Kickoff: Saturday, January 8th, 1:00 PM ET
Location: Solider Field, Chicago, IL
Betting Odds: MIN -7.5, 43 total via PFF.com
Writer: Mario Adamo Jr. (@marioadamojr on Twitter, /u/dotcaim on Reddit)
Kirk Couins (Start, QB1)
Week 17 was tough for Kirk Cousins, he threw three interceptions and finished with his second-worst week of the season, only behind his dreadful 2.2 outing against Dallas in Week 11. The last time Kirk faced Chicago in Week 5 he finished with 23.2 points, his fifth-best game. Chicago is dreadful against QBs, giving up 19.88 ppg (points per game) to signal callers. Fire up Kirk this week.
Dalvin Cook (Start, RB1), Alexander Mattison (Start, RB2)
Dalvin Cook will Dalvin Eat this weekend. The Bears give up the second-most ppg to RBs (22.50) all year. My only concern, and reason for bumping up his backfield co-star Alexander Mattison, is I don’t know how much Cook plays this weekend. The Vikings are currently the NFC’s 3-seed and are set to face the Giants in the playoffs. The Vikings have already beaten the Giants this year, albeit a nailbiter. As a 2-seed they could face any one of the Lions, the Seahawks, or the Green Bay Packers. I forsee the Vikings giving rest to some players this week, including Cook.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Justin Jefferson (Start, High-WR1), Adam Thielen (Sit, Mid-WR3), K.J. Osborn (Start, Boom/Bust WR2), T.J. Hockenson (Start, TE1)
Don’t be deterred by his one-catch performance last week, you’re starting Justin Jefferson this week without any fear or hesitations. K.J. Osborn was the only Vikings WR that looked good last week. He’s found the end zone three times over the last four weeks. I like him as the WR2 in Minnesota. I’ve been uninspired by Adam Thielen’s last few weeks. While he finished as WR9 in Week 12, that’s sandwiched between a WR68 performance in Week 11 and a WR69 finish in Week 13. Thielen’s best finish over the last three weeks in WR31. I’m sitting Thielen in most situations. Despite playing on two different NFC North teams, this is T.J. Hockenson’s first game against the Bears. The Bears are surprisingly one of the better teams against TEs, only allowing 5.38 ppg, the seventh-fewest in the league. Even in the unfavorable matchup, I expect Hockenson to do well this week.
Nathan Peterman (Sit), Justin Fields (Sit in our lineups, Start in our hearts)
Thank you for your service Justin Fields. Though your season is over, it will never be forgotten. Nathan Peterman on the other hand is very much forgettable. You’re not starting Peterman Week 18.
David Montgomery (Sit, Flex), Khalil Herbert (Sit, Flex)
I was low on David Montgomery last week and I’m low on him again this week. I expect another negative game script and another week of Khalil Herbert sharing close to a 50-50 split. With Peterman leading the offense I have low expectations across this offense. I do think if the Bears score on any offensive drive it’s by someone in this backfield.
A potential positive, if the Vikings rest defensive starters I bump both up to RB2.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Chase Claypool (Sit, WR3), Equanimeous St. Brown (Sit), Dante Pettis (Sit), Byron Pringle (Sit), Cole Kmet (Start, TE2)
You weren’t starting any wide receivers when Fields was throwing to them, and now with Nathan Peterman behind center, there’s even less reason to start any of them.
I still fire up Cole Kmet in some situations. His value is not as high as it would be with Fields, but in the wasteland that is TE he has some value.