Bears vs. Cardinals
How high will the defense fly this week?
The Bears have their first “easy” matchup of the season, and you know what that means: they’ll probably lose by 20. All jokes aside, this could be the biggest week for Khalil Mack and the defense yet. They play an undermanned Cardinals offense that has been sparse behind Sam Bradford. The defense also looked better last week than they did in week 1, which is saying something. I expect continued growth, and another great day of stat sheet filling. This would be my top start of the week if it wasn’t for the Vikings playing the Bills. It’s close though.
Will the passing game take another step forward?
With the Bears looking like a strong favorite this week, I’m guessing that Matt Nagy tries to get the passing game running a little better. They probably won’t need it, to be honest, but I think that’s exactly why it’s the perfect game to try. Let Mitch Trubisky do a little more now so that he is ready later in bigger matchups (like an eventual Packers rematch). Last week started out ugly as he missed open receivers, but he did enough to get the W, including a late touchdown scoring drive. I’m expecting further growth this week.
And will Jordan Howard bounce back for a better week 3?
If I expect the Bears defense to play strong, and if I know the Bears passing game still needs to take a step forward, then this leaves one sure thing: Jordan Howard. I expect Jordan Howard to have a big week against an Arizona defense that has already allowed 272 yards in the first two weeks. Throw in Howard’s newfound passing ability, and the only thing we need to find are the touchdowns. The upside is probably 30 fantasy points, and I think the floor here is as safe as can be.
Will Allen Robinson continue to be a target hog?
I expect Matt Nagy to target the open man each week, playing against the strengths of his opponents. Some days, this will be Allen Robinson. Other times, maybe it will be Anthony Miller or Taylor Gabriel. Now that Robinson is on the radar, I expect less from him this week, though hopefully a deeper average depth of target. Still, until Trubisky proves he can better work through his progressions, I am happy to start Robinson at WR. Just be wary of the limited volume and the currently low TD upside.
And finally, will Trey Burton ever break out?
If you asked me last week, I would have said Trey Burton is more involved. Well, technically he was. He caught 4 passes and a touchdown. I am still not thrilled with the passing volume, even if it was a decent start in PPR. However, I would say to hold strong. Burton still looks capable of the breakout, and he could have had a touchdown in week 1 (just give me another week or two and I’ll stop talking about it). If another good option is out there for week 3, consider it. Otherwise, you could do worse.
Arizona follows up one of the top defenses in the league with the lethal unit that is the Chicago Bears. Khalil Mack and company had quite the showing against Seattle, and the Cardinals won’t have Russell Wilson to compete.
Will Sam Bradford survive Sunday evening?
Sam Bradford enters this weekend with three turnovers, not touchdowns, and an abysmal 55.6 rating. What’s worse? His 90-yard performance that included a sack, a fumble, and ONE play in opposing territory resulted in a higher QBR than his week one performance. The bright side for Bradford is that the Cardinals have only surrendered three sacks this season. The bad side is that he may remain healthy enough to be benched due to performance rather than injury. In no league should Bradford be starting.
Was it worth buying low on David Johnson?
The posed question functions as a reminder to everyone that some owners are foolish enough to trade away top talent after two weeks of bad performance. David Johnson’s season total would look respectable enough for one week. The efficiency is there, the always-trailing Cardinals and Mike McCoy simply do not give him the ball enough. Johnson has rushed 22 times for 85 yards and a score. Concern arises from his limited use in the passing game. After a whopping 30 yards through the air to start the season, Johnson was limited to one catch for three yards against the Rams. Chicago’s front is allowing just 3.08 yards per carry with a high of 57 yards on the year. Valued as the #1 defense against running backs in some leagues, this is a difficult matchup for Arizona. Still a valuable touchdown option with big-play ability, there remains potential for RB1 production out of this backfield.
Might there be value from a receiver?
The upside for Arizona is that Chicago’s defense has allowed four touchdowns over the first two weeks of the year. The downside is that three of those came from Aaron Rodgers’ heroic performance on Sunday night. Reality lies somewhere in between due to the fact that the Bears’ secondary is fairly forgettable while the front is nothing short of remarkable. Larry Fitzgerald typically projects as a valuable PPR option, but there is reason enough to be concerned about his hamstring. His limited participation on Thursday is worth noting if it carries into Friday. Beyond the veteran, no one has proven to be capable even in terms of being a WR3.