Kickoff: Sunday, September 13th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Betting Odds: DET -3, 44 total via Oddsshark
Mitchell Trubisky (Sit)
The Bears held an open competition for their starting QB, trading a fourth-round pick to Jacksonville for Nick Foles to compete with incumbent Mitchell Trubisky. Foles was unable to unseat the former #2 overall pick. Trubisky will get to prove he was the right choice against one of the worst pass defenses from 2019 in the Detroit Lions. The Lions ranked no better than 26th in any of the defensive passing categories and traded their best CB (Darius Slay) in the offseason. Trubisky has had success against Detroit in the past, throwing three TDs in each of his last three games against them, but it’s hard to trust a guy the front office had little faith in following the 2019 season. Trubisky might eke out a low-end QB2 finish in leagues that allow for two starting QBs, but he can’t be trusted otherwise.
David Montgomery (Sit), Tarik Cohen (Start, RB2 (Montgomery out)/Flex (Montgomery in))
David Montgomery suffered a groin injury on August 26th and the initial recovery timetable of 2-4 weeks put his status for week one in jeopardy. Reading between the lines a little, the Bears cut RB Artavis Pierce on Saturday (9/5), potentially indicating Montgomery has healed faster than expected and will be ready for Sunday’s tilt with Detroit. If Montgomery starts, the possibilities of re-injury or the team giving him a lighter workload would give me pause putting him in my starting lineup. Monitor practice reports closely this week for any official word on Montgomery. If Montgomery is a scratch, Tarik Cohen has a good chance of landing firmly in the RB2 ranks due to the likelihood of an increased workload. If Montgomery is cleared to play, Cohen still holds flex value at the worst and could still find himself as an RB2 in PPR leagues. Detroit wasn’t much better defending the run in 2019 and released Damon Harrison following the season but did sign LB Jamie Collins and DT Danny Shelton to help offset the loss. In Montgomery’s absence, Cohen would likely split early down reps with Ryan Nall or Cordarrelle Patterson, but neither is fantasy-relevant for week one.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Robinson (Start, WR1), Anthony Miller (Sit), Jimmy Graham (Sit)
Allen Robinson is no stranger to double-digit targets, receiving 10 or more in seven games last season including five of his last six. Robinson should be in line for another healthy dose of targets and the absence of Darius Slay should make things considerably easier for Trubisky’s favorite target. Despite the deficiencies of Trubisky, Robinson should still finish in the lower WR1 ranks for week one. Anthony Miller has been extremely up-and-down throughout his first two years in the NFL and disappears too often for fantasy managers to trust him in their starting lineups. Miller did have the best yardage game of his career (140 yards) against Detroit in Week 13 last season but was held to just seven yards in the earlier meeting against them. Leave him on your bench for this matchup. Jimmy Graham disappointed in his two years in Green Bay after a stellar run with New Orleans from 2010 – 2017 and pundits will say his best days are far behind him. Graham has apparently looked good in camp, but Trubisky likely can’t support two starting receiving options for fantasy purposes. Pass on Graham to open the 2020 season.
Matthew Stafford (Start, QB1)
Chicago boasted one of the best defenses in the NFL last season and is returning eight of the team’s 11 defensive starters leading many to believe another top-notch season is in order. Chicago’s defense did not get to face Matthew Stafford last season as a back injury suffered in Week 9 forced Stafford to miss the remainder of the season. Stafford’s season through eight games, however, was shaping up to be one of the best of his career. Stafford compiled 2,499 yards and 19 TDs to just five INTs for a QB rating of 106. Stafford is fully healed from the back injury and Detroit is likely to have to ride his arm given the uncertainty surrounding the backfield. Stafford should land near the bottom of the QB1 tier only because of the expected excellence of Chicago’s defense. Stafford is an easy start in leagues that allow for two starting QBs and can be relied on in traditional leagues given his solid floor.
Kerryon Johnson (Sit), D’Andre Swift (Sit), Adrian Peterson (Sit)
Oh, what a conundrum surrounding Detroit’s RBs. The dust seemed to have settled as the calendar turned to September with Kerryon Johnson seemingly the locked-in starter for week one given the limited amount of work rookie D’Andre Swift got in the truncated preseason thanks to an undisclosed injury. Johnson has been tough to trust throughout his injury-riddled career and a date with Chicago’s defense certainly doesn’t inspire confidence for fantasy managers. Even with a full workload, it would be hard to see Johnson sneaking into the conversation as a starting option. Swift should be healed in time for week one, but it’s hard to project what sort of role he might have given his absences from practice. Swift might eventually take this backfield over, but it won’t happen in Week 1, making him an easy “pass” for fantasy managers. On top of all that, the Lions signed one of the best RBs of all time in Adrian Peterson after he was a surprise cut by the Washington Football Team. Peterson is familiar with Lions OC Darrell Bevell as Bevell held the same role with Minnesota during Peterson’s first four years with the team. It’s hard to expect Peterson to garner the majority of the touches having been with the team just one week, but he should see enough to further underscore the difficulty in trusting Johnson. Despite the pedigree, pass on Peterson until the team shows how carries will be divided between the three.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Kenny Golladay (Start, WR1), Marvin Jones (Start, WR3/FLEX), T.J. Hockenson (Sit)
Kenny Golladay led the WR ranks in receiving TDs in 2019 (11 TDs) despite playing the second half of the season with a motley crew of QBs after Stafford’s injury. In Golladay’s most recent meeting with Chicago, Golladay reached 158 yards and one TD. The return of Marvin Jones on the opposite side of the field should afford Golladay some opportunities to give fantasy managers a WR1 output in week one. Speaking of Jones, he has fully recovered from the ankle injury that cost him the final three weeks of the 2019 season. When healthy, Jones is still an excellent NFL receiver and benefits from the attention Golladay receives from the defense’s top CB. Jones should be a viable option for fantasy managers as a third WR or FLEX option. T.J. Hockenson exploded onto the scene as a rookie in week one last season with six catches for 131 yards and one TD. Unfortunately for fantasy managers, however, that was the high point in a season marred by injury and inconsistency. Hockenson’s ankle is reportedly still not 100% healed, potentially meaning a larger workload for Jesse James in Week 1. Until we see consistency from Hockenson, he’s hard to trust as a starting option. Pass on him unless you have no other options this week.
-Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter)