The Bears brought Chicago weather into Seattle and pulled off a tremendous comeback victory against the Seahawks in week 16. Eliminated from playoff contention already, the Chicago Bears dragged Seattle down to their level and spoiled the latter’s dire hopes at a playoff berth with a 25-24 outcome on Boxing Day.
Quarterback Andy Dalton was ruled out of the matchup with a groin injury, and rookie Justin Fields looked close to ready for the matchup despite an ankle injury. The Bears played it safe and sent Nick Foles out to play quarterback, though. The veteran Foles dropped some really nice throws in and found 16.8 fantasy points, but still runs like a late 1800s motorized wagon and was never on anybody’s fantasy radar.
Running back David Montgomery took 21 of the 24 carries given to running backs, which should be to nobody’s surprise anymore. He also continued his impressive streak of games with 5+ receptions, this being his fourth consecutive. Not only did he lead the Bears in receptions, this time with 7, but also in targets (T-9) and receiving yards (61). With 23.6 fantasy points, Montgomery is on plenty of fantasy playoff rosters right now.
Others catching passes from Foles on Sunday were Jimmy Graham (11.0 fpts), Darnell Mooney (10.9 fpts), and Cole Kmet (8.9 fpts). None of those finishes jump off the page, but considering Bears players not named Montgomery are only good bets in deep leagues, some of those were better than goose eggs.
If you’re in fantasy football playoffs, it’s time to play your averages and win the pool.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 17:
START: David Montgomery
You won’t see it enough on national news sydications, but David Montgomery has quietly built a case for a big contract after next season. Even despite missing four weeks with a knee injury, Montgomery is still ranked as the 22nd-highest scoring running back in PPR format. With an average of 15.0 fantasy points per game, he’s only missing the massive 40+ point performances you’ll see from the likes of Jonathan Taylor or Alvin Kamara to really set him apart from the crop of young NFL running backs.
What fantasy managers love so much about Montgomery this year is his floor. To this point in the season he has 183 carries of the Bears’ 321 carries by running backs. 97 of those given to other backs went to Khalil Herbert, mostly during Montgomery’s injury absence, so it’s safe to say Montgomery is the bell cow in Chicago.
Barring a pair of 145-yard performances on the ground in Montgomery’s remaining two games this year, he may well fall short of the 1,000 yard rushing to be expected from a top-caliber running back. The injury truly derailed an excellent season by the third-year running back. Even still, he recently saw 78% of the snaps against Seattle and the touchdowns will come, probably this week against a Giants defense surrendering the 7th-most rushing yards per game.
ESPN projects Montgomery as:
Montgomery was busy in Week 16, tallying 21 carries for 45 yards, including a score as well as hauling in seven of nine targets for 61 yards in the Bears 25-24 road win in Seattle. Montgomery lines up for another heavy workload in Week 17 when the Bears entertain the Giants, rendering him one of the top backfield options on the slate.
Start Montgomery with as much confidence as you’ve had all year.
SIT: Bears Defense
For those who have been following the stat lines of the Bears, there’s a long-time franchise record which could be tied or broken very soon: sacks by an individual player in a single season. If Bears fans were polled in the preseason as to who would break Richard Dent’s record of 17.5 sacks - set in 1984 when the Bears built a dynasty of defensive prowess - most fans would expect former NFL Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack to be here in week 17 threatening the stat.
As it happens, Khalil Mack sits on injured reserve, done for the season, and Robert Quinn has eaten seconds and thirds of NFL quarterbacks all season long. It’s a war of attrition, after all, and the 31 year old linebacker, recently named to his third career Pro Bowl, has played in 14 of the Bears’ 15 games. With 17.0 sacks on the year, and gang-sacks commonplace in the NFL these days, it would be no surprise if he at least ties the record in the final two games.
Despite that, and the Bears tied for 5th in the NFL with 2.8 team sacks per game, they just aren’t generating enough turnovers lately to risk the inevitable points they’ll allow. In the month of December specifically, they’ve struggled to keep up with their opponents’ offenses, surrendering 24+ points in 3 of their past 4 contests. While the offense has been in the crossfire of the pundits lately, it’s hard not to overlook the defense’s struggles as the Bears play football games with no playoff implications left.
ESPN projects the Bears defense as:
The Bears D/ST ranks 20th of the 32 teams in terms of fantasy points scored. However, with the Giants likely starting rookie Jake Fromm or journeyman Mike Glennon in Week 17, the Chicago defense is in play for this home affair.
Ignoring the low-hanging fruit of saying this could be a Mike Glennon revenge game - the Bears smothered him and the Jaguars around this time last December - it’s quite obvious to everyone what the Giants offensive strategy will be: feed Saquan Barkley early and often. With the Bears fielding a defense which has looked good at getting to the quarterback but bad at tackling in space, this could be the week Barkley finally has his big comeback game.
Don’t be fooled by the projection, the Bears defense isn’t a good bet for fantasy football playoffs.
In other news...
WINDY CITY GRIDIRON FANTASY LEAGUE MEMBERS!
The Championship is here! After another playoff round of stunning upsets, our blasphemous 20-team leagues are coming to an end this week. In the Navy League, the championship sees #3 seed Goldman Sacks taking on #8 seed Everybody Hurts. The underdog, Everybody Hurts, finished the regular season at 7-7 and made playoffs based on a tiebreaker over another 7-7 squad. Everybody Hurts excelled in the opener and semifinal rounds, taking out the #1 seed and #2 seed on their way to this championship matchup.
Here’s the matchup playoff bracket remaining:
Meanwhile in the Orange League, #1 seed Team Ramrod has dominated their way to the championship matchup, recently defeating #7 seed Hamsters of the Midway in the semifinals. On the other end sits #6 seed Feel the Milburn, named after an excellent return specialist Glyn Milburn, who played for the Bears from 1998-2001. Both teams are projected for 120+ points this week, and in a 20-team league, that’s worth a tip of the cap.
Here’s the matchup playoff bracket remaining:
What’s your favorite team nickname of these finalists for the WCG fantasy crown?