Dynasty Capsule: Chicago Bears

Jacob Feldman


As part of the premium content package, we’re again unveiling dynasty capsules for every team in the NFL leading up to free agency and the NFL Draft. This year, we’re again going to do a follow-up on all the teams after all the free agency and NFL Draft movement to assess the impact of any players teams have gained or lost. Since these capsules are always done as a simple snapshot in time, we figured that was the best way to tackle the off-season and provide ultimate value for our subscribers. All in all, we’ll have close to 500 player profiles found in these capsules over the off-season.


Jay Cutler

One of the biggest questions not just in Chicago but in the entire NFL this offseason will be “What will the Bears do with Jay Cutler?” Bad Jay seemed to be the side which came out more often than not during the 2014 season after a largely positive, though injury filled 2013. He was rewarded for his 2013 season with a big extension, but then disappointed in 2014. At least that is the general perception of Cutler these days. Here is the confusing part for me though. Cutler’s 2013 season and his 2014 season really weren’t that different. If anything, from a statistics standpoint, his 2014 was actually better. Take a look at the following with his stats per game played to adjust for the injuries:

Year Completion % Yards/Game Yards/Attempt TD/INT Turnovers/game
2013 63.1 238.3 7.4 1.583 1.364
2014 66.0 254.1 6.8 1.556 1.600

Cutler’s completion rate and yards per game both increased while his TD/INT ratio stayed roughly the same. His yards per attempt dropped a bit, partially due to dumping the ball off more due to injuries on the outside, and his turnovers rose slightly due to more fumbles in 2014. Overall, how much of a difference was there really between the two years when it comes to Cutler’s performance? Honestly, not much in my eyes, so I don’t understand the change in perception of him. He made mistakes this year just like last year. Maybe they were a little more high profile this year because people around him weren’t performing as well. Or maybe the bar was raised due to the extension and the great offense in 2013. Either way, Cutler was almost the exact same quarterback both years.

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With his contract, I find it very difficult to believe the Bears will be able to move him. This means I expect him to be back for the Bears in 2015. The new coaching staff will try to find ways to limit his mistakes and help him evolve, but I would expect much of the same from him. He’ll be a gunslinger who gets more praise than he should when things go right and more blame than he deserves when it breaks the other way. Such is the life of an NFL quarterback. For fantasy leagues, he makes for a solid QB2 with QB1 upside on any given week if it goes well along with a chance to net you negative points with turnovers if Bad Jay shows up.

Jimmy Clausen (FA)

I tend to avoid listing free agents in these capsules, but I wanted to mention Clausen since he saw time when Cutler was benched. Clausen was Johnny Football in college before there was a Johnny Football. Since then he’s gone from high draft pick to career backup, which is exactly where I think he belongs. Clausen isn’t a starter in the NFL regardless of the situation or coach. He is simply an average to good backup on an NFL team. He can come in with limited reps and keep the ball moving. If you’re rostering him in any of your leagues (short of a very deep 2QB league) you can drop him.

David Fales

A sixth round, 2014 rookie, Fales spent the vast majority of the season on the Bears practice squad. He is a long term project and very unlikely to be anything more than a backup quarterback in the NFL. If the Bears let Clausen leave, I would expect them to bring in someone else to backup Cutler. I don’t think they are willing to give the backup job to Fales, and they might not ever be willing to do it.

Running Backs

Matt Forte

Forte is easily one of the most complete backs in the NFL, but he gets a bit of a bad rap because the Bears don’t use him as a pure rusher as much as some people would like. A big part of that has been the lack of a quality offensive line for most of Forte’s career. What Forte lacks in rushing numbers he more than makes up for in the passing game, especially in PPR leagues. He had a record setting 102 receptions out of the backfield this year for 808 yards. To put that into perspective, he was fourth in the entire league in receptions. His yards from scrimmage put him third in the entire league as well. If you are someone who bought the “aging” Forte over the last two years, you’ve been rewarded with one of the best backs in all of fantasy.

Speaking of aging, like a lot of the top running backs in the league, Forte is inching pretty close to 30. He just turned 29 over the last few weeks of the NFL season, which means the eventual decline is on its way. The good news for him and his owners is running backs with his skill set tend to last an extra year or two. If someone is selling him at a big discount due to age, I’m definitely buying if I’m a competitor. He could easily have another 1-2 elite seasons with a few more after that as a solid RB2. The only other concern with Forte is his contract expires after the 2015 season. Will the Bears bring him back for a few more or will they hand the reigns over to someone else? It is really too soon to tell.

