The NFL trade deadline came and went, but those who were hoping the Chicago Bears could bring a more consistent offensive fantasy performer were left disappointed.
This past Sunday, Justin Fields showed flashes of what made him such a promising first-round draft pick. Those sitting with Fields on their bench while their starter disappointed (rough week for quarterbacks in fantasy) were likely ready to make the swap until they saw the projection for this upcoming week. Don’t forget, the Steelers have one of the best pass rushers in football.
Khalil Herbert continued to play the role of bell-cow back for the Bears, carrying the ball 23 times and catching 2 passes in week 8 against the 49ers. Unfortunately, with 68 net offensive yards to show for it, Herbert likely wasn’t the reason fantasy managers won their matchup.
On defense, Khalil Mack’s leadership was sorely needed as they surrendered 33 points to a team which (still) doesn’t look scary on paper past Deebo Samuel. Jimmy G scored on a pair of touchdowns and Elijah Mitchell ran for 137 yards.
All tight-ends on the Bears are touchdown-or-bust, and the receivers are relying on Justin Fields to have time for them to get open, which he simply hasn’t in too many games this week. Though they’re improving, most players on the Bears are still risky picks until Montgomery returns from injury.
Here’s your week 9 start/sit guide for the Chicago Bears.
START: Khalil Herbert
While it’s tempting to see Justin Fields’ 25.3 point standard-PPR fantasy production as reason to believe he’s finally the starting quarterback the Bears have been looking for, it’s another Bears’ rookie who should get the start on your team this week. Khalil Herbert is eating up nearly every carry for a running back lately (23/26 non-QB runs in week 8), and playing 84% of the snaps for the Bears’ offense.
Even when he left the game for a time after taking a knee to the head, the Bears were confident in Herbert’s abilities to get him right back in once he was medically cleared. That speaks volumes for what they think of Herbert’s future on the team. Herbert won’t steal fantasy points catching many passes out of the backfield, but if he’s going to have another game of 25 touches, you can expect he’ll get more than 8.8 points this week.
ESPN has Herbert’s projection as:
Essentially serving the David Montgomery role in this offense, Herbert netted 23 rushes and a ran a ton of routes run as the featured back for the Bears in Week 8. The Steelers are allowing just the sixth-fewest fantasy points per game to backs, but Herbert’s busy role supports flex value.
Even when Montgomery returns from injury, it will be worth keeping Herbert on your radar or even on your team if you have enough bench spots available. For now, he’s a viable fantasy RB2 and the Bears’s only running back worth starting.
SIT: Allen Robinson
The Bears haven’t done enough work to boost their offensive line yet, although Larry Borom’s presence at right tackle after coming off injured reserve helped to keep Fields upright in week 8. Still, Fields doesn’t have enough time for his receivers to get open, and it’s led to scramble drills where he either has to turn blown protection into a 2-yard dash-and-slide or throw the ball away.
With protection issues, the Bears have been waiting for opportunities to take on teams with lesser pass rushes.
The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t an answer to those prayers.
TJ Watt leads this defense which ranks 4th in the NFL in sacks per game, and while that hasn’t led to interceptions from rushed throws yet (only 2 on the season, tied for second-lowest in the league), it’s rattled many talented quarterbacks this season.
This has taken a toll on receivers.
Davante Adams, currently the 6th-highest fantasy scorer among wide receivers, was held to his lowest output this season (12.4 PPR) when the Steelers traveled to Green Bay in week 4. DK Metcalf, the 5th-highest fantasy scorer among wide receivers, was held to 11.8 points (PPR) in Seattle’s week 6 matchup with Pittsburgh, Metcalf’s second-lowest output on the season. Then last week, when the Steelers hosted the Browns, Odell Beckham Jr. infamously was held to 1 target for 6 yards. Even Jarvis Landry struggled to crack double-digit fantasy points (10.0).
ESPN has Robinson’s projection as:
Targeted just four times against the 49ers, Robinson wasn’t afforded many chances to produce in Week 8. The Steelers, meanwhile, are playing right around league average in coverage against receivers. Without much momentum on his side, Robinson is a weak option at wideout this week.
It remains to be seen whether Robinson can regain his role as the Bears’ primary wide receiver. For now, most of the targets are still going to Darnell Mooney. If your fantasy league has a late trade deadline, you may be able to buy low on Robinson, but it’s not time to start him yet.