Bears Re-Sign D.J. Williams
Chicago brought in Williams last year as a stopgap replacement for Brian Urlacher. He missed significant time in the preseason with a calf injury, and there was some speculation the Bears would open the season with rookie Jon Bostic starting in the middle. Williams was able to regain the starting gig, but lasted just six games before landing on injured reserve with a torn pectoral.
With Williams out, the Bears struggled mightily at linebacker. They lost Lance Briggs in Week 7 for seven games, and had to rely on James Anderson and Bostic as their three-down linebackers. Both had significant deficiencies against the run, which no doubt contributed to the Bears’ league-high 5.3 yards per carry yielded to opposing rushers.
Williams is no spring chicken at 32 years old, but he still has some tread left on the tires. With Bostic expected to slide over to the strong side, Williams is the early leader in the clubhouse for the starting job in the middle.
The question ultimately is which Bears linebackers play in the subpackages? Briggs is in the final year of his contract and is all but locked into one of the every-down spots. While Bostic played the run poorly, he was decent in coverage. What we may likely see is something similar to the Lions in 2012, where Stephen Tulloch played every snap while Justin Durant and DeAndre Levy both saw time in the subpackages.
If this is the case, both Williams’ and Bostic’s fantasy value will be limited, and neither player would be one who you’d want to rely on in IDP leagues. Of course, we’re a long way out from September, and we likely won’t get much clarity until the preseason.
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Jeff Ratcliffe is the Assistant Managing Editor and resident IDP maven of PFF Fantasy.