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Fantasy Monsters of the Midway: Start/Sit Guide for Week 13

Gearing up for playoffs in your fantasy football league? There are a couple Bears players worth a lineup spot.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Bears left Ford Field on Thanksgiving victors over to Detroit Lions, who now sit at 0-10-1. It took a walkoff field goal to beat the winless division rivals, and the Bears largely avoided the running game for no reason they’re willing to share. Quarterback Andy Dalton, filling in for Justin Fields (ribs), had one of his best games of his post-Bengals career, topping 300 passing yards and hooking up with tight end Jimmy Graham for a touchdown.

Nine different receivers were targeted, the second-most of any game this season (Tampa Bay saw 10 Bears receivers targeted), so there was a concerted effort to get different playmakers involved in the game. Even without starting receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), the Bears had a diverse passing attack.

That doesn’t exactly provide fantasy managers of Bears players with a lot of confidence.

Darnell Mooney is still an excellent WR2. Even without a touchdown in Detroit, he grabbed 5 passes for 123 yards, his third time this season cracking triple digit receiving yards. In standard PPR scoring, his 17.5 points may have made a serious difference in fantasy matchups.

Other Bears pass-catchers found room to work in fantasy scoring; tight end Cole Kmet led the Bears with 8 targets and his 14.5 fantasy points was the seventh-highest among all NFL tight ends in week 12, while the aforementioned Graham’s touchdown put him into double-digit fantasy scoring with 11.4 fantasy points.

Running back David Montgomery saw 17 of the Bears’ 23 carries (factoring Dalton’s 6 carriers out), so volume is nothing to worry about with Monty, but 10.4 fantasy points was disappointing for those starting Montgomery.

For a game that ended 16-14, there just weren’t enough touchdowns to go around.

Now the Bears welcome the Arizona Cardinals to town, and Cards’ quarterback Kyler Murray and receiver DeAndre Hopkins are both expected to return from injury. There will be plenty of fantasy scoring to watch in this game, but some of it may be on the other side.

Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 13:

START: Darnell Mooney

Chicago Bears v Detroit Lions Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

Fantasy football has been a tough ride this year, with pendulum swings ruining projections like Mike Williams sandwiching a 36.5 point performance in between 2.1 and 4.7, or Odell Beckham Jr. looking like his old self one week and then failing to log even a target the next. At a certain point, you have to look for players you know can get you 15 fantasy points consistently, even if they aren’t likely to pull off a Tyreek-Hill style 40-50 point performance.

Darnell Mooney has quietly climbed the fantasy receiver rankings every week, while others around him bust on the stat sheet and he turns a handful of receptions into a respectable outing. Currently he’s the 25th-highest scoring fantasy receiver in the NFL, despite his highest-fantasy output being 23.1 points in a week 11 Ravens game where he found the endzone and topped 100 yards receiving.

The second-years played out of Tulane is running away with the Bears target share, with 83 targets solidified over the next-highest Bear: Cole Kmet, 57. Considering how likely it was that Allen Robinson would lead the Bears in targets for a fourth year in a row, Mooney has enjoyed a breakout season and he’s scored double-digit fantasy points in 7 of 11 games this year. He’s rarely a bust in fantasy.

ESPN has his projection as:

Mooney caught 5 of 8 targets for 123 yards in the Bears’ Week 12 win over the Lions. It was Mooney’s third game with 120-plus receiving yards this season. (Only Cooper Kupp has more such games, with four.) Two of Mooney’s big games have come in the last two weeks thanks in part to Allen Robinson being sidelined by a hamstring injury. Even assuming Robinson returns this week, nobody should view Mooney as anything but Chicago’s WR1. Even with a tough matchup on tap, Mooney remains a viable WR2 for fantasy purposes against the Cardinals in Week 13.

As of this writing (Wednesday), Robinson is still out of practice for his hamstring. Mooney is a solid start this week against the Cardinals.

SIT: Bears Defense

SPORTS-FBN-BEARS-TAUNTING-2-TB Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

There are plenty of good fantasy matchups for defenses this week, if you’re doing the right thing and streaming defenses. The 49ers get the Seahawks, the Bucs get the Falcons, and the Colts get the Texans, the latter of each matchup fielding a bottom-third offense in yards per game.

The Bears, meanwhile? They’ll lineup against a Cardinals team which is still top-10 in yards per game despite being without their two best players on offense for multiple games, and those players are expected to take the field this weekend. The Bears offense has been improving in certain facets, so they may find ways to keep their defense rested and hydrated on the sideline better than they did in the first half of the season, but if you’re looking for double-digit fantasy points out of your defense this week, it doesn’t look like Chicago is the right pick.

ESPN has their projection as:

This unit has fallen short of expectations with both injuries and attrition cutting deeper into their play-making talent with each subsequent week. While these guys are still getting sacks, they aren’t turning them into all that many fantasy points. The Bears D/ST is best left on the bench against the Cardinals in Week 13.

Khalil Mack is out for the year, Akiem Hicks and Mario Edwards missed practice on Wednesday, and the Bears defense hasn’t shown up in critical moments so far in 2021. They can’t be trusted in fantasy unless your league is too large to find another unit.