Kickoff: Sunday, September 18th, 2021, 7:15p Est
Location: Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Betting Odds: GB -10,43 o/u total via oddhsark.com
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Justin Fields (Sit, QB2)
Despite the very nasty, cold, rainy, and windy weather Justin Fields had one of the best games of his career. It was only the second time that Fields has thrown for 3 or more touchdowns. That was only on 17 attempts and 8 completions. It was a low-volume day for sure but that was mainly due to the weather and not having to do too much as neither the Bears nor the 49ers could muster a ton of offense. He gets the opportunity to show that the Bears were right in drafting him by facing their arch rivals the Green Bay Packers. The Packer’s defense, especially in coverage is looking for redemption after basically leaving the best wide receiver in Justin Jefferson wide open in week 1. PFF graded the Packer’s coverage at 50.5. They have good corners in Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas. Both of them graded out in the 70s but at times in the game seemed out of place in the defensive scheme. If Fields can learn from what Kirk Cousins and the Vikings did he can have decent passing numbers. He doesn’t have a huge rushing upside despite what people thought of him coming out of college but in a better weather game, he could have some designed rushes. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers will be looking for redemption after being embarrassed in week 1. If the Packers get an early lead it will only lead to extra passing attempts for Fields.
Davis Montgomery (Start, RB2), Khalil Herbert (Start, Flex)
David Montgomery lead the Bears backfield in carries in week one but was outplayed by Khalil Herbert. Montgomery got 17 carries compared to Herbert’s nine. Herbert was way more efficient with his carries averaging 5 yards per carrying compared to 1.5 for Montgomery. It was clear to anyone watching the game that Herbert was the better runner. The Bears seemed to see that late in the game. Herbert got all the red zone carries (3) and was the lone rusher to score a touchdown. Montgomery did see 4 targets compared to Herbert’s one. It’s looking like it’s becoming a more balanced two-headed attack in the windy city backfield. If Herbert continues to shine it will be hard to not give him carries. It’s something I wrote about over a month ago. Going against the Packer’s defense that PFF graded at 48.5, should provide an opportunity for both rushers. Montgomery can still be started as an RB2 and Herbert for now is a very solid flex. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are revered in a few weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Darnell Mooney (Start, WR2), Equanimeous St. Brown (Sit), Byron Pringle (Sit) Cole Kmet (Sit, TE2)
It was not what anyone expected from the Bears receiving weapons in week one. For most of the offseason, both experts and fans alike have said “who else will they throw to besides Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet?” Well, the Bears answered that question on the wet field on Sunday. Despite playing on 52 (Mooney) and 48 (Kmet) of the team’s 58 snaps they saw a combined 4 targets, 3 for Mooney and one for Kmet. Looking at Kmet he was held in to block more to keep the likes of Nick Bosa at bay. Mooney ran plenty of routes but drew a lot of double coverage. It was also a very wet and windy game and Fields only had 17 passing attempts. It was a game that saw muchly maligned and discarded players like Dante Pettis and Equanimeous St. Brown each catching touchdowns despite them combining for 4 targets. Don’t expect Pettis to be a weekly contributor on this team. St. Brown played the second most passing snaps (19) after Mooney and ran routes on 17 of them.
Former Chief Byron Pringle only played four passing snaps and ran routes on all of them. He only saw 2 targets but he is the second most experienced receiver after Mooney on the team. The receiving pecking order still seems to be Mooney and then Kmet and then wait and see who truly emerges in a game with normal weather. Mooney can still be started as a WR2 but I would lower expectations. After getting burned by Justin Jefferson you would assume that it will be a point of emphasis in practice this week. Kmet is still a young tight end who is the second option on his team. The Packers have some very good cover linebackers so I would look elsewhere at my tight end positions. For the other wideouts, I’m waiting to see who shines in the passing game when the sun is shining during the game. Figuratively because its the Sunday night game
Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers (Start, QB1)
It was not the typical day for the reigning back-to-back MVP in Week 1. Not only was Aaron Rodgers kept out of the end zone, but he also turned the ball over twice. It shouldn’t cause too much concern for anyone who watched the Packers in Week 1 of 2021 where they lost in blowout fashion to the Saints and Rodgers was kept out of the end zone. He only went on to win MVP. He gets to right the ship against the team that he has owned the past few years the Chicago Bears. PFF graded the bear’s coverage defense at 64.2 per week1. It’s not a ranking that I put too much weight into considering the weather in that game. The bigger concern is the weapons at Rodgers’s disposal. There were plenty of miss ques from the rookies and he lacked his main target of Allen Lazard. He should get Lazard back in Week 2 which will help his numbers and morale. You can’t bench Rodgers unless you have someone like Josh Allen. He should still get you QB1 numbers as you expect from him.
Aaron Jones (Start, RB2), A.J Dillon (Start, RB2)
Everyone knew coming into the season that the Packers backfield was going to be a 1A, 1B type scenario. Looking at the carry totals it may be that A.J. Dillon is the A and Aaron Jones may be the B. Dillon got more carries than Jones, ten to five. The yardage slightly favored jones 49 to 45. Dillon saw six passing targets and Jones got 5. Both were used in the red zone with Dillon getting two targets and one carry and Jones getting one target and one carry. It’s one of the more evenly split backfields across the league. They get a very enticing matchup against the Bears who PFF rated at 28.1. Both Dillon and Jones should be able to feast for your fantasy team on Sunday night. I expect Jones to carry the load early and those opportunities will produce RB2 production. Dillon will probably be called on to close out the game and will see enough opportunities to be in the conversation with Jones as an Rb2.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Allen Lazard (Start, WR2), Romeo Doubs (Start, WR3), Christian Watson (Sit, Flex), Robert Tonyan (Sit, TE2)
Allen Lazard should be back for week 2. It’s a great sign not only for Aaron Rodgers but also for all the other pass-catching weapons. With Lazard back, he should draw top coverage. That should open up some room for rookies Romeo Doubs and Christian Watson. It’s not the best matchup for the wide receivers. PFF graded out the team as a whole at 64.2 in coverage. The top-rated corner was Jaylon Johnson who rated at 72.6. We are again pulling coverage numbers from a game where the weather limited the passing attempts from the 49ers. With it being a home game for the Packers I expect them to re-work that offense that looked limited in Week 1. They did have some drops, especially on the first play of the game.
Lazard is the guy most people want as he has the history with Rodgers. Watson played the most passing downs out of the wide receivers with 29 and ran routes on all of them. He only saw four targets on those routes but had an average depth of target of 14.3. Romeo Doubs saw five targets with an average depth of target of 9.2. He only played on 25 passing snaps but also ran a route on all of them. He seems to be the preferred target for Rodgers who isn’t very patient with young wide receivers. I think Lazard is a high-end WR2 and Doubs can produce WR3 numbers. Watson looks to be boom or bust with a high average depth of target. If that hits he will produce for fantasy but it’s a risky flex play that I’m not making.
Tight end Robert Tonyan came back from an injury and posted 4 targets. He tied Watson, Doubs, Sammy Watkins and the running backs with one red zone target. He will be in the mix for targets but he is touchdown-dependent for fantasy. The Bears have solid coverage safety and linebackers so it could negate Tonyan. We also say Josiah Deguara gets some routes and targets. Until we see the Packers passing game click on the field I’m not starting Tonyan.