Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 6, 1:00 EST
Location: Soldier Field, Chicago IL
Betting Odds: MIA -5, 44.0, per Caesars Sportsbook
Writer: Michael James (@MikeoftheFF on Twitter)
So the Dolphins turned the Trey Lance draft picks into Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, and Bradley Chubb? The Bears trade away their LB and DE, and then go for a WR? The trade deadline made this one fun to write.
Tua Tagovailoa (Start, QB1)
Two weeks ago in a hard-fought defensive game, Tua Tagovailoa still had 260 yards passing. Then, last week, in a shoot-out he had almost 400 yards passing. PFF ranked him the best player overall last week, let alone the best passer. Continue riding the Dolphins quarterback into this matchup with a Bears secondary that just gave up 250 yards and 2 touchdowns to Dak Prescott, who hasn’t had a receiver go over 100 yards on the season so far. Compare that to a Miami team that has only had 3 games without a 100-yard receiver (the third game just barely missed the mark at 94 yards). Tagovailoa should have more time to put up some yards against a defense, that just saw the departure of Roquan Smith and ranks last in blitzing at 14%.
Raheem Mostert (Start, RB2), Jeff Wilson Jr. (Start, FLEX)
Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr. I swear, I’ve seen this combination somewhere before. Probably just my imagination. Chicago has allowed the second-highest rushing yards, the most rushing touchdowns, and the sixth-highest yards per rushing attempt. A large part of that is due to Tony Pollard, but before that, the defense had surrendered over 100 yards rushing to Washington and Minnesota, and allowed 7 touchdowns on the ground in their last four games. Mostert is averaging 76 yards on 15.5 carries over his last four games with the only downside of finding the end zone just once over that span.
Coach McDaniel has brought his boys back together, shipping off Chase Edmonds and bringing in Wilson. I assume that means Wilson should not struggle to pick up the system, but with a short week I think he will play second fiddle to Mostert. Wilson has had a rollercoaster season, going from backup, to the starter, down to no value (assuming Elijah Mitchell was on pace), and now here to Miami. I did look up their stat towards the end of 2020 when McDaniel was the running game coordinator and Mostert and Wilson were healthy together, and they split the work pretty evenly, 55/45 on average, favoring Mostert. Wilson had two 1-yard touchdowns in that span, however.
That said, this is not really a team that runs for touchdowns. So here we are with an offense that looks to pass for touchdowns against a defense that is allowing the most rushing touchdowns. It’s going to be anyone’s guess that if they do rush for a touchdown: Does Mostert get it, or does Wilson take the red-zone snap? At the least, Mostert should find the yards to place him in the RB2 range.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Tyreek Hill (Start, WR1), Jaylen Waddle (Start, WR2), Trent Sherfield (Sit), Mike Gesicki (Start, TE2)
I mean, if you’re really desperate, I guess you could start Tyreek Hill. Sure.
Over the last four games, Jaylen Waddle has had both a game of fewer than 6 points and last week’s explosion of over 30 points. He’s not even the most productive receiver on his team, and he’s only (checking notes) the 4th most productive receiver in the NFL so far this season (in yards at least). Pfft. He’s now had four 100+ yard games on the season and is averaging 86 yards on 8 targets over his last four games. Trent Sherfield is averaging 20 yards on 3 targets over that same stretch and isn’t a consideration outside deep league bye week fill-in. Unless you have depth at the position, you’re starting Mike Gesicki as he seems to have a low TE2 floor before taking into account his potential red-zone targets. For some fantasy teams, that’s reason enough. Don’t get too excited, the Cowboys were the first team to utilize their tight ends to success with almost 100 yards and a touchdown. Before that, the Bears haven’t allowed a tight end to go over 50 yards and a touchdown since Week 3.
Justin Fields (Start, QB1)
Had to go back and look at the two games the Dolphins faced two running quarterbacks, and they yielded 6 ypc to Josh Allen and 13(!) ypc to Lamar Jackson. Now, Justin Fields is not those two quarterbacks by any means, but he is averaging 70 yards rushing over his last four games. Miami does have a high blitz rate (8th) but they haven’t really gotten home with it as they have a bottom-five pressure rate so far on the season. In the last four games, Fields has thrown at least one touchdown each of those games and has rushed for a touchdown in the last two. The Dolphins are giving up the third-highest yards per play, and with the floor of those rushing yards, he should have a solid floor to continue bringing in fantasy points to your team. What does the addition of Bradley Chubb do? I’m not really certain. I mean, I know he’s had 5.5 sacks on the season and 2 forced fumbles, but I do not know how much that factors in when you’re switching teams and time zones middle of the week.
David Montgomery (Start, FLEX/RB2), Khalil Herbert (Start, RB2)
In a case where the snap count does not match the stat lines, David Montgomery is on the field more but is sharing an equal amount of touches in this newly formed committee backfield alongside Khalil Herbert. Montgomery is averaging just around 4 yards per carry while Herbert is averaging 6 yards per carry. The Bears have gone over 200 yards rushing in each of their last three games. As the number one rushing attack in the league, it’s what they do. The Dolphins are tied for the seventh-fewest rushing yards per attempt but are also tied for giving up the third most touchdowns.
The Dolphins have given up eight touchdowns over their last four games on the ground, and while holding their last three running opponents to under 80 yards, one of those matchups included an apparently less than 100% D’Andre Swift. The fourth game back, was the absolute massacre that was facing Breece Hall and Michael Carter, giving up 240 total yards to that combination of backs. I see about 10-12 points for Montgomery and about 13-14 for Herbert. They are pretty even outside of carries, as neither catches the ball much and for Herbert’s touchdown in Dallas, Montgomery also had one the week before in New England.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
Darnell Mooney (Start, WR2), Chase Claypool (Start, FLEX/WR3), Equanimeous St. Brown (Sit), N’Keal Harry (Sit), Cole Kmet (Start, TE2)
It looks like Miami is still going to be hurting in their secondary for Week 9. They have allowed 59 completions in their last two games, and will probably try their best to stop the run and let Fields challenge them through the air. However, we can’t rely on that prediction, so we look at the stats and this Dolphins team is allowing the fifth most air yards per completion, and the fourth most yards after the catch. That’s good for the fourth-highest passing yards allowed on the season. We would like that if it was anyone but the Bears throwing it. Chicago is dead last in passing yards on the season. Fields has only thrown a couple more times this season than the likes of Cooper Rush, Joe Flacco, and Baker Mayfield. Fields hasn’t crested 30 attempts in a single game, he’s only barely thrown it over 200 yards once this entire season. There just isn’t enough volume there for me to be confident about this receiving corps.
So now that we’ve set the boundaries of our limitations for a team that doesn’t really throw it against a team that gets thrown on a lot, let’s see the receivers in play. Darnell Mooney hasn’t caught a touchdown this season, and outside of a Week 6 anomaly, is averaging 5.5 targets per game for roughly 60 yards. If he is going to get a touchdown this year, this matchup would be as good as any to get it done in. Chase Claypool just joined the team. I can’t imagine he’s in a position to just jump in and hit the ground running. I would think he would get a limited snap share with Equanimeous St. Brown and the other receivers for this week at minimum. Not sure how to rank that, but I’m going to play it safe (the universe will give him a touchdown to spite me for that). Cole Kmet is all about the Dolphins matchup, otherwise, he is a lock to get three targets a game and just scored his first touchdown of the entire season last week. Now I think it’s Mooney’s turn this week to score his first one of the season.
Until next time, I’ll see you on Reddit when Mooney and Claypool go off for 100 yards and 2 TDs each.