Lions vs. Bears
The Lions head into their biggest game of the year so far against the Chicago Bears on the road. Lose this one and the season is essentially over, win and you’ve got a real shot still. However, if the Lions of the past two weeks are the ones to show up at Soldier Field you can kiss this season goodbye.
Is anyone on this team startable?
Nope, next question.
But really, the Lions have fallen from a team where you potentially start five or six players on a week to week basis to essentially being a random guessing game where it’s possible no one wins. Matthew Stafford has had an amazing floor since Week One, until he didn’t. Kenny Golladay was the best thing since sliced bread until he wasn’t. Marvin Jones was moving back into fantasy deep bomb relevance until he stopped. Kerryon Johnson was the best running back of all time until the offense line was bad again.
So here’s the thought: don’t rely on any of these guys. If you want to start one or two of them as a flex, go for it. If Stafford is your bye week quarterback, so be it. But I do not want to be starting anyone on this offense this week over real players. Trying to toss up between Kerryon Johnson and Chris Carson if he’s healthy? Carson for days. Thinking about starting Marvin or Allen Robinson? Just stay away from the Lions.
Is that the only answerable question this week?
Pretty much. A large chunk of how successful the Lions were for several weeks was that the offensive line finally looked good. A large chunk of why they’ve been bad for the past couple of games is that the offensive line has looked putrid. Although there has been a very small amount of injury (to T.J. Lang) involved there, it hasn’t played a huge role. The Lions offensive line is just bad, and it means that the sudden re-emergence of a run game has the Lions trying to build on that and instead inheriting 3rd and 7 or 8 more often than 2nd and 4 or 5. This isn’t a way to put points on the board, and it’s not going to work well.
For what it’s worth, Golladay and Jones are on the field constantly, and this team is going to need to throw the ball. However, I think this benefits Theo Riddick more than anyone else, who I once again suggest as a decent bye week or injury fill in for either the RB slot or the flex. He’s going to continue to have a very good floor, if the ceiling isn’t really there.
So the Lions D/ST… ?
Hilarious, I’m sure. Pass.
You know, he might not even really be that much Greater this week. He’s still a beast but I’m very concerned about this offense’s ability to move down the field.
Guest writer time! You guys are in for a treat. Doing a little help here, and working with Mr. Miklius. Lions and Bears are squaring off against each other at Soldier Field, in the hopes that they’ll have Khalil Mack back for the matchup, coming off a couple weeks resting up on the injury report due to some ankle soreness. The expectation is having him back, and having him to haunt Matthew Stafford behind the line, just a week removed from being sacked 10 times by the Minnesota Vikings. The assumption would be a strong, streamlined defense attempting to disrupt Stafford in the pocket, as he could be seeing a metaphorical body bag after this being the second difficult pass rushing matchup in a row. Let’s dive in, what have the Bears got to offer?
Trubisky starting to show the potential that made him the second player taken in 2017
I’m not the resident Bears expert around here, but it’s no secret I personally expected a breakout from this team coming in to the year, and this may be slowly coming to fruition behind Matt Nagy’s playbook. My drafts show some late picks of Mitchell Trubisky , with the hope he’d bloom after a decent but nowhere like Patrick Mahomes ascent with his first opportunity to start, but he’s becoming a reliable if not spectacular fantasy starter for many teams ( as of writing this, I’m currently planning on starting him over Kirk Cousins in our very own QBlist league). Over the past four weeks, Trubisky’s passing numbers show some odd tendencies, averaging just a shade under 40 attempts per game, 251 yards, and a 59.5 completion percentage. What we must also take into account however is that last week, the Bears throttled the Bills to the tune of a 41-9 score, therefore he only threw 20 passes as the defense took over the game, and the ball was put on the ground to the backs plenty instead of put up in the air. What’s really spectacular has been the fire blazing under Mr. Biscuit’s feet, as over the same four games, he’s averaging just under 50 yards in rushing, and that’s including an 8 yard effort last week in said blowout. Trubisky will be ready for a high flying matchup with divisional squad Detroit and their newly coached schemes by Matt Patricia, and they’ll need a miracle to come out of this one with a win on the defensive side of the ball. Coming in to Week 10, per Football Outsiders, the Lions are the 29th overall team in DVOA (defensive value over average), proving that they are not doing a great job defensively, and Trubisky should capitalize on this one. Expect a box score of at least 300 yards, and around 30 to 50 yards rushing out of him as well. Place him in your lineups, and thank us later!
Bears rushing game slowly being adjusted to Cohen’s flexibility over Howard’s plodding
Jordan Howard exploded onto the scene in 2016, taking the job out of training camp as a fifth round draft pick and looking like a possible game changer of a player out of Indiana, but has since been grounded since halfway through last season, and also with the birth of Tarik Cohen in to the passing game with Trubisky. Helping to pull off pass rushing in the worry that Cohen may break off on a passing call, the offense has changed to become more high powered and pass heavy, and has started to slowly drift away from the Howard experiment and more so develop in to the Cohen collective. Cohen reminds me a lot of prototypical pass catching back James White and it’s nice to see Nagy clearly seeing a star in the making and using Cohen properly. Howard has zero games with 100 yards plus ,and only two games with 20 or more carries. Cohen on the other hand has been a revelation, as over the last five weeks, he has averaged 71 yards in the passing game (including the game that got away from the offense last week, so we can erase that one off the paper), and 87 if you take out the last week’s bouncing of the Bills. Cohen, even as a receiving back, can be seen as a potential top 20 running back, and absolutely that in a pass per reception league. Start your Cohen’s, and sit your Howard’s until Howard either finds his footing, and an open hole to run through, or Cohen stops playing out as the second coming of James White.
Bears scampering quarterback causes a touch of confusion on true predators in the receiving core.
Who is the true number one wide receiver for the Chicago Bears? When the 5-3 Bears come in to Soldier Field on Sunday, I still don’t know if any of us are too sure if there is a clear cut number one option for Trubisky to find in the passing game, other than the open arms of Tarik Cohen, leaving the backfield in a haste. Almost without fanfare, the talented but often overlooked Taylor Gabriel left Atlanta for greener pastures and a role above fourth option in Matt Ryan’s game plan, and has so far found himself as the de facto number one for Trubisky, if for nothing less than the fact that Allen Robinson has spent the majority of this season attempting to find his footing in a new team’s offense, while also spending two weeks on the mend, and Gabriel has stepped up when it has counted, and in those patches. While Gabriel currently has 37 receptions on 49 targets, even with two games missed, Robinson has seen just six less targets. In a divisional matchup, with a fresh Robinson, I would expect the targets to start to pivot from Gabriel in to Robinson and Cohen as a mix, as the chart for options would likely start at Robinson, fall to Cohen, land on Trey Burton (the end zone beast so far), and then end at Gabriel. While the offense is likely to find a few less pass targets due to the sheer fact that Trubisky is one of the faster and aware quarterbacks, and will rush out of pocket if the chance comes up,I still think there could be some potential upside in trading low for Robinson right now while he’s finding footing, and I would absolutely still want him in a dynasty style league.
That Bears defense is dominant. A team that came in to the season trading for Mack and feeling great about it, he’s been as good as advertised, and sometimes better. Mack and Danny Trevathan are giving defense’s nightmares, and with Mack back this week against an ailing Stafford, getting up from a 10 sack game, I’d start them and gleefully watch them light up the Lions offense on Sunday.