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Fantasy Monsters of the Midway: Start/Sit Guide for Week 1

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Chicago Bears v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

This Sunday, the Chicago Bears will step onto the field at SoFi Stadium to attempt what would be a huge upset over the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football. Windy City Gridiron’s partner in game picks, Tallysight, currently has the moneyline listed as Rams -370. That’s typically a bet to stay away from. The spread seems to give the Bears defense some credit, with LA given just a 7.5 point favorite.

Still, this game isn’t supposed to be pretty for Chicago.

If you drafted a few Bears players onto your fantasy football team, first of all it’s great that you have some optimism about this coming year, and second of all I hope you have a deep bench because this Bears schedule is tough. This week and every week this season, we’ll take a dive into Chicago Bears worthy of a spot on your fantasy team, and whether you should start them this week, or sit them on your bench and play a better matchup.

Start: Cairo Santos, K

Minnesota Vikins v Chicago Bears Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s no secret that the Bears haven’t added many weapons on offense this past offseason. Running it back with Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney as the primary receiving targets, along with Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham in redzone scenarios, doesn’t exactly keep defensive coordinators up at night. Still, a broken clock is right twice a day, and the Bears will have a few things go right for them on offense.

It’s for this reason that Cairo Santos should be on your radar this week.

It won’t be sexy, and he may not be the top scoring kicker in fantasy football this week, but watch for the Bears offensive drives to stall every time they get into Rams territory, and Santos to make something out of nothing this week.

ESPN doesn’t have a projection for Santos, but Yahoo Sports projects his season and week 1 together as:

Cairo Santos is coming off a terrific 2020 season for the Bears in which he missed only three kicks total, but he faces a stout Rams defense in Week 1 that limited him to just one field goal attempt and one extra point in last season’s meeting.

It’s worth noting that Nick Foles threw 2 interceptions against 0 touchdowns while the Bears offense stuffed the box score full of 3-and-outs, and converted only 4 of their 14 3rd down opportunities in that game. The Bears are likely to at least make a little happen on offense, while ending drives with 3 instead of 7 to boost your fantasy score.

SIT: Cole Kmet

NFL: DEC 13 Texans at Bears Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This all comes down to how large your fantasy football league is, but in smaller leagues you should probably stash Kmet on your bench this week. While the second-year draft pick should be poised for a breakout year, this is a very bad matchup for him, going up against a Rams team which gave up the 9th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends last year, according to Yahoo Sports.

With him currently splitting reps based on package with the older, more experienced Jimmy Graham, the second-year pro Kmet is going to see his workload increase down the stretch, and that’s why he’s worth on spot on your fantasy bench.

ESPN has his seasonal outlook as:

Kmet was the first TE selected in the 2020 draft (43rd overall) and is positioned for a bigger role in his second season with the Bears. After totaling 14 targets during his first 11 NFL games, Kmet averaged 5.7 per game during his final six games. The Notre Dame product reached six targets in four of those games and fell below four only once, averaging a healthy 17% target share during the span. Kmet turned the usage into a weak 23-165-1 receiving line, but 23% of balls thrown his way were off target (sixth-highest among TEs). More downfield (6.3 aDOT) and goal line work (one end zone target) would be nice, but his target volume and 88% snap share suggest better days are ahead. Even with Jimmy Graham still around, 22-year-old Kmet should be viewed as a TE2 with breakout potential.

Be glad if you have Kmet to spare as a guy to sub in later, but stash him for now and be willing to listen to trades if the right offer is made.


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