The Bears Line was nothing short of a disaster in 2007. They were the worst run-blockers in the league managing 3.1 yards per carry. That was worst in the league and borders on historically bad. Their passing game was somewhat competent (15th in NFL), but they still allowed 43 sacks, which is simply too many.
The Bears are finally trying to get younger on the line after their very seasoned group got their heads kicked in. John Tait played LT all of 2007 but is shifting to RT replacing Fred Miller who was released after a poor season. First round pick Chris Williams will take over the LT position. It is rarely a good thing to have a rookie at LT. LG Ruben Brown was given his walking papers and his job is up for grabs between Terrence Metcalf, and Josh Beekman. Center is still manned by perennial Pro Bowler Olin Kreutz. The RG position belongs to Roberto Garza.
Sending Miller and Brown packing was necessary, but that doesn't mean this group will be significantly better off with less experienced players, even if they are younger. This helps improve the long term outlook on the team, but for 2008 they'll still be in trouble. Cedrick Benson certainly was a poor running back, but you don't get to 3.1 yards per carry without total team ineptness.
Yeah. Kyle Orton and Rex Grossman are probably nice people. That's about all I can say positive about the QB situation, though. I doubt Lovie Smith would even draft them if he were in a fantasy league. No one should.
With Cedric Benson looking turning in applications to wear a headset and ask motorists if they would like fries, Rookie Matt Forte is the favorite to get the starting RB job. His effectiveness will be hampered by his line and the overall state of the offense. The Bears likely will struggle scoring points so Forte, even with the job all too himself may not be any better than a RB3. I expect Kevin Jones to snag backup duties. As he gets healthier he may even challenge for the starting position. Adrian Peterson and Garret Wolfe are likely out of luck.
Top receiver Bernard Berrian left for the Vikings and and second receiver Muhsin Muhammad went back to Carolina. Their top returning receivers are, uh, Devin Hester and Rashied Davis? The two of them combined for 464 receiving yards and 2 TD's last year. The Bears are expecting Brandon Lloyd to start with Devin Hester. Lloyd tallied a whopping 14 receiving yards in Washington last year. Mark Bradley, Marty Booker and Earl Bennett are the other (total scrubs) receivers who may see playing time this year.
Avoid all of them.
The only exception is if you are in a league that counts return yards. In that case, Hester may be worthwhile.
Desmond Clark and Greg Olsen will probably spend a good amount of time on the field this year, since they can catch better than most, if not all, of the receivers. Last year it was Clark who was the more productive of the two, but Olsen was drafted to be the main receiving threat and he should start to assume that role.
If you are a well-informed fantasy player, than you probably will not have a chance to draft the Bears defense. That's because there will likely be a clown in your league who will draft them solely on their reputation 10 rounds too soon. Don't be that clown. The Bears defense fell off dramatically last year. In yards allowed they were 28th of 32. Right between Cincinnati and Atlanta. They still recorded decent sack and turnover totals, but they were far from elite.
The Bears have 3 starting-quality Defensive Ends in, Adawale Ogunleye, Alex Brown, and Mark Anderson. All three will see a lot of playing time and get after QB's well. The Bears had serious problems at DT with several injuries forcing them to resort to play practice squad players. Tommie Harris is a fine DT and he'll start alongside Anthony Adams, who should be recovered from a fractured leg that knocked him out last year. A solid D-Line, they still have some questionable depth at DT, after losing Darwin Walker, but they should play well in 2008.
The LB corps is stellar so long as Urlacher's neck and back don't cause problems. Briggs and Hillenmeyer are returning as well.
The secondary was hit hard by injuries. CB Nathan Vasher and S Mike Brown will both reclaim their starting jobs after spending most of 2007 injured. They'll team with Charles Tillman and Brandon McGowan to form a good secondary. With their history, counting on all of them staying healthy is a stretch.
The Bears D will be improved, but I am skeptical that they will be a top 5 defensive team from a fantasy perspective. Even accounting for injuries, it's hard to see how they fell as far in the rankings as they did. Their offense will have problems staying on the field, which will put their defense in tough spots, much like Baltimore in 2007.