What We Saw: Week 15 Monday Night Edition

Two low scoring affairs both ended up being decent games overall

Vikings @ Bears

Final Score: Vikings 17, Bears 9

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


With the Vikings’ defense leading the NFL in sacks coming into Monday night’s game and the Bears’ offensive line giving up the most sacks in the NFL to this point, we expected for Bears’ QB Justin Fields to be under some serious pressure – and he was. Even though Fields was only sacked 3 times, he was consistently pressured and forced out of the pocket throughout the game. And even though the final score ended up being within one score, Monday night’s contest between the Vikings and Bears never really felt like a close game. Both defenses played well throughout the entire night, but it was Chicago who gave up a couple of red-zone TD passes to QB Kirk Cousins and the Vikings which ultimately made the difference in the game. On the other hand, QB Justin Fields and the Bears had a fairly easy time moving the ball down the field, but couldn’t score when it mattered the most. Chicago also shot themselves in the foot on several occasions – including a Fields lost fumble, a lost fumble by RB David Montgomery, and a muffed punt by WR Damiere Byrd – all resulting in turnovers. We expected that there was potential for a big game for Vikings’ WR Justin Jefferson with fellow WR Adam Thielen out for a second-consecutive week with a high-ankle sprain. Jefferson did find the end-zone on Minnesota’s second possession but was otherwise held without a catch from the second quarter until late in the 4th. Both teams’ starting RBs Montgomery and RB Dalvin Cook had quiet, but respectable performances. How did this Monday night matchup affect your fantasy playoff match? Let’s dive into what we saw:


Minnesota Vikings




Kirk Cousins: 12/24, 87 yards, 2 TD, INT | 2 carries, 10 yards, Fumble


Vikings’ QB Kirk Cousins‘ 87 passing yards on Monday night were his fewest as a starting QB in his entire NFL career. Even with such a modest total through the air, Cousins’ 2 TD passes on the night helped to shore up at least a decent fantasy performance. After WR Justin Jefferson burned the Bears for an easy 1st-quarter TD, Chicago seemed intent to double-cover him and keep him from being a huge factor – and it worked like a charm. That coupled with the Vikings playing with a lead for the entire night allowed Minnesota to keep the ball on the ground for a lot of the game. Here’s Cousins’ second TD pass of the game to WR Ihmir Smith-Marsette to seal the game:



Running Backs


Dalvin Cook: 28 carries, 89 yards | 3 targets, 2 receptions, 2 yards

Kene Nwangwu: 3 carries, 33 yards


Vikings’ RB Dalvin Cook was called on for a true workhorse load on Monday night – finishing with 30 total touches for just the second time all season, and the first time since Week 6 against the Panthers. Cook did bust a couple of nice ~10 yard gains in the first half but was quiet for the most part. With backup RB Alexander Mattison stuck on the COVID list, it was blazing-speed, return specialist RB Kene Nwangwu who was tasked with spelling Cook and he looked pretty darn good doing it with his 11 YPC average (on just 3 touches). On a modest fantasy production night for both offenses, Cook’s 90 yards from scrimmage certainly could have been worse.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Justin Jefferson: 10 targets, 4 receptions, 47 yards, TD

K.J. Osborn: 3 targets, 3 receptions, 21 yards

Ihmir Smith-Marsette: 2 targets, 1 reception, 7 yards, TD


Vikings’ star WR Justin Jefferson was held without a catch for nearly 30 minutes of game time between the second and fourth quarters but still was able to produce enough to finish as the highest-scoring position player in Monday night’s contest. Chicago had been playing Jefferson pretty loose at the line of scrimmage and allowing him to make his first cuts basically untouched – which led to this 12-yard TD grab on Minnesota’s second possession:



But with only 87 total passing yards for the Vikings in the entire game, the WR/TE highlights came at a premium.


Chicago Bears




Justin Fields: 26/39, 285 yards, TD | 7 carries, 35 yards, 2 Fumbles (1 Lost)


I want to like Bears’ QB Justin Fields. I really do. He clearly has the physical tools and college resume to be a successful NFL QB, but some of his tendencies bite him in the backside, at times. Fields is guilty of holding onto the ball too long at times, and his ball security could certainly use some work. That being said, Fields produced enough on Monday night to be the highest fantasy scorer for the entire game. Fields did well to move the Bears down the field for most of the night, but couldn’t put points on the board in the red-zone when it mattered the most. However, Fields’ production did get a boost on this garbage-time, last-second TD pass to backup TE Jesper Horsted:



Running Backs


David Montgomery: 18 carries, 60 yards, Fumble (Lost) | 6 targets, 5 receptions, 23 yards

Khalil Herbert: 4 targets, 3 receptions, 34 yards


Even though Chicago was kept out of the end-zone for the entire night, Bears’ RB David Montgomery provided his managers with a worthwhile fantasy performance on a week that was a hot, steaming pile of mess for a lot of big names. Montgomery’s lost fumble did hurt his overall production, but it’s easy to take solace in knowing that it was his first lost fumble in over 300 touches – so it won’t be likely to happen again anytime soon. With Chicago trailing for basically the entire night, the gamescript didn’t do Montgomery any favors, either – but 23 touches are certainly respectable, all things considered. Backup RB Khalil Herbert added basically all of his fantasy output on the Bears’ final drive in garbage time and wasn’t much of a factor otherwise, whatsoever.


Wide Receivers/Tight Ends


Darnell Mooney: 7 targets, 5 receptions, 63 yards

Cole Kmet: 9 targets, 6 receptions, 71 yards

Damiere Byrd: 6 targets, 5 receptions, 62 yards


With Justin Fields struggling under the Vikings’ constant pressure, it wasn’t a very productive night for Chicago’s pass-catching group. TE Cole Kmet led the way for the Bears in the absence of WR Allen Robinson. Kmet has proven to be a valuable safety net for Fields. In fact, Monday night marked Kmet’s 5th game this season with at least 7 targets and his third such game in Chicago’s previous 4. WRs Darnell Mooney and Damiere Byrd also had worthwhile fantasy performances in PPR formats if you were forced to start them due to Covid concerns. All in all, this isn’t a pass-catching group that is ultimately unreliable through your fantasy playoff stretch.


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

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