The Chicago Bears plan their trip to Tampa, FL still licking their wounds, ready for a much better showing on offense in games to come. In last week’s loss to the Packers, rookie quarterback Justin Fields took baby steps forward, Cole Kmet finally got involved on offense, and Darnell Mooney continues to get open with excellent precision on his routes. The defense kept the game competitive for over three quarters of football, too.
While the Bears aren’t world-beaters yet, that defense can compete with anybody right now.
The offense is still dead last in the league in total yards per game and passing yards per game. They’re also third-worst in points scored per game. A strong running game and an exciting rookie quarterback hasn’t done enough to mask the deficiencies which plague an offense which punts far too often and only converts 33.3% of their third downs.
In Tampa, the Bears face another #12 in Tom Brady. There will be jokes about which down it is, jokes about owning fans, and jokes about what Tom Brady was up to the year Justin Fields was born.
Last year, the Bears pulled off a miraculous upset victory, with the GOAT-slayer Nick Foles leading the Bears to one of only two victories they had with him under center for half the season. Khalil Mack was a monster, tallying 2 sacks by himself and combining with Akiem Hicks for 28 quarterback pressures for 34.6% pressure success rate, according to the Buccaneers official website.
Sure, it may look like the Bears’ defense is a great starting option, but with Bucs fielding one of the NFL’s top offenses, there are better plays.
Here’s your week 7 start/sit guide for the Chicago Bears.
START: Allen Robinson II
If there’s a Bears player to be disappointed with in fantasy production in 2021, it’s probably Allen Robinson. While he’s still an excellent receiver and the Bears are lucky to have him, it hasn’t come together on the fantasy sheet, even less so in non-PPR leagues.
His lone 10+ point performance came in week 2, even then with only 10.4 fantasy points salvaged by a touchdown which was 1 of just 2 catches in the game. He also dropped a touchdown in that game, although there was plenty of contact before the ball arrived and one angle shows the defender may have tipped the ball before it hit Robinson’s hands.
The emergence of Darnell Mooney as the Bears’ leader in targets each of the last three weeks (week 5 was a tie with Robinson) should give fantasy managers pause. This isn’t the same Bears offense as it was in 2020, where Robinson was the only receiver worth a spot on your team.
ESPN has their projection for Robinson as:
This recent 53-yard showing against the Packers actually represents the second-most yards for Robinson in a game this season. Things might get a little better this week given how decimated the Tampa Bay secondary has been by injury, but the floor is still pretty low given the team’s struggles behind center.
Robinson hasn’t practiced much lately, with an ankle injury restricting him from participating in much except the real deal on Sundays. He’s listed as Questionable on the Injury Report, but unless something changes it should be expected that Robinson will suit up and start as normal in Tampa.
With the Bucs secondary opening up a few plays for Bears’ receivers, give their named-WR1 a start on your fantasy team.
SIT: Khalil Herbert
Herbert was one of the most popular waiver wire acquisitions across Fantasy Football for week 6. The rookie 6th-round pick saw his action go from secondary return specialist to stating running back in a matter of weeks, due to a knee injury to starter David Montgomery and an illness to complimentary back Damien Williams.
The young back out of Virginia Tech made the most of his opportunities, and rewarded fantasy managers with 19.2 points in PPR leagues. The most exciting part for Bears fans, even those without him on their fantasy radar, was his quick moves to hit the hole his blockers create. He doesn’t dance around like many rookies do, and Herbert might be another Ryan Pace late-round steal.
Herbert saw 89% of the snaps on offense, and astounding number which probably speaks more to the Bears’ lack of faith in reserve backs Ryan Nall and Artavis Pierce than it does Herbert’s promise. He’ll still need to claw for playing time when Damien Williams returns, as evidenced by their near-perfect split in snaps during the Bears’ week 5 victory over the Las Vegas Raiders.
ESPN projects Herbert as:
A respectable showing as the team’s featured back against the Packers included 112 scrimmage yards on 21 touches for Herbert. Veteran tailback Damien Williams would likely take on a larger role if active this week. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is the league’s best rush defense.
Herbert had more than just a respectable showing in week 6; he was the best player on the Bears offense for fantasy production, and outside of fantasy he may have been neck-and-neck with Darnell Mooney for Bears’ offensive MVP in the loss. With Montgomery’s return still uncertain, Herbert is still a play in deeper leagues.
If you have a smaller league with family and friends, sit Herbert and watch for the snap counts after week 7. If he continues with more than 50% of the offensive snaps, he’s a flex option until Montgomery returns.