Kickoff: Thursday, October 13th, 2022, 7:15p Est
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Betting Odds: CHI -1, 37.5 o/u total via oddhsark.com
Network: Amazon Prime
Writer: Dustin Ludke (@TheDunit13 on Twitter)
Justin Fields (Sit, QB2)
Can I interest you in a QB that hasn’t thrown over 25 attempts in a game so far this season? How about a QB with only 3 touchdowns and 4 interceptions? Only had over 200 yards passing in a game once this season with 208? No?! You are going to pass on all of that? Well, that’s Justin Fields. Now to be fair, I will give you some good things for Fields. Week 5 was his first week over 200 yards passing, and he completed 71.43% of his passes. He now gets the Commanders who are giving up the 9th most points to the QB position at 19.24. Fields has also started running with the ball more. After averaging 2.5 yards per carry in the first two games, he is now at 6.4 over the past two games. The Bears showed some signs of life last week getting the ball to their playmakers in Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney. I think this could be the week that we get to see a good Justin Fields but I’m not risking my fantasy team on it. He is still a QB2.
David Montgomery (Start, RB2), Khalil Herbert (Start, FLEX)
The Chicago Bears baffle me with their choices at running back. David Montgomery came back from his ankle injury and immediately got the bulk of the carries despite Khalil Herbert being very good in the two games that he got the majority of the work. Anyone watching the games can see that Herbert is more explosive and seems to find the holes better than Montgomery. On the season Montgomery is averaging 3.81 yards per carry compared to Herbert’s 5.86. Herbert has three touchdowns to Monty’s one. All that being said it will be Montgomery getting the bulk of the carries against the Commanders. It’s a good matchup for the Bears’ backfield as Washington has given up the 9th most points to running backs at 25.4. Montgomery should be started as an RB2 because every game this season the lead rusher for the Bears have gotten double-digit carries. Monty is also used in the passing game, getting 10 targets in his 3 games. If the Bears fall behind, he doesn’t have to be taken out in obvious passing situations.
I still believe that Herbert can be a FLEX play. Given how good he has been with his opportunities, he just needs more of them to be a true fantasy stud. Manage expectations with him but he should still be fine as they can’t ignore his ability much longer. Trestan Ebner looked good when Monty was out but won’t be a factor unless someone goes down in front of him.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Darnell Mooney (Start, FLEX), Equanimeous St. Brown (Sit), Byron Pringle (Sit), Cole Kmet (Sit, TE2)
This is pretty simple. Cole Kmet and Darnell Mooney are the only two receiving options worth talking about. Equanimeous St. Brown, Velus Jones, Dante Pettis, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette are not worth considering. They are touchdown-dependent plays only who don’t see enough snaps or targets or routes run to be worth rostering let alone starting. Mooney has played on 90.5% of the team’s offensive snaps and Kmet is coming in right behind him, and they have run 122 and 109 total routes, respectively. The next closest is St. Brown at 104, with ESB running 10 fewer routes than Mooney in Week 5. Mooney and Kmet combined account for 36% of the team’s total targets. It was encouraging to see Kmet catch all four of his Week 5 targets and post 45 yards, and it pushed him close to TE1 numbers. Mooney had an amazing catch but only caught two of his five targets for 52 yards. It’s a good matchup for Mooney facing the Commanders who are giving up the 5th most points to the wideout position with 41.48. Someone else on the team will probably catch a touchdown and have a good game but it’s like picking names out of a hat to try to get that right. I like Mooney as a FLEX play this week given his snap shares and the match-up. If he can have a good week, it might salvage some fantasy managers who are on the verge of rage-dropping the off-season breakout candidate.
Kmet has a tougher matchup. The ‘Manders are only giving up 7.76 points to tight ends putting them at 25th overall. He should probably be in your bench even though he will be in the TE2 range this week. Until he and that offense can prove it on the field, I can’t trust a crucial win to him.
