Let’s not talk about how the Chicago Bears fared as a team last week. Of course it was frustrating, and the best fantasy performers on the field played in shades of cheaply-animated vomit and feline urine.
The Bears continued building toward a respectable NFL offense, and the fantasy numbers back it up.
Running back David Montgomery was a fine 16th overall scorer in PPR format with 14.1 fantasy point, despite not scoring a touchdown. Monty had 39 receiving yards and led the team in receptions (and targets), which will help with PPR format.
Quarterback Justin Fields had ups and downs, playing impressive football throughout but gifting a pick-6 to the Packers defense to give up an early lead. He added another interception off the hands of his receiver to end the game, but his 298 total yards and 2 touchdowns gave fantasy managers a healthy 18.36 fantasy points. He’ll be listed on the injury report all week but remains a sneaky fantasy starter to have stashed for playoffs.
The Bears receivers are becoming more difficult to predict as Fields gets more comfortable spreading the ball around. With Allen Robinson likely headed to free agency this offseason, the connection which hasn’t materialized thus far between him Fields is looking less likely than ever to develop. He found 2 balls on 6 targets, for 14 yards. What’s more surprising in the receiver stat line was Darnell Mooney, who’s decidely leading the Bears with 52 catches on the season. He found 1 reception on 5 targets, that one catch going for 19 yards.
The real fantasy performers for the Bears receivers were Damiere Byrd (15.6 fpts) and Jakeem Grant (24.1 fpts), but let’s not pretend like you picked them up on the waiver wire looking for a dark horse. Those points went to the players’ moms, and we hope they’re kicking butt in their playoff matchups.
Tight ends Cole Kmet (4.7 fpts) and Jimmy Graham (2.9 fpts) are still difficult to predict, with the former still struggling with a 9.7 average yards/catch rate and the latter clearly used as an endzone target to box out a smaller defensive back.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 14:
START: David Montgomery
If you qualified for playoffs in your fantasy football league, it’s probably due to great running back play. While the NFL seems overloaded with wide receivers ready to get 15+ fantasy points every week in PPR format, filling a starting lineup with healthy running backs who aren’t on a bye has proven a tall task at times. With Christian McCaffrey spending much of the year sidelined, Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook missing time, and Derrick Henry possibly done for the year, the logic behind overdrafting running backs is as prevalent as ever.
Even David Montgomery missed a month due to a knee injury, but he’s back now.
Not only is he back, but to say he’s seeing a lion’s share of the Bears’ carries would require a call to Carole Baskin to borrow a second cat. Against the Packers, Montgomery saw 10/14 carries for running backs. If the Bears weren’t trailing for so much of the second half, he would have seen even more, and the only threat right now to Montgomery’s carry total is quarterback Justin Fields. To add glamour to the dirty work, the Bears have been using him in wildcat packages, perhaps as head coach Matt Nagy explores how he can have fun in his last season in Chicago.
Montgomery saw 84% of the snaps against the Packers, and in week 15 the Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football. This game will provide tape for future NFL running backs to study two of the league’s best go back and forth, as the December chill off the lake will make for a straightforward attack for both offenses.
So how have the Vikings been against running backs lately? In a week 12 matchup with the Vikings, running back Elijah Mitchell (49ers) went off for 27.8 fantasy points thanks in part to 133 rushing yards and a touchdown. Then last week, Najee Harris (Steelers) found holes all over the place for 25.4 fantasy points thanks to 94 rushing yards and a touchdown.
ESPN projects Montgomery as:
Game script never really allowed Montgomery to make an impact as a rusher in Week 13; the team got down big after the half and got away from the ground game. The fact that Montgomery saw seven targets as the team tilted to the passing game confirms he’s become a more bankable, three-down presence. The Vikings, meanwhile, have yielded the eighth-most yards per carry to tailbacks this season.
The important thing to keep in mind here is Montgomery found 14.1 PPR fantasy points against the Packers without a touchdown, so he continues to excel despite game script limiting his carries. As long as Montgomery is involved in the passing game (look at the Bears receivers for evidence that he will be) he’ll continue to be a strong starting option in fantasy.
Even if he’s projected a bit less than another back on your team, start Monty with confidence against the Vikings.
SIT: Allen Robinson
There are a few options to pick when it comes to a must-sit candidate for the Bears. The Vikings defense recently held George Kittle to 2.3 fantasy points (which he followed with 39.6, 34.1 in the next two weeks), so tight ends Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham are tough bets. Even in deep leagues, running back Khalil Herbert is a kick returner and wildcat running back, while Damien Williams appears to be a third-stringer while second-string (Cohen’s) carries go to Montgomery.
Focusing instead on a player who’s projected for double-digit fantasy points in PPR format, wide receiver Allen Robinson finds himself used the least amount in a Bears offense since he signed with Chicago in 2018.
If the average Bears fans were to be faced with the question of who would be catching touchdowns with Darnell Mooney blanketed in coverage, the automatic answer should be Allen Robinson, with Kmet the next thought. Perhaps he’s still nursing a hamstring injury which has reduced his participation in practice lately, but with only 2 catches for 14 yards against the Packers, it’s tough to see how Robinson can regain his form as a 100-reception-per-year receiver he was in recent years.
ESPN projects Robinson as:
We’re likely past the point necessary to deem this a lost season for Robinson, as his quarterbacks and scheme simply haven’t supported much statistical fun. With just two catches on six targets last week, even a matchup with Minnesota — a defense allowing the most fantasy points per game to wideouts — isn’t enough to make Robinson a safe starting option this week.
Yes Robinson was targeted 6 times, and yes he saw 77% of the snaps on offense, but he remains a secondary option in the passing attack, and that passing game isn’t particularly great. In deep leagues, it won’t hurt to start Robinson, but watch the injury reports to see if a quick pickup on Saturday can serve you better at WR2.
In other news...
WINDY CITY GRIDIRON FANTASY LEAGUE MEMBERS!
Welcome to playoffs. Week 15 begins the postseason for our outrageous 20-team leagues, and the stakes are high. The winner gets bragging rights in the comments, and the rest of us are contractually obligated to “rec” their comments pointing out how they won against the odds.
Of course this isn’t serious, but here is the quarterfinal playoff bracket in the Windy City Gridiron Fantasy Football - Navy League:
If you’re the manager of one of these excelling playoff fantasy teams, be sure to leave a comment and let us know how you feel about your chances this week.
Here is the quarterfinal playoff bracket in the Windy City Gridiron Fantasy Football - Orange League: