturday got most of the playing time, and a few stepped up with outstanding individual efforts.

  • NFL suspends Browns star WR Gordon for 2014 season Aug 27, 2014 5:31 PM
    Josh Gordon’s wait is over, so is his 2014 season. The star wide receiver’s career is now in peril. The Cleveland Browns learned Wednesday that Gordon’s indefinite suspension by the NFL has been upheld and he will miss at least 16 games for another violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. A repeat drug offender, Gordon had appealed the penalty, hoping it would be reduced so he could play this season.

  • Some Bears playing for their jobs vs. Browns Aug 27, 2014 7:40 PM
    With most, if not all, of the Bears' starters resting Thursday night in the preseason finale against the Browns in Cleveland, it's a great opportunity for players battling for roster spots to get one last chance to make an impression.

  • Bears’ coaches have tough call to make on Conte Aug 26, 2014 8:41 PM
    Safety Chris Conte is expected to miss the preseason finale Thursday night because of a concussion, so coaches will have just a handful of snaps from one game to evaluate the fourth-year veteran, who is coming back from off-season shoulder surgery. Final cuts are due at 3 p.m. Saturday.

  • Bears' Lynch out to make most of final opportunity Aug 27, 2014 5:33 AM
    On Thursday night in Cleveland against the Browns, former NIU quarterback and Hesiman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch gets his final preseason opportunity to prove to Bears coaches that he belongs on the 53-man roster -- which will be decided by Saturday afternoon -- or at least on the practice squad.

  • Broncos kicker apologizes for suspension Aug 25, 2014 7:04 PM
    A contrite Matt Prater apologized to the Denver Broncos and their fans for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy by drinking beer, resulting in a four-game ban to start the season.

  • Bucs bringing in Incognito for a visit Aug 25, 2014 7:05 PM
    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trying to determine if Richie Incognito is a good fit for their struggling offensive line. Coach Lovie Smith confirmed Monday he was going to meet with one of the central figures of the bullying scandal that engulfed the Miami Dolphins last season.

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