Carson Wentz (Start, QB2)
Carson Wentz got another chip to add to his shoulder when Coach Ron Rivera said quarterbacks were the difference between the Commanders and every other NFC East team. It’s not as big of a deal as the media is making it out to be. Rivera clarified that it’s about time in the system that helps a QB get better, but I’m not sure that process holds water for me. Wentz is the guy they picked and he has had all offseason and now five games. Through those five games, Wentz has been a QB1 three times and a horrible sit twice. Those are large swings for a quarterback that came into the season as a huge question mark for fantasy. He hasn’t been great at protecting the ball with six interceptions and six fumbles (losing only one). He is 5th in yards and touchdowns for the season and 2nd in attempts. He gets to show what he has against the Bears this week. The Bears haven’t been putting up a ton of points so hopefully, the game won’t come down to Wentz’s arm. Giving up the 15th most fantasy points at 16.29, the Bears aren’t scaring anyone away from starting Wentz. I think Wentz will have a decent day. He should be able to break the mold of being a Boom/Bust QB play. He should be a high QB2 with the potential to be in the QB1 range. He may not have all of his weapons back but he’ll look to get help from the running game to open up his air game.
Brian Robinson (Sit), Antonio Gibson (Sit) J.D. McKissic (Start, FLEX)
What an amazing day Sunday was, watching Brian Robinson return to the field after the horrifying tragedy he suffered in the offseason. He ended up leading the team in rushing attempts with nine. It was great to see and something all football fans were rooting for. The backfield itself is kind of a hot mess. The rotation between the three-headed monster of Robinson, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic has to give fantasy owners pause. In Week 5, McKissic led in total snaps with 26, while Robinson only saw 18, and Gibson had 20. McKissic was only used in the passing game, getting zero carries but seven targets on 22 routes. Robinson was only used in the rushing game, running zero routes. Gibson split the difference, running 12 routes, receiving 4 targets, and getting only 3 carries. For Robinson and Gibson, it’s very low volume. Even combined, they would barely break double-digit carries. It’s not what you want to see. The Bears’ rush defense has given up 25.4 points points per game, 9th overall according to Fantasydata.com, but I don’t think you can start either of them. It looks like Robinson is taking over that backfield, but until the volume goes up or he proves he can do better than under three yards per carry, you can’t count on him. I do believe that the passing work for McKissic makes him a solid FLEX play, as he is averaging six targets a game currently.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Terry McLaurin (Start, WR3), Curtis Samuel (Start, WR3), Jahan Dotson (OUT), Dyami Brown (Sit) John Bates (Sit, TE2) Logan Thomas (OUT)
Let’s start with rookie phenom Jahan Dotson. He missed in Week 5 with a hamstring injury and doesn’t look like he will be healthy enough to play this week. Despite his two-touchdown day against the Titans, Dyami Brown had a fluke week as he only played on 32% of the team’s snaps and saw only four targets with the only two he caught being long touchdowns. You just can’t count on players like that.
Terry McLaurin came into the year as the main guy and was being drafted as a mid-round sleeper-type player. He hasn’t scored since Week 1, and despite playing on almost 92% of the team’s snaps and seeing almost 16% of the team’s targets, he has just been a WR3 most of the season. Curtis Samuel is finally getting his chance after missing most of 2021. He is getting 21% of the team’s targets so far this season while playing on 82% of the team’s snaps. He ran 39 routes in Week 5, which trailed McLaurin’s 42. The Bears are in the top ten in fewest points allowed to the wide receiver position. It could be a low-volume day for the Commanders passing game as they shouldn’t have to put up a ton of points in a low-scoring game.
Logan Thomas missed last week with a calf injury and did not practice on Tuesday. It’s a short week so it seems unlikely that Thomas will be healthy enough to get on the field. His missing in Week 5 opened the door for John Bates to play 59% of the team snaps. He didn’t do much with those snaps, as he ran ran 21 routes and got 3 targets, catching all of them for 39 yards. It’s not stellar numbers but in a tight-end wasteland, almost 7 points is pretty good. He split time with rookie Cole Turner who played on 51% of the team snaps, ran 21 routes, and got three targets but didn’t catch any of them. It could be that Turner might need to be brought on slower and that could open the door for Bates to get more opportunities. I’m not starting either even though I believe that Bates (with Thomas out) will be in the TE2 range.