The Chicago Bears head into the final handful of games not mathematically eliminated from playoffs, but requiring a mainline hookup of optimism for fans still holding onto hope. This week, they go up north to Wisconsin, where they’ll be a target bar for the Packers who hope to clinch the NFC North title with a win plus Minnesota loss.
Last week, the Bears welcomed the Arizona Cardinals to Soldier Field with a welcome gift of interceptions. While it wasn’t a great play anyway, those who started Andy Dalton in fantasy weren’t happy with his 4 picks. Despite a pair of touchdowns and 229 passing yards, his 11.76 fantasy points were disappointing.
Montgomery, on the other hand, had his most productive week in PPR scoring format, with 8 receptions for 51 receiving yards contributing greatly to his 28.1 fantasy point performance. While multiple Bears players struggled to get anything going in this game, Montgomery was all over the field and looks to be a locked-in fantasy starter moving forward.
Cole Kmet had a disppointing drop-turned-interception, but finished with a respectable 7.1 fantasy points. It’s hard to ask for much more out of tight ends these days. His partner in the tight end room, Jimmy Graham had 1 touchdown for 1 yard on his 1 reception on 1 target. Khalil Herbert remains a distant backup to Montgomery at running back, although the rookie Herbert was opportunistic on the plays he saw action in.
The surprising fantasy scorer for the Bears was wide receiver Jakeem Grant. Like Kmet, he had a ball go off him for an interception, but was still trusted with 7 targets which he turned into 5 receptions for 62 yards and a touchdown. He’s currently rostered in 0.1% of leagues so those points didn’t go to many people. Fellow receiver Darnell Mooney was a focus point of Arizona’s defense and it shows in his 5 reception, 27 yard performance. Despite their efforts, the Bears couldn’t get Mooney going in this one.
Allen Robinson remained sidelined with injury and it’s getting closer to time to discuss whether the Bears should shut him down for the season.
Outside of Montgomery and Mooney, the Bears remain a tough hang in fantasy football.
Here’s your start/sit guide for the Bears in week 14:
START: David Montgomery
The depth behind David Montgomery simply begs fantasy managers to start him every opportunity they can. Damien Williams, who began the season as the second string, was inactive last week with a calf injury, but he still hasn’t been a major factor in his recent appearances. Rookie Khalil Herbert still sees some playing time, but with only 29% of the snaps against the Cardinals there really isn’t any committee approach to running back in Chicago.
Montgomery saw 70% of those snaps and made the most of every opportunity, with 141 yards from scrimmage qualifying as his highest total on the year, and fifth-highest of his career. The third year back was fed carries even when the Bears were losing, so the game script isn’t affecting the volume of touches you can expect from the Bears RB1.
PPR format was generous to Montgomery against the Cardinals, and his 8 receptions and 9 targets were both season-highs for the young back. Now he’ll attempt to keep rolling against the Green Bay Packers. The Pack used to have a known issue defending the run, with teams famously dropping back and taking sacks to try to keep up in a shootout. Meanwhile, high rushing averages were ignored and Green Bay would sneak wins.
Now, Green Bay is in the top half of the NFL in defensive rushing DVOA, top-10 in defensive rushing yards per game, and starting linebacker De’Vondre Campbell may yet return for this game. It’s going to be important to get Montgomery going early and often for the Bears, and if the Cardinals game is any example, it looks like they’re determined to do so.
ESPN projects Montgomery as:
A McCaffrey-like workload drove a huge fantasy line for Montgomery in a loss to the Cardinals last week. It’s unlikely that Montgomery sees such a heavy share of the passing offense this week, but he should remain busy against a solid Packers front allowing almost exactly four yards per carry to backs.
If he can get going as a receiver again in this one, then that will be the cherry on top, but Montgomery is a must-start as the fantasy season winds down.
SIT: Cole Kmet
If the Bears are going to slay the giant on Sunday, it’s going to take almost all offensive pieces clicking into place. However, the Bears have shown they can win without Kmet very involved. Against the Bengals, Kmet had 1 reception for 0 yards. A couple weeks later against the Lions, 1 reception for 6 yards. The following week against the Raiders, he had 2 receptions for 22 yards. Only in the rematch with the Lions did he find success with 8 receptions for 65 yards.
It will take better performances from the entire team than any of those games to pull off the upset on Sunday, but there are too many fantasy duds on Kmet’s record so far this year to justify a position on fantasy squads.
ESPN projects Kmet as:
Leading the Bears in air yards and tied for second in targets in Week 13, Kmet was only able to haul in three of his seven looks in the loss to Arizona. With at least six targets in five of his last six games, it’s possible can provide fringe TE1 production even with a solid back seven on deck.
With 6.7 fantasy points per week, Kmet is currently ranked as the 21st highest scoring tight end in fantasy pootball with standard PPR scoring. Most leagues cap at 20 members, so Kmet shouldn’t be trusted this week in such a tough game.