What We Saw: Bears at Steelers

Corey Saucier recaps a Monday night matchup that came down to the wire and fills you in on the key fantasy takeaways from last night's battle.

 

Bears @ Steelers

Final Score: Bears 27, Steelers 29

Writer: Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

 

After a long, tough night fighting from behind against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ hard-hitting defense, Bears’ QB Justin Fields engineered a fantastic quick TD drive to give Chicago their first lead with just 1:46 left to play. Unfortunately for Fields, he left Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger more than enough time to march down the field to set up a game-winning FG from K Chris Boswell. It’s been that kind of season for Fields and the Bears – both in team success and for fantasy production. In fact, this game was sort of a blah matchup of fantasy QBs. Neither Fields nor Roethlisberger is rostered in more than 40% of leagues (nor should they be), and neither one is ranked higher than QB #28. That being said, Fields has produced his best couple of games this season during the past two weeks so there’s still hope that the rookie will continue to improve throughout the rest of the season. With Roethlisberger, you know exactly what you’re getting.

With the passing attacks lacking a bit of firepower on Monday night, we were privy to an intriguing RB matchup – Steelers’ sensational rookie RB Najee Harris against Bears’ fresh-from-IR stud RB David Montgomery. Neither back really lit the world on fire, but Harris did find the end-zone and ultimately ended up with the better performance of the two. Did any of your pass-catchers from Monday night put you over the edge? Were you smart (or lucky) enough to start Bears’ WR Darnell Mooney or Steelers’ TE Pat Friermuth? Let’s dive into what we saw:

 

Chicago Bears

 

Quarterbacks

 

Justin Fields: 17/29, 291 yards, TD, INT | 8 carries, 45 yards

 

Bears’ QB Justin Fields‘ rookie season has certainly had its ups and downs, but there’s no question that the young signal-caller is showing signs of improvement as the year goes on. Fields really struggled early against the Steelers on Monday night, but by the end of the game, Fields ended up with a career-high in passing yardage and a few big plays to hang his hat on. The lack of big plays has been a hindrance to Fields’ fantasy value, but this 50-yard bomb to WR Marquise Goodwin was the longest completion of Fields’ young career:

 

 

Goodwin appeared to bobble the ball a bit and the Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin challenged the play, but ultimately the catch was upheld. Fields also looked dynamic on the Bears’ late go-ahead TD drive – first dropping a dime to WR Allen Robinson II for this 39-yard strike:

 

 

To follow it up with this clutch TD pass to WR Darnell Mooney across his body, running to his left:

 

 

Ultimately Fields couldn’t quite do enough to get the win for his Bears, but if he continues to improve like he has these past couple of weeks, he’ll have a bright fantasy future ahead of him.

 

Running Backs

 

David Montgomery: 13 carries, 63 yards | 2 targets, 2 receptions, 17 yards

Khalil Herbert: 4 carries, 13 yards

 

The Bears struggled to run the ball against the Steelers’ tough defensive front on Monday night, but the return of RB David Montgomery was a welcome sight for Bears’ fans and for Montgomery’s fantasy managers. Montgomery finished with a solid 80 yards from scrimmage on 15 touches but was unable to find the end-zone, while fellow Bears’ RB Khalil Herbert hardly found himself on the field at all. Herbert didn’t see his first carry until the second quarter and only saw 3 more throughout the rest of the game. There was some question as to how the backfield work would be divided with Montgomery coming back from injury, but clearly, he regained control as the lead back and appeared to be back to full strength after his MCL sprain. We also saw a handful of snaps with Montgomery lined up at QB operating out of the Wildcat formation – including on Darnell Mooney’s rushing TD.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Allen Robinson II: 6 targets, 4 receptions, 68 yards

Marquise Goodwin: 4 targets, 1 reception, 50 yards

Darnell Mooney: 6 targets, 3 receptions, 41 yards, TD | 1 carry, 15 yards, TD

Cole Kmet: 8 targets, 6 receptions, 87 yards

 

Bears’ top WR Allen Robinson II (along with the rest of Chicago’s pass-catchers) has struggled mightily this season due at least partially to inconsistent QB play – and Monday night was no different. Interestingly enough, Robinson’s 10.8 PPR fantasy points on Monday night were good enough for his highest fantasy output of the entire season. Seriously. In fact, as well as Robinson, both WR Darnell Mooney and TE Cole Kmet produced their highest fantasy outputs of the season on Monday night as well. Even with the uptick in production this week, Robinson hasn’t scored a TD since Week 2 against the Bengals, and it’s getting easier and easier to label him as one of 2021’s biggest busts. Outside of his 39-yard grab to set up Chicago’s go-ahead FG late, Robinson totaled just 3 grabs for 29 yards. Meanwhile, Mooney found the end-zone twice on Monday night including this 15-yard rushing scamper early in the 4th quarter:

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

 

Quarterback

 

Ben Roethlisberger: 21/30, 205 yards, 2 TD | 2 carries

 

With Steelers’ QB Ben Roethlisberger’s fantasy production falling off a cliff this season, there’s been more discussion about how his declining deep-ball ability affects his pass-catchers more than his own fantasy viability. Roethlisberger has only eclipsed the 300-yard mark once so far and has yet to throw for more than 2 TDs in a game. That being said, Roethlisberger hasn’t thrown an INT for 4 straight games. While there’s been plenty of speculation over this season being Roethlisberger’s last, he hasn’t shown that he’s worth a fantasy roster spot on his last rodeo.

 

Running Backs

 

Najee Harris: 22 carries, 62 yards, TD | 3 targets, 3 receptions, 16 yards

Benny Snell Jr.: 2 carries, 6 yards

 

Rookie RB Najee Harris has been as advertised so far this season: a workhorse back who could dominate touches for the Steelers and remind us of the RB Le’Veon Bell glory days of old in black and gold. Harris wasn’t able to find a lot of room to run on Monday night, but this first quarter 10-yard TD plunge started the night off right for Pittsburgh:

 

 

Even with his TD run, however, Harris’ finished with his second-lowest fantasy output of the season – and his lowest since Week 1 against Buffalo. There’s no need to worry about Harris: RBs Benny Snell Jr. and Kalen Ballage combined for just 3 touches and are zero threat to Harris’ workload. With Pittsburgh’s bye week out of the way, Harris is set-and-forget for the rest of the way.

 

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

 

Diontae Johnson: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 56 yards

Chase Claypool: 5 targets, 3 receptions, 30 yards

James Washington: 3 targets, 1 reception, 42 yards

Pat Friermuth: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 43 yards, 2 TD

 

It was a breakout performance for Steelers’ rookie TE Pat Friermuth on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Friermuth found the end-zone twice while tying for the team lead in both targets and receptions against the Bears. Friermuth was heavily involved early on, and put the Steelers up by two scores with this early second-quarter TD grab:

 

 

After two Chicago FGs, Friermuth added this late third-quarter TD grab to put the Steelers back up by 14:

 

 

Friermuth has struggled with production consistency to this point in the season, but he seems to have gained Roethlisberger’s trust in red-zone situations. WRs Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool both had quiet nights on Monday with just a handful of catches scattered throughout the night. Claypool was shaken up on a play with about 5 minutes left in the 4th quarter and limped to the sideline, ultimately returned to the game, but then appeared to be absent on Pittsburgh’s final drive. It will certainly be worth monitoring Claypool’s injury status next week as the Steelers get ready to match up with the Lions in Pittsburgh.

 

Corey Saucier (@Deputy_Commish on Twitter, /u/Lights_Kamara_Action on Reddit)

 

Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@JustParaDesigns on Twitter)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.