The Chicago Bears return to Soldier Field this Sunday to ride a two-game win streak into their matchup against the arch-rival Packers. Green Bay brings as much offensive firepower as any team in the NFL, which should make for a marquee matchup with the Bears defense.
There’s plenty on the line in this game, not the least of which is the division lead. The Packers, sitting atop the NFC North standings at 4-1, have put a week 1 disaster (38-3 blowout surrendered to the Saints) way behind them as they’ve found ways to run teams off the field (Lions week 2) as well as pull off close victories (49ers week 3, Bengals week 5). The Bears, meanwhile, are 3-2, with strong defensive victories and solid game management in the last two games defining a Chicago team which looked completely lost in both of their losses to the LA Rams and Cleveland Browns.
Also on the line in week 6 is bragging rights regarding the quarterback position. While the Bears have been tripping over themselves trying to find a quarterback ever since Green Bay’s Charles Martin laid the infamous cheap-shot on Jim McMahon, the Packers have spent the better part of three decades with Hall of Famers at the position. At a certain point, Justin Fields is going to surpass Aaron Rodgers in on-field production. This is a golden opportunity to show the Packers the wheels are in motion, at least.
The Bears defense have been on a tear lately, with Robert Quinn finally looking healthy enough to show he’s worth being the second-largest salary cap hit on the team, Khalil Mack is on pace for double-digit sacks for the first time since 2018, and defensive coordinator Sean Desai has his secondary over-performing based on the talent on paper.
Give it up for the Bears offense, too. Justin Fields has nearly played mistake-free football, and while he hasn’t lit up the stat sheet, he has lit up the highlight reel. Even without David Montgomery, the running backs combined for 139 yards on 34 carries last Sunday, and the emergence of Darnell Mooney means the Bears have another target other than Allen Robinson for the first time since they waved goodbye to Taylor Gabriel a few years ago.
The tight ends are still volatile, they aren’t deep at receiver, and the gameplan is hard to predict when the Bears are trailing. Don’t load your fantasy team up with Bears players just yet.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 6:
START: Justin Fields
If you’re streaming quarterbacks in a small fantasy league, and playing the average weekly production game, then Justin Fields probably doesn’t look appealing. Last week was his highest fantasy point total, and he still didn’t even crack double-digits. He’s averaging 6.7 fantasy points per week in the past 3 weeks he’s started, and lack of interceptions simply hasn’t justified starting a Bears quarterback which is running the ball 34 times a game, although not with Fields, and trying to keep the opposing offense on the sideline by milking clock rather than score fast and often.
If the Bears run the ball 34 times against the Packers, they’ll lose. 42-20, they will lose.
The Packers offense resembles the Rams in some ways, with a quarterback who’s ready and willing to take deep shots every time he has the protection to do so, a stud wide receiver who could score 3 times in one game, and tight ends who out-perform their draft position. They can attack the Bears secondary all day long, and once the Bears adjust and play heavy to the pass defense, running back Aaron Jones will start bursting through.
Justin Fields, meanwhile? If the Bears fall behind, that will be very good for him in fantasy. In November 2020, the Bears traveled to Green Bay and fell behind early. Mitchell Trubisky threw 46 passes in that game. A couple weeks later when the Packers came to Chicago, the Bears again fell behind, and Trubisky threw 42 passes. While the Bears defense has been excellent lately, it’s more likely than not that Green Bay will strike first in this game. It’s no stretch to say that Fields is an upgrade from Trubisky, so if the latter is throwing 40+ passes on Sunday, the Bears’ offensive players will have more success in the box score than they did last year.
ESPN has Fields’ projection as:
Fields third career start featured his first touchdown pass, but not much else as he competed 12 of 20 throws for 111 yards including finding the end zone on a two-yard flip to Jesper Horsted. However, it was good enough to engineer a 20-9 win over the Raiders. Fields’ time will come, but he’s not in the fantasy mix when the Packers visit Soldier Field in Week 6.
Wrong, wrong, wrong. The Packers top cornerback, Jaire Alexander, was placed on injured reserve this past weekend. Also on injured reserve is their top edge rusher, Za’Darius Smith, who’s been there for a month already. If Fields has open receivers with time to throw to them, he’s going to put up numbers. Start Justin Fields on your fantasy team.
SIT: Bears Defense
You should be streaming defenses in fantasy football. It wouldn’t be fair to say “If you’re streaming defenses...” because you just should be. Pick up whoever is playing the Lions every week.
Now that we got that out of the way, the Bears defense is absolutely not the team to pick up this week. While they’ve had some excellent weeks (22.0 fantasy points in week 2) and some strong showings (8.0 fantasy points in week 4, 10.0 fantasy points in week 5), they’re still prone to breakdowns in the secondary. Interceptions do the most for a defense’s fantasy production because they have the best chance to lead to touchdowns. By some measures Aaron Rodgers has the best interception rate in league history. You can’t count of the Bears to pick one off this week the way you normally can.
ESPN lists the Bears’ Defense projection as:
The Bears have yielded the eighth most points per game to wideouts, which does not bode well for Week 6 when Davante Adams and the Packers travel to the Windy City. Cross the Chicago D/ST off the list of options for your fantasy lineup.
Even if they do well, get off the field on 3rd downs, keep the Packers out of the end zone and make it a battle of field goals, don’t expect the Bears’ defense to get the sacks and turnovers necessary to help your fantasy team in week 6.