Kickoff: Sunday, November 8th at 1:00 PM ET
Location: LP Field, Nashville, TN
Betting Odds: TEN -5.5, 46.5 total via Oddsshark
Nick Foles (Sit, QB2)
Rumblings have begun to emerge about whether or not the Bears should stick with Nick Foles at QB or if it’s time to go back to Mitchell Trubisky. As of this writing, Foles is still the starter and is looking at a good matchup in Week 9 as the Titans sit 27th in average passing yards allowed with 268 and have given up 17 passing TDs. Foles has been efficient this season but has not been a good option for fantasy managers. Foles has enough talent to take advantage of a suspect Tennessee defense but probably doesn’t put up good enough numbers to make it into the QB1 ranks. Fantasy managers can slot Foles in as a QB2 in leagues that allow for it, however.
David Montgomery (Start, RB1), Cordarrelle Patterson (Sit)
Since Tarik Cohen was lost for the season due to injury, David Montgomery has seen more than 82% of Chicago’s RB snaps. Montgomery is seeing a solid workload, averaging 21 touches over the last three games, and has become a factor in the passing game in the absence of Cohen. The biggest knock on Montgomery is his lack of TDs but the volume should lead to some positive regression in that category and it may well start this week. Tennessee allows 4.7 yards per carry on the season and has given up a rushing TD in every game except one this season. Montgomery projects to see enough volume to crack the RB1 tier for fantasy managers in Week 9.
The primary backup to Montgomery is Cordarrelle Patterson but he really doesn’t see enough work to warrant starting consideration. Patterson is classified as a WR on most fantasy websites, but he doesn’t see enough snaps at either position to make a dent for fantasy managers. Avoid Patterson this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
Allen Robinson (Start, WR1), Darnell Mooney (Sit), Anthony Miller (Sit), Jimmy Graham (Start, low-end TE1)
If you were like me last week, you were concerned about how the concussion Allen Robinson suffered the Monday night prior would affect his on-field performance. Well, it turned out it had little to no effect as Robinson caught six of seven targets for 87 yards and one TD. Robinson far outpaces his teammates in targets with 77 as the next closest is Jimmy Graham with 49. Tennessee has been susceptible to big games from WRs and that, combined with a safe target floor, makes Robinson an easy WR1 for fantasy managers this week.
Rookie Darnell Mooney has established himself as the every week WR2 for Chicago but that hasn’t translated to every week fantasy production. Mooney sees more snaps than the other WRs on the team but the targets are almost equally distributed between Mooney, Graham, and Anthony Miller. Mooney is Chicago’s primary deep ball threat as he leads the team in Average Depth of Target at 15.7 yards. Mooney has big-play ability and can score enough points on one play to be starter-worthy but his floor is so low he’s hard to trust. Fantasy managers should sit Mooney in Week 9.
Miller is at best the third option in the passing game and doesn’t see enough volume to warrant serious fantasy consideration. Unless one of the WRs ahead of him on the depth chart misses the game, Miller isn’t a reliable fantasy option this week.
Graham has a reliable role in the passing game and is still a viable red-zone threat for the Bears. Tennessee has surrendered good games to opposing TEs this season and Graham sees enough targets to take advantage of that. Graham is no longer the set-and-forget TE1 he was during his glory days in New Orleans but he still has enough upside in the right matchup to land in the TE1 tier. This week looks like one of those matchups and fantasy managers should expect low TE1 numbers from Graham in Week 9.
Ryan Tannehill (Start, high-end QB2)
In the last two weeks, Ryan Tannehill has been remarkably consistent, completing 18 of 30 passes with two TDs in both contests and failing to hit 250 passing yards in either. Against Pittsburgh that’s understandable but the other game was against a bad Cincinnati defense and was surprising, to say the least. This week, Tannehill faces another stiff challenge as Chicago boasts a defense that allows just 228 passing yards per game and has given up just eight passing TDs on the season. Tannehill looks poised for another QB2 finish but could creep into the QB1 conversation if the game stays close. Fantasy managers without an obviously better option should feel OK about starting Tannehill with tempered expectations.
Derrick Henry (Start, RB1), Jeremy McNichols (Sit)
If you look at the game logs for Derrick Henry this season, you might notice a pattern. Henry has alternated between 100+ yard rushing efforts and sub-100 yard rushing efforts. Henry had 112 rushing yards last week. Now, I’m not saying Henry is a lock to finish with less than 100 rushing yards, but the Bears have not allowed 100 rushing yards in any of their last five games. Henry is leading the NFL in rushing yards this season and has scored in five consecutive games, so something has to give. Henry is the lynchpin of Tennessee’s offense and should see enough opportunities to turn in another RB1 performance for fantasy managers in Week 9.
Jeremy McNichols is simply there to give Henry a breather when needed or provide a slightly more reliable option in the passing game. McNichols is not a fantasy factor and can safely be benched this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
A.J. Brown (Start, WR2), Corey Davis (Start, WR2), Kalif Raymond (Sit), Jonnu Smith (Start, high-end TE2)
Despite appearing in just five of Tennessee’s seven games, A.J. Brown is tied for the team lead in targets with 39. Brown is Tannehill’s favorite target and is benefiting from having two other dangerous receiving options in Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. Defenses have to choose which player to focus on in the passing game, which is good for the Titans but potentially bad for fantasy managers as each caps the upside of the others. Chicago has allowed the fewest passing TDs this season, diminishing the upside even further. Brown has the athletic ability and opportunities to turn a bad matchup into a solid WR2 day, however, and that’s what fantasy managers should expect from him in Week 9.
Davis has been a mild surprise for fantasy managers this season as he has become an integral part of Tennessee’s passing offense. Davis has two games of 100+ receiving yards which match the number he had during his first three years in the NFL. Davis has seen 10 targets in each of the past two games and is having a career-best catch rate of 74.4%. Davis should continue to be a solid contributor for fantasy managers this week and projects to finish as a WR2.
Adam Humphries was on the receiving end of a scary hit in Week 8 and will likely be out for at least Week 9. Kalif Raymond seems to be the most likely replacement for Humphries but doesn’t provide any more fantasy appeal. Raymond will be the fourth target in the passing game at best and can be avoided by fantasy managers in Week 9.
Since suffering an ankle injury in Week 5, Jonnu Smith has not looked the same as he did during his early-season dominance. Smith has seen just eight targets in his last three games and has managed just four receptions for 51 yards without a TD. Perhaps Smith was still recovering from the injury, but the drop in production is concerning. Smith has shown he possesses TE1 upside but until he produces that way on the field fantasy managers should consider him a TE2 with upside.
Snap counts courtesy of Fantasy Data.
-Bryan Sweet (@FantasyFreakTN on Twitter)