Bears-Lions Fantasy Starters: Matt Forte, Matthew Stafford, And Calvin Johnson

By Steve Silverman

The Chicago Bears are going to try to reach the .500 mark when they face the Lions in the opening game of the Thanksgiving Day triple header.

The concept may seem laughable considering that the Bears were blown out in consecutive weeks by the Patriots and the Packers, but when the schedule turned kind and the Vikings and the Bucs came to Soldier Field, the Bears managed to win both games.

Now they step up in class against the Lions, who are coming off consecutive losses to the Cardinals and the Pats. Look for Detroit to take its frustrations out on the Bears, and fantasy points should be available for the taking.

Bears players

QB Jay Cutler – While Cutler is often the object of derision among Bears fans because of his tendency to turn the ball over accompanied by his “I don’t care” attitude, he’s been a decent fantasy with 2875 yards and 22 touchdowns. However, the Lions have the nastiness and relentlessness on the defensive line to pound Cutler unmercifully. BENCH HIM

RB Matt Forte – He is the Bears’ most consistent and best player, and the attack is going to center on him. In addition to getting 20 carries in this game, he should be able to catch at least seven passes. Forte will have at least 100 yards (combined), and he will find his way into the endzone at least once. No team has allowed more running back receptions than the Lions. Forte will roll. PLAY HIM

TE Martellus Bennett – When Bennett can catch a couple of passes early in the game and then show off his blocking ability, he is fully engaged and ready to play a completed game. Bennett has caught 57-628-5, and he will be ready to have one of his best games against the Lions. Detroit is going to concentrate on taking Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery out of the picture, and that will help Bennett break free. PLAY HIM

Lions players

QB Matthew Stafford – There’s some panic concerning the Lions, and that comes from years of past failures and the current two-game losing streak. However, head coach Jim Caldwell gives this team a sense of calm and confidence that was lacking in the past, and the Lions should be ready when they take the field. Look for Stafford to have a big game because he is going up against the woeful Bears’ secondary. Stafford has only thrown 13 TD passes so far, but he wakes up against Chicago and throws three TD passes. PLAY HIM

RB Joique Bell – Bell may play a key role in this game, but it is not going to show on the scoreboard. He runs with power and effort, and his damaging style is likely to soften up the Chicago defense. This will help the Lions’ receivers make big plays, but it won’t necessarily lead to a lot of yardage or a trip to the endzone for Bell. BENCH HIM

WR Calvin Johnson – This has been a down year for Johnson as he has caught 38-578-3. If the Bears had a healthy Charles Tillman, they might be able to hold Johnson down as well, but that’s obviously not the case. Johnson (ankle) should be as close to full health as he has been all season, and that could lead to a huge receiving day. PLAY HIM

***

Steve Silverman has been writing, talking about and playing fantasy football since the early 1990s. He co-hosted Fantasy Football Weekly, the first Fantasy Football television program, in 1994 and ’95. Follow Steve on Twitter @profootballboy.

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