The Bears entered the season with one of the bleakest fantasy football outlooks around, especially in the passing game.
Kyle Orton vs. Rex Grossman for the starting quarterback job was the summer's most hideous camp battle. Their best receiver was a defensive back. And the most recognizable other receivers, Marty Booker and Brandon Lloyd, prompted giggles when selected late in fantasy drafts - if they were taken at all.
After the past few weeks, however, the Chicago passing game doesn't seem so laughable.
Orton's actually getting some attention on fantasy waiver wires after throwing five touchdown passes in his past six quarters - against the rugged Philadelphia and Tampa Bay defenses, no less.
He's worth snagging as a backup even though he's never had consecutive two-score games in his 22-game career. Maybe he could even become a starter. And while he could revert to his old 0-to-1 TD self, his schedule sure is inviting, with Detroit twice and Atlanta once over the next four games.
ou log on to order your very own Orton jersey, here's a look at some players to start in Week 5, some to avoid, and a few long shots who just may pan out:
-It's officially safe to start Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger again. He's only averaging a TD a game, but he started to break out of his funk last week and the Steelers are fresh out of running backs. Last year, when the Jaguars actually were playing defense, Roethlisberger had three scores on them.
-It's always good when Eli Manning and Matt Hasselbeck get together. The last two Seattle-Giants games have been shootouts, with Manning averaging over 300 yards with five touchdowns and Hasselbeck averaging about 240 with seven scores.
-Buffalo's Trent Edwards gets a crack at the Cardinals defense that just gave up six TDs to Favre. Even if Edwards is only 33 percent as good as Brett Favre, two touchdowns isn't a bad day.
-This is no time to be starting Bengals - and there may not be such a time again this year - but if you need help this bye week, consider Carson Palmer. He'll be playing catch-up early on against a Dallas secondary still without an interception.
-Tampa Bay's Brian Griese may throw his usual three interceptions in one of the journeyman's many visits to a former place where he played, but he should also pile up yardage against a Broncos defense that made Damon Huard look competent.
-If you're really hurting for a QB (I mean REALLY hurting), give Minnesota's Gus Frerotte a try against the Saints. Their No. 29 pass defense is awful, and Frerotte did have a couple 3-TD games last year with the Rams.
Please, in the name of Rex Grossman, don't start these guys:
-Maybe Aaron Rodgers is trying to fight through a shoulder injury in Green Bay to avoid hearing all those whispers of ``Sheesh, Brett sure woulda been a gamer ...'' Even though a one-armed Rodgers may give it a go, don't bank on good stats.
-Seriously, is Houston's Matt Schaub going to string together two 300-yard games in a row? He faces the Colts, who haven't allowed a TD pass because, well, nobody needs to throw against a defense giving up 199 yards rushing every game.
-Put Carolina's Jake Delhomme back on the bench for this week's handoff-o-rama against the Chiefs 30th-ranked run defense.
-It's too obvious to suggest starting Dallas' Marion Barber, so here's predicting at least three scores against Cincinnati in a makeup call a week after he only got eight carries. (Of course, he'll do this in between many touches for T.O.)
ver did figure out how that slippery Ronnie Brown wound up with the ball all those times.
-Ever since the Texans realized RB is no position for old men, rookie Steve Slaton has averaged 120 total yards and a score. He'll be featured against the Colts' freakishly bad run defense in this week's game of keepaway from Peyton Manning.
-Even though Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams share time in Carolina, there should be plenty to go around. The Chiefs allow 176 yards rushing a game, and they've allowed six TD runs and a league-worst eight runs of 20 or more yards.
-Turns out Deuce McAllister's still in the NFL, even if his original knee parts aren't. He's worth a shot against a Vikings defense that's said to be terrifying but has allowed six touchdown runs. (Only Oakland, St. Louis and Houston have given up more.)
-Looks like Rudi Johnson's getting more and more of the carries in Detroit - proving to be a genius acquisition by Matt Millen. (Maybe Millen was just starting to turn the corner, needed a little more time as GM.)
-Bench everybody in Green Bay. Michael Turner leads the league in rushing, but he's just no good on the road. And so far Ryan Grant (46 yards a game and no end zone visits) is no good anywhere.
. The Jags still don't have any blockers, and that's a big problem against Pittsburgh.
-Speaking of Pittsburgh, don't get too excited about Mewelde Moore, Najeh Davenport or anybody else the Steelers hire to run the ball. The line's a mess, and there's a reason Moore's a third-down back and Davenport was recently not in this sport.
-Now that the Patriots have had two weeks to look at all the film of Randy Moss running down the field without drawing any real interest from his QB, expect Moss to get more involved.
-In other notoriously surly receiver news, the Giants are without the suspended Plaxico Burress. So take a shot on either Amani Toomer or Burress' replacement, preseason all-star Domenik Hixon, against Seattle's 25th-ranked pass defense.
-It's rarely a good idea to start a Minnesota receiver, but then again it's rare that the gift of the New Orleans pass defense presents itself. Bernard Berrian looks like he was getting in rhythm with Frerotte, with about 80 yards the past two games.
-Also on Monday night, start whoever this Lance Moore character is for the Saints. He appears to be the fill-in for Marques Colston against a Vikings defense that still hasn't proved it can shut down receivers.
-Word is there may be healthy Seahawks around, so give Bobby Engram or Deion Branch a try before their next injury.
-Arizona third receiver Steve Breaston could be a nice surprise as the Cardinals' run-free attack may be without injured Anquan Boldin.
-What is this unhealthy fascination I have with Green Bay's Donald Driver? I seem to be the only person outside the Driver household who thinks he'll produce, so please disregard any future recommendations for this guy who was really something back in 2004.
-Consider Muhsin Muhammad's big day an aberration. The Panthers don't really want to throw, and when they do, they want to throw to Steve Smith. (They won't have to throw much against KC.)
-New England's Wes Welker is on pace for zero touchdowns this year.
nry (done with suspension - and no more arrests), Bengals RB Cedric Benson (meaningful employment, clean legal slate).
OFF THIS WEEK: N.Y. Jets, Oakland, St. Louis, Cleveland
Here's the best and worst of last week's projections:
Big Hits: I projected success for Jake Delhomme (294 yards, 2 TDs), Earnest Graham (111 yards, TD) and Jason Campbell (2 TDs). I was right about benching Michael Turner (56 yards) and Matt Forte (43 yards). I also was correct about Braylon Edwards, Ocho Johnson and Lee Evans all making rare end zone visits.
Big Misses: I figured the Saints would run on San Francisco, but thought it would be Pierre Thomas, not McAllister. I also thought Lance Moore (101 yards, 2 TDs) and the other Saints receivers wouldn't get many balls. I suggested benching Titans RBs (3 TDs) and starting Thomas Jones (46 yards). I also made the odd recommendations of starting nonfactors Vincent Jackson and Hank Baskett. (Hey, lots of guys were off last week.)

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