The Chicago Bears found themselves unable to get any offense going against a tough - although banged up - Bucanneers defense. Rookie quarterback Justin Fields fumbled twice and threw a trio of interceptions which left the offense mercifully sidelined most of Sunday.
Tampa is a contender, and the Bears still have much to figure out. Coach Nagy better hope it happens sooner rather than later, because the long faces around Halas Hall won’t stand for a losing culture much longer.
In fantasy football, rookie running back Khalil Herbert continued to impress, ripping off 18.3 fantasy points against the then-top rushing defense in the league. He was a bad play who put up good numbers, as is bound to happen in fantasy football. Until David Montgomery returns, he’s worth a shot if your starter is hurt, or on a bye.
Allen Robinson II has seemed to struggle to get on the same page with Justin Fields, which could be having a major impact on his fantasy production. When plays break down, the throws to Robinson aren’t always on the money. It’s important to note that it’s neither player’s fault; the throw and catch could have been perfect if they had more time to practice them. This is where first-team reps in training camp and practice go a long way in building chemistry.
The Bears aren’t totally void of startable fantasy options (see: Texans) but you should be very choosy when picking your starting lineup now that some players are back from byes and injuries.
Here’s your week 8 start/sit guide for the Chicago Bears.
START: Darnell Mooney
Where other receivers haven’t built up the best chemistry with Justin Fields as he goes through his inevitable rookie growing pains, Mooney has shown he can help his young quarterback out by getting open before the pass rush gets home. His fantasy production in smaller leagues is touchdown-dependent, which is not always a risk worth taking when the Bears face better defenses.
Even still, he’s entrenched in the starting receiver role for the Bears and rarely gets off the field. His snap counts in the last three contests show a young player who’s a giant within the offense: 77% of the snaps against the Raiders, 93% of the snaps against the Packers, and 86% of the snaps against the Buccaneers.
ESPN has Mooney’s projection as:
With the Buccaneers pressuring Justin Fields all game in Week 7, Mooney’s big-play ability was minimized, though he did shake loose twice for 39 yards. While Fields should have more time in Week 8 against the 49ers, Mooney’s floor isn’t reliable enough to warrant a spot in a fantasy lineup.
The Bears offense isn’t exciting yet. There’s too much budding in the ground and too much rain on the schedule right now. Even still, the second-year pro out of Tulane is leading the offense in receiving yards (345), targets (44), and 20+ yard receiving plays (5).
Mooney’s a risky play, sure. He probably won’t be the reason you win your fantasy matchup, and that’s OK. If you’re looking for a guy on the Bears to insert into your fantasy lineup so you can cheer twice, Mooney is the guy.
SIT: Cole Kmet
When Matt Nagy came to town in 2018, the talk was all about using multiple tight ends in the offense. Then he ran plays exclusively for Trey Burton. When they signed Jimmy Graham and drafted Cole Kmet, that was supposed to signal a rebirth in this tight ends room, and lead to more play for all of them.
Now, the only exciting thing about this tight ends group is Jesper Horsted’s hair.
Kmet has yet to reach double-digit fantasy points in PPR format despite playing a vast majority of the snaps in every game so far this year. Against the Buccaneers: 89% of the snaps. 5 receptions, 43 yards. Short throws to get Justin Fields out of trouble.
The Bears need Kmet on seams and sideline routes, where he can be one-on-one with a smaller defender and have a chance to break a tackle for yards after the catch. They’re misusing him currently, and it speaks to the coaching decisions which are driving Bears fans bananas right now. If you need a sure-hands option when the pocket collapses, Jimmy Graham and Damien Williams are right there to run that route.
ESPN lists Kmet’s projection as:
With Justin Fields forced to get rid of the ball quickly, Kmet paced the Bears with five catches for 43 yards as Tampa tamed the Bears in Week 7 by a lopsided 38-3 score. Kmet’s involvement in Chicago’s offense is increasing, but it’s still shy of what’s needed from a fantasy sense.
Cole Kmet has all the talent you could ask for from a young second-year pro, and signs point to a day when Fields and Kmet have a great relationship connecting on throws. Right now, though, the offense just isn’t in a spot where you can trust any pass catchers.