Kickoff: Sunday, October 4th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
Betting Odds: CHI +2.5, 44.5 total via Oddsshark
Philip Rivers (Sit)
In a matchup between two teams that want to run the ball, control possession, and keep the opposing offense off the field, I don’t expect Philip Rivers to really have the opportunity to have a good game, not like he’s been taking advantage when he needs to throw anyway. Rivers has looked old and the Colts would much rather not have him throw the ball 30+ times per game. The Bears have allowed the 2nd-fewest points to opposing quarterbacks this year, and they’ve played a few decent ones in Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan. There are so many better options than Rivers this week, you do not need to start him.
Jonathan Taylor (Start, RB1), Nyheim Hines (Sit)
It has been the Jonathan Taylor show ever since Marlon Mack went down in Week 1. He got 26 carries in Week 2 against Minnesota, and while he only had 13 carries last week against the Jets, that game was out of hand so early that they let Jordan Wilkins soak up some extra carries to preserve Taylor. He will continue to be the bell-cow in Indianapolis, and I don’t expect the Colts to blow the doors off the Bears right away, so Taylor will likely get 20+ carries again. The Colts line has been great as well, as Taylor’s yards-before-contact ranks 17th among all running backs with at least 25 carries this season. As for Nyheim Hines, I’m really concerned about how low his floor is. What we saw in Week 2 against Minnesota was the floor, and to be honest, I don’t think it’s that outlandish to think there will be more of those games ahead for him. Hines is a very game-flow dependent RB, and the Colts seem very committed to Taylor, so I don’t think we’ll see Hines get volume unless they are down all game.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
T.Y. Hilton (Sit), Zach Pascal (Sit), Mo Alie-Cox (Stream)
It’s really hard for me to recommend starting T.Y. Hilton, as much as I want to, so if you have any reservations or have better options on your bench, feel free to leave him on your bench. Rivers and Hilton just haven’t been able to connect, but the fact that Rivers keeps looking his way is what has me hoping that we can see some production this week. Then again, he’ll be going up against Bears cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Jaylon Johnson, who has only allowed a passer rating when targeted of 41.3 and 73.8, respectively. Those numbers put them both in the Top 20 among CBs with Fuller ranking as the #4 CB with at least 50 coverage snaps, per PFF. I want to see Rivers and Hilton get on the same page, I just don’t see that happening this week. Zach Pascal is getting more attention as well, but it’s just such a tough matchup that I don’t want to rely on him. Mo Alie-Cox is getting a good amount of volume for a tight end, and Rivers has historically looked at his tight ends more than the average QB, so he’s a decent streaming option at TE. You probably have better options, but you could do way worse than Alie-Cox.
Nick Foles (Sit)
While Nick Foles was the most added quarterback this week, I hope those of you who added him do not have to rely on him right away. This Colts defense has proven to be pretty tough, holding Kirk Cousins to his worst game of the year and then straight up bullied Sam Darnold. While the Bears have thrown the ball quite a bit this year (6th in pass attempts), they’ve had two incredible come-from-behind victories that necessitated throwing it as often as they did. Both teams in this game want to run the ball, and so I expect less passing volume for Foles here than he had last week against Atlanta.
David Montgomery (Start, RB2), Cordarelle Patterson (Sit)
As we noted on our What We Saw podcast this past week, maybe changing to Foles under center will help open up some running lanes for David Montgomery. The Bears have given him plenty of opportunities, and he’s mostly done well with it, but he has yet to find the end zone on the ground and the Bears have been forced to abandon the run in two of their three games already. I don’t think they’ll be in that position again this week, so I’m looking for Montgomery to get 16-20 carries, and hopefully, he’ll be able to find the end zone at least once. Cordarelle Patterson will likely step into Tarik Cohen’s role, but I don’t expect him to be fantasy relevant. Cohen wasn’t, and Patterson isn’t as good as Cohen.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Robinson (Start, WR1), Anthony Miller (Sit), Jimmy Graham (Stream)
Allen Robinson had a rough start to the season under Mitch Trubisky, but he and Foles were able to get on the same page. I feel much better about his prospects with Foles throwing the ball, as Trubisky’s inaccuracy was making life very hard for Robinson. You can feel safe starting him this week. As for Anthony Miller, he still hasn’t played a ton of snaps, mostly because he’s only playing in the slot. I need to see that he’s more than just a game-flow dependent player to trust starting him, even with a better quarterback in there. It doesn’t matter who’s under center if Miller is standing on the sideline.
The Colts have been the #1 defense this year against tight ends, but that also has a lot to do with the teams they have played against, as none of Jacksonville, Minnesota, or the Jets have any particularly talented tight ends. Jimmy Graham is a big red zone target for Foles, who has experience with throwing to TEs from his time in Philadelphia. Graham is about as touchdown-dependent as it gets, but he’s got a better chance than most tight ends to find the end zone, so if you are really stuck at the position, you could throw Graham out there with a modicum of confidence.
-Myles Nelson (@MylesNelsonPL on Twitter)