Ka’Deem Carey

Carey is the only other running back on the Bears roster worth talking about at the current point in time. He was pretty terrible early in the year before starting to look a bit better as the season went on, though we never saw much of the rookie. He only had 41 touches on the season because Forte so rarely leaves the field. I don’t think the Bears view Carey as the heir to the throne but rather as a high quality backup for Forte and whoever takes over after him. I fully expect the Bears to spend a day 1 or day 2 draft pick on a running back of the future sometime in the next two years which would leave Carey in a backup role for the time being.

Wide Receivers

Alshon Jeffery

I think the changing of the guard in Chicago has officially taken place this year as Jeffery became the top dog in the receiving game. While he wasn’t quite as dominant in 2014 as he was in 2013, his 85 receptions for 1133 yards and 10 scores are definitely nothing to scoff at. He is and should continue to be one of the better receivers in the NFL. He’s entering his fourth and final year of his rookie deal, and I fully expect him to cash in big time over the next six or so months. He isn’t at the level of Dez Bryant or Julio Jones, but he fits very nicely into the second tier of receivers in the middle to late WR1 range in fantasy leagues. Regardless of the gameplan or who the quarterback is going to be, Jeffery should continue to be a reliable starter week in and week out for the next five years.

Brandon Marshall

Marshall’s 2014 season saw him post his lowest reception and yardage totals since his rookie season. His eight touchdowns saved his fantasy owners from time to time, but it is clear he is starting to slow down just a bit. Of course missing three and a half games due to injury didn’t help either, but he isn’t the go to guy anymore in Chicago. Marshall will turn31 this offseason and just signed a four year extension last offseason. However, all of the guaranteed money in Marshall’s contract expires after the 2015 season. That just so happens to be the same time Jeffery’s contract expires. Coincidence? I think not. The Bears are very likely to pay Jeffery big money for 2016 and beyond, which likely means Marshall will need to take a pay cut or be released after next season.

In terms of Marshall’s performance, he seemed to have lost a step this year. He wasn’t quite as dominant at times when going for contested balls and seemed just a touch slower than in the past. With the litany of lower body injuries he has dealt with over the years, it is fair to wonder if he’s going to decline a little bit sooner than other receivers. If I owned Marshall, the question on my mind is when to sell, not if. He could come out next year and look really good in September, which would be the prime time to sell. But if he comes out and looks like he did for most of this season, his price is going to fall pretty rapidly.

Marquess Wilson

We unfortunately didn’t get to see as much of Wilson as everyone was hoping for this year. He looked good in the pre-season before breaking his collar bone and missing the majority of the regular season. Upon his return, he was eased back into the lineup and didn’t really see significant playing time until after Marshall went down. He didn’t do a whole lot with his four games, but there was a lot going on at the quarterback position over those weeks as well. He’s one of the better long term stashes in the league right now with WR2 upside in 2016 if the Bears move on from Marshall.


The Bears offense across the board is extremely top heavy. They have stars and fantasy studs at most positions, but they are extremely thin. The wide receiver position is no exception. Outside of the three receivers I mentioned, the only players who caught more than one pass this year at the position are Josh Morgan and Santonio Holmes. Holmes was cut mid-season and Morgan is an aging free agent with very limited upside. The Bears are going to be looking to add some depth in free agency as well as some youth through the draft, but they have a ton of holes all over the roster so I don’t expect it to be a high draft pick.

Tight Ends

Martellus Bennett

2014 was a career year for Bennett, largely because of the Bears’ lack of depth at the receiver position and the injuries to Wilson and Marshall over the course of the season. Bennett was the third wide receiver (or fourth if you count Forte as one of their top two) for the Bears for the majority of the season and manage to be a top five tight end in most fantasy leagues. His 90 receptions, 916 yards and 6 touchdowns were all career highs. I don’t know if he can top his 2014 numbers in 2015, but I think will be close. He is definitely in the TE1 discussion moving forward for the next two years. He has two years left on his contract and will turn 28 this offseason. He should be in the prime of his career and the Bears are still lacking depth at the receiver position. After his next two seasons though, the Bears might be ready to move on from him. If you get a good offer for Bennett, it might be wise to take it. There are a lot of tight ends in his tier and some of them are much cheaper.

Dante Rosario (FA)

Due to the lack of wide receivers, the Bears ran a lot of two tight end sets this year with Rosario filling the blocking role while Bennett was the pass catcher. He’s currently a free agent, but I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the Bears bring him back on yet another short term deal like they did for the 2014 season. He’s a solid blocker and carries a cheap price tag. No matter where he lands, Rosario has no fantasy value. The Bears should be looking for a tight end of the future in the next few years as well.


jacob feldman