Kickoff: Monday, November 8th at 8:15 PM ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
Betting Odds: PIT -6.5, 40 total via Oddsshark
Justin Fields (Start, 2QB leagues)
Last week Justin Fields showed the league exactly why the Chicago Bears traded four picks to move up for the opportunity to draft him. Fields has struggled since being named the starter, after looking comfortable and explosive in the preseason. Perhaps his willingness to run the ball, Fields finished with 100 yards rushing, had something to do with the absence of his head coach Matt Nagy due to a Covid incident. Fields showed a willingness to run, which contributed to his 27 point fantasy day, but the Bears remain a conservative passing team. Fields has thrown for more than 200 yards in just one game, 209 in Week 4, and he has thrown just three touchdowns, all without a multi-touchdown game. If he’s running, his ceiling is clearly a QB1, but against a strong Pittsburgh defense, that is not a given. Fields is a solid start in a league where you have to start two QBs, but only in these situations.
Khalil Herbert (Start, Flex)
Khalil Herbert had another full workload last week after Damien Williams exited the game with a knee injury. Herbert handled 82% of the team’s rush attempts, and despite earning just two targets, Herbert has the backfield to himself until David Montgomery returns from injury. Herbert has a quiet afternoon but fantasy managers look for volume in backfields and Herbert gets plenty. Pittsburgh has been great defending fantasy running backs so far, but they have allowed a 100-yard rusher in recent weeks. Herbert will need to punch in a touchdown to return anything more than Flex value this week, but managers can do worse.
Wide Receivers / Tight Ends
Darnell Mooney (Sit), Allen Robinson (Sit), Cole Kmet (Sit)
The biggest issue with this Bears receiving corps is the lack of passing volume. but other issues are also plaguing the team. Allen Robinson and Fields have not been able to build a strong connection halfway through the season. Part of ARob’s struggles is bad QB play, just 64% of his targets are catchable, well below league average. But Robinson is also struggling to separate and looks lackadaisical most weeks. A third of Robinson’s targets have been contested, far above the league average of 12%. It’s a bad combo that likely won’t change anytime soon.
Managers may have to wait one more season for a true Darnell Mooney breakout. Mooney is the preferred target in the passing game, earning a team-high 26% target share these last few weeks, but pegging when his solid outing will occur has been frustrating. Mooney is trading double-digit scoring weeks with invisible weeks, and this week is looking like one of the unusable games, on the road against a veteran defense. Best to sit him if you can.
Cole Kmet is another player that managers had high hopes for heading into the season. While he is earning consistent targets, he has yet to turn it into viable fantasy production. Kmet also has not scored this season. He is a valuable asset in dynasty leagues but there are better streaming options this week at tight end.
Ben Roethlisberger (Start, 2QB)
For fantasy managers struggling to find a bye week replacement this week, Ben Roethlisberger is an intriguing option. Big Ben has struggled this season, but he has also scored 15+ fantasy points in four of his seven games. Ben has thrown at least one touchdown every week, but his yardage totals are down, not a single 300+ passing game so far. His production is good enough for a mid-range QB2 most weeks, including this week against a Bears team that is allowing 21 points to the position. While you would not want to start him as your primary starter, he is a nice plug-and-play option in 2QB leagues.
Najee Harris (Start, RB1)
Five straight weeks of 20+ fantasy points have vaulted Najee Harris towards the top of fantasy scoring lists as the RB6. Harris is 4th in points per game, and 1st in fantasy points expected. His incredible volume and opportunity make him a set it and forget it option, against any team in the league. This one is easy, start your studs.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Diontae Johnson (Start, WR2), Chase Claypool (Start, Flex), Pat Freiermuth (Start, Low-end TE1)
The king of fantasy inefficiency this season has been Diontae Johnson. Currently the WR28, Johnson is WR11 in expected points. Diontae has seen 10+ targets in all but one game this season. Johnson has three touchdowns but just a single 100-yard game. Despite the production, you cannot deny the opportunity and he’s a weekly WR2 play as long as he stays healthy.
Chase Claypool‘s opportunity, however, has been down. So far through six games, Claypool has one game with nine targets and five with five or fewer, and just a single touchdown, after scoring nine last season. With Big Ben’s lack of downfield passing, things may not turn around anytime soon. However this week Claypool faces a Bears team that has allowed 12 receiving scores through eight games. Claypool is a Flex at the least, with a chance for a breakout game.
With two straight weeks of seven targets, Pat Freiermuth is establishing himself as a preferred target for Big Ben. This week will be a “hope for the best” type of week for the rookie tight end, but with so many fantasy managers struggling to find help at tight end, he is a solid option based on expected volume. However, be cautious, and if you have a better option consider sitting Pat this week. The Bears have only allowed one touchdown to the position all season. If Ebron remains out and you’re feeling risky, he is a good option.
-Marc Salazar (@oldsnake